Deonna is a hardworking mother with a warm and friendly personality. She cares for two adult daughters with special needs and a teenage son.
Deonna’s daughters, Shaonna and Bria, are involved with Miss Shining Star, a local pageant for special needs ladies that honors their gifts and talents. 23-year-old Shaonna loves to sing in the pageant, and her mother is so proud of her talent, stage presence and how well she does with memorization. 21-year-old Bria is not able to communicate verbally, but she communicates well on her iPad and does very well in the pageant too.
Shaonna also helps her mother cook and clean and does a great job at helping keep the house in order.
Deonna’s son Christian is 16 and a percussionist in his high school band. Chris is very intelligent and has a strong interest in studying the engineering of how to design software programs for video games.
Deonna works three different jobs to support her family. Her primary job is working the night shift as a corrections officer with the juvenile justice center. After her night shift is over, she works as a school crossing guard with Knox County Schools. She also works part time at Chik-fil-A, where she has met “so many beautiful people.” Her love for people and children makes her successful in all her roles.
Deonna and her family have been trying to make ends meet in a cramped two-bedroom apartment. Her apartment complex offers three and four bedrooms, but the rent of the two-bedroom option is the most she can afford.
She has dreamed for years of having a home where she can find more stability for her family. “I have got to take care of my girls the rest of my life, so I’ve dreamed of a place I can afford … where I can save money and have a home for them.”
A friend and colleague from the law enforcement encouraged her to look at Knoxville Habitat for Humanity. She was “so blessed” to be accepted into the program and change the future of her family. She will no longer have to pay a monthly rent she can hardly afford … she will now purchase the home she builds at cost, with an affordable, no-interest mortgage.
“I’ve been paying a lot of money for rent, and now I can make an affordable mortgage payment and keep back money for repairs … I’ll be able to save and reach goals. It will be a blessing for me to own a home and keep it beautiful. I just thank God to be in the program.”
Deonna’s children are also excited to finally experience having their own bedrooms and space to expand their creative talents.
“When I told Shaonna that they will have their own room that they can decorate … she said ‘Oh, thank you, Momma. I’m so happy, Momma.’”
For more information on the 2018 Women Build, visit knoxvillewomenbuild.com.