Miss has spent her life caring for others. As a Certified Nursing Assistant, she works seven days a week: both as a full time CNA at a local nursing home plus independently as a home health caregiver.
At home, she takes care of her little sister, Cleopatra and 8-year-old cousin, Derion. Miss is also a mother-figure to her niece and new mother, Melkayla, as she begins working in home health as well and caring for a newborn daughter, Marley.
This family love playing old-fashioned games and watching television together. They also spend a lot of time going to sports games in support Derion’s athletic talent.
Miss has spent so much of her life taking care of others around her, and she’s also taken the initiative toward caring for herself. She learned she had high blood pressure, so she began a vigorous exercise routine that helped her shed over 60 pounds! And Miss also made the decision to improve her life as well as her family’s lives by partnering with Knoxville Habitat for Humanity.
Miss had a couple of friends encouraging her to apply with Knoxville Habitat, but it took some time for her to be able to invest the 500 hours of sweat equity she has been acquiring through the homeowner education classes and volunteer work. “I was always so busy raising kids and working.”
As her family grew, her living space did not. And their safety has become a concern as well. They currently live in a small two-bedroom apartment in a large complex where crime has been getting worse. “One morning, I walked outside, and there were police all around my car. I learned that someone had been shooting, and my car had gotten shot.”
In attempt to stay as safe as possible, Miss and the children avoid going outside other than to get in and out of her car. This means that all their home time together is spent inside, and sports-driven Derion is not able to go outside and safely play as he should.
Miss has been thriving in her budget class, and loves her tutors. In fact, one of her tutors needed a caregiver for his mother-in-law, and Miss has been able to care for her so the tutor and his wife can attend church. Not only has she been able to experience blessings from others, but she’s been able to be a blessing to people she’s worked with during her time in the program.
It’s obvious to see, when spending time with Miss and her family, that the children she cares for look up to her as an inspiration. They admire how she handles working so hard (with her two jobs and in the Knoxville Habitat program) and stays healthy while also cooking and caring for her family. “She makes it happen!” says Cleopatra.
And Miss’s work toward building and purchasing a home of her own has given her family comfort and hope for the future. Cleopatra adds, “When I get older and I go to college, I know that I’ll always have a home to come back to.”
Melkayla says, “This makes me feel like I can own my own home someday.”
(pictured: Miss [center] with Derion and Cleopatra. Melkayla and Marley not pictured.)