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“I am building because I want better for my children and I want to show them that even when the odds are against you, you can still accomplish good things in life.”

Shana Britt is an Assistant Chef at Southeastern Guide Dogs and a single mother to four children. Two of her children, Mark and Nadiya have left home to attend college. Mark attends Southern Illinois University where he is studying Fine Arts and playing football. His dream is to play football professionally after college. Nadiya, who attends Midland University, also plays football on the women’s flag football team for her college. She is studying psychology and wants to become a child psychologist after she graduates. Her two youngest daughters, Mykelah (age 17) and Z’riah (age 14) are both in high school and are living at home with Shana. Mykelah enjoys playing flag football and is excited to graduate this year and head off to college like her siblings. Z’riah is a freshman and loves animals. She hopes to become a veterinarian one day.

“After becoming a mother at 16 and having my second child before graduating high school, homeownership wasn’t ever something I thought I could accomplish,” Shana explains to us. Currently, Shana and her two daughters are living in a three-bedroom crowded home with her mother and grandmother in St. Petersburg. “Most of the time my daughters have to either sleep in bed with me or on the floor or even on a couch in the living room,” Shana tells us. During the pandemic, Shana was laid off from her job. She used this time to fix her finances and credit. She had applied to the Habitat two times before getting accepted in July of 2022. “If at first you don’t succeed, try again. That’s what I did.”

Shana, Mykelah, and Z’riah are all excited to finally have their own rooms after having to share rooms with family members for the past seven years. The family is also very excited to finally have a large kitchen to cook in. “Over the years I haven’t cooked as much because my kitchen wasn’t my own. Now, I’m eager to get in the kitchen and do what I do best.”

Volunteers are at the heart of our mission. We are not able to build our homes and serve our community without the help from volunteers in the community. Shana says, “I think volunteering is one of the best ways to learn.” If you are interested in coming out to our build sites and learning more about what goes into building out Habitat homes, please visit our Volunteer Page for more information about how to get involved.

“I imagine my life will be surreal. I am still in shock that I’ve come this far after everything I’ve been through.”

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