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“I imagine some of our happiest moments will be once we become homeowners.”

Shareda Duckworth and her son, RJay, are on their journey towards homeownership together through Habitat for Humanity. Shareda is a Lead Medical Support Assistant at Baypines Veterans Medical Center and a recent graduate from St.Petersburg College with her AA degree in Social Work. She plans on graduating with her Bachelors in Social Work in 2023. RJay is 10 years old and loves sports. He enjoys playing football, baseball, basketball, and soccer with his cousins on the weekend. Shareda tells us that they are very family-oriented and making memories is very important to them.

“Ever since becoming a Mother, I started living my life for my son, keeping in mind that I was no longer responsible for myself, but for this little guy! Every choice that I make in life I try to make those choices with my son and our future in mind, so that motivates me to stay focused and always step outside my door making the best choices that I can.”

“Our living situation is not the best, but like other families we make the best of it,” Shareda tells us. The family of two is currently dealing with pest issues, faulty pipes that leak water, and shady repairmen that fix one problem, but cause the next. At one point, their entire home was completely flooded because of a pipe that burst. “I find myself going into my savings trying to pay someone to fix the issues, but then that intervenes with the monthly rent amount, making it nearly impossible to fix household issues and pay the rent, especially with increasing utilities and food prices.”

When our Chief Program Officer, Jack, sent Shareda an email asking her to come into the office, she did not know what to expect. “I was so nervous because me and my family have worked so hard to get to the point of being accepted into the program and I have worked hard to stay on top of my credit and bills so I really prayed to God for a blessing! When I came into the office, my blessing was awaiting me, along with tons of other Habitat angels! I was so happy, I cried tears of joy! It was like a tire was released off of my body. I just felt like I was one step closer to my dreams of providing stability for my son and myself.” Shareda is looking forward to watching RJay ride his bike down the street without being afraid, family dinners, and spending time and making memories with her son.

On Shareda’s first day of sweat equity, she felt very nervous because she had never even used a hammer before. “I bent about a dozen of nails, but by noon you couldn’t tell me I wasn’t a construction worker!” Shareda encourages anyone who is interested in being involved with someone’s dream of becoming a homeowner to volunteer on our build sites and to swing a hammer yourself! For more information on how to sign up to be a volunteer, please visit our Volunteer Page on our website.

“Our future will be different because we don’t have to worry when we close our eyes at night. That uncertainty of if we will have to move because our rented home is going to be sold.”

One Comment

  • Lillian Franklin says:

    Shareda I’m so happy for you and Rj that’s my boi there lol. I wish I was having one built. Keep on working toward what’s important for you and family. So proud of you Shareda!! Love y’all

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