Every milestone: Shannon & Kobe’s story

 In Blog, Families, Stories

Every milestone deserves to be celebrated.

Before finding a permanent place to call home, Shannon and her son, Kobe, bounced around from rental to rental. Like many families impacted by the flood of ‘08, living conditions worsened.

“For over a year my son had to live with my parents because the mold in our house and other flooded houses [in the neighborhood] made his asthma horrible,” said Shannon. In her search for a housing solution with longevity, she learned about Habitat’s affordable homeownership program. She applied and waited with bated breath.

“It was a surreal moment for us!” Shannon exclaims, releasing a sigh of relief as she recaps being accepted into the program. Their home was one of twenty homes being built as part of an AmeriCorps Build-a-Thon event in two western neighborhoods in Cedar Rapids in 2009. This event engaged more than 500 volunteers–including Kurt Warner, Iowa native and NFL Hall of Fame inductee. “It was a lot of hard work, but the skills I learned have helped me become a better homeowner. The classes were helpful, too, especially the financial ones,” said Shannon.

I have a successful child who is thriving, and that is due, in part, to the stability we gained through building with Habitat.

Shannons’ son, Kobe, was just nine-years-old when they moved into their Habitat home. Painting the walls of his new, permanent bedroom was his number one priority–something he only dreamed of doing while they were living in rental units. Stability rings true as Shannon tells stories of how Kobe was able to stay with the same group of friends in school and in the neighborhood because they didn’t have to move around. Adding to that, she proudly proclaims, “He graduated with honors and earned his Eagle Scout.” She describes Kobe as “determined,”– a trait he has become familiar with as his mom demonstrated this passionately while dealing with challenges in life.“My mom is such an amazing person. She is very generous, kind and compassionate. Someday, I hope to be able to repay her, but it will never be enough for all the things she does and has done for me,” says Kobe.

They reminisce about Holiday traditions, 3rd of July parties with family, friends and neighbors and the many backyard bonfires they’ve hosted. While all these memories are meaningful, perhaps the one that stands out the most is the first night they spent in their new Habitat home. “The first night we anxiously brought only our bed, laid it on the bedroom floor and watched movies. More than anything, we just wanted to be in our home. It was one of the happiest days up to that point in our lives!”

Shannon’s life regained balance after moving in, “I got married and started to feel some normalcy in my life. I have great neighbors–some of which have been through the whole process with me–and I have finally been able to gain some financial stability!” she says. Beaming with pride as she describes Kobe’s college plans (which include working with Habitat in Ames), Shannon says, “I have a successful child who is thriving, and that is due, in part, to the stability we gained through building with Habitat.” Where’s Kobe now? Kobe just started at Iowa State University studying pre-med with a major in microbiology as he pursues his dream of becoming a neurosurgeon.

For as little as 30 cents a day, you can celebrate our 30th anniversary in style while making a difference in the lives of families in our community. It is your support that provides the opportunity for partners like Shannon and Kobe to build the strength, stability and self-reliance that lead to life-changing outcomes.