Life for Shy and her daughter, Cheyenne, was not very secure. They didn’t have a home and, after a rough marriage, Shy found herself alone to raise Cheyenne. This was a familiar situation to Shy. She, herself, was raised by a very caring, single mother who struggled. They couldn’t afford to own a home and moved a lot. Shy had attended 18 different schools before the tenth grade.
At the age of 16, Shy moved in with her dad to finish high school. It was at this time that she met Robby who became a good friend and was always there for her. Despite Robby’s friendship, Shy continued to struggle. She turned away from God and left home at the age of 17 to fend for herself. When Shy was 20 years old, she became pregnant and her life changed. Her focus was now on her little girl, Cheyenne, and she reconnected with God. One day, while living with a friend, Shy saw an ad in the paper for Habitat. Attending a session to learn about Habitat was the first of a series of events that would change both of their lives.
What drew Shy to the Habitat session was that she had no other place to go. The homes that she could afford to buy were in terrible condition or near poor schools. Shy prided herself on being a good steward of her money and didn’t want to get into a bad situation. So, Shy applied to become a Habitat homeowner and then she waited. When she received the call from Terry Paquette (HFHP Executive Director) that she’d been selected, she and Cheyenne were so excited that they both jumped up and down. Because of Shy’s clean credit record, HFHP was able to partner with USDA Rural Development to build their home.
Building a home with Habitat was an incredible experience for Shy. Each Habitat family must put in 200+ hours of work on their house. Working side by side with the other Habitat volunteers had a profound impact on Shy. She was humbled by the patience and love that was shown to her and Cheyenne. Shy commented during our interview, “Cheyenne and I were alone. We had no family close by but the Habitat family. They treated us like we were special and it was amazing.” It inspired Shy to become closer to God and she took it to heart the scripture that says ‘faith without works is dead’.
Cheyenne and I were alone. We had no family close by but the Habitat family. They treated us like we were special and it was amazing.
The dedication of the walls of their home was an extraordinary experience. The walls were built by the Chester Community Church over a weekend. When Shy and Cheyenne drove into the parking lot of the church, they were awed to see the newly constructed walls of their house. During the dedication, church members wrote over 300 verses of scripture on the walls of Shy’s future home.Since moving into their home in November, 2011, God has blessed Shy in so many ways. And, it all started when Shy got involved with Habitat. She now serves on the Family Selection Committee and has a goal of educating the public about Habitat. Before she partnered with Habitat to build her own home, Shy worried so much about making ends meet that she couldn’t sleep at night. She couldn’t afford food and had no idea how she would pay for Cheyenne to go to college. Now Shy has a home, a great sense of accomplishment, and high self-esteem. She and her daughter have stability. And, remember Robby, Shy’s friend who helped her during her high school years? They were married in August. It’s been one blessing after another for this family.
Shy thinks wistfully about what it would have meant for her mother to have had this kind of opportunity. She also thinks about how much it would have changed her life while she was growing up. Now Shy has her own home which no one can take away from her. As Shy puts it, “It wasn’t a handout, it was a hand up.” She wants to give someone else a chance similar to the one that was given to her. Because of all the blessings she has received, Shy plans to “pass it on” by continuing to give back to Habitat.