Sheila Bell first learned about Habitat for Humanity years ago when she saw President Jimmy Carter’s involvement featured on television. When she applied for a home through Habitat for Humanity of Cleveland, she thought she was out of choices for her and her two grandchildren.
Sheila has lived in Bradley County for forty-six years. Her family moved here from Miami, FL, when Sheila was just a girl. For a brief time the family moved to Georgia before returning to Bradley County. Sheila enjoys her current neighborhood; it’s full of friends and family. She’s surrounded by her aunts, cousins, siblings, and her in-laws.
“I’ve lived in this area most of my married life and growing up,” Sheila said. “You know most of your neighbors.”
But while the neighborhood is nice, Sheila and her granddaughters are currently in a cramped home that just isn’t big enough to accommodate all three of them. Sheila wants her girls to have more space, to grow up in a house they can invite their friends to.
In the meantime, Sheila spruces up their current housing through gardening. She enjoys gardening and tending to her rosebush, crape myrtle tree, and a cedar tree.
Her granddaughters keep busy too. Amy, 14, attends Bradley High School; her sister Jazmine, 3, is in preschool at Blythe. Amy is outgoing, like Sheila, who is a self-described people person. Jazmine is a bit shyer. Sheila has dreams for both girls to go to college one day. Even at 3, Jazmine already loves schools (she also loves to play and has an infatuation with rocks). Amy is interested in hair and nails; she wants to become an RN.
The family likes to spend time doing crafts and watching movies. Eating out is always a fun treat.
By partnering with Habitat for Humanity of Cleveland through sweat equity hours, Sheila says she has been learning a lot. For her, the sweat equity hours are important because they make her an active participant in realizing her hopes and dreams. She also recognizes the importance of volunteer labor – both hers and others – in keeping housing costs down and making her dream attainable. To earn her Sweat Equity hours, Sheila has been volunteering on her days off and attending Homeownership Education Classes.
Owning her own home, with plenty of space for her family, is a dream come true for Sheila, Amy, and Jazmine. She’s looking forward to the peace of mind it will bring, as well as the privacy and the space for family gatherings. Most of all, Sheila is excited about “the new house, the new friends, the neighbors who will become extended family.”