Shauntel Beard – City of Chattanooga – Completed
Blue, green, yellow and orange. These are the colors Shauntel Beard’s boys – Jaylen, 8, and Kingston, 6, – have picked for “their” bathroom. “They’re really excited because they get to do what they want – in their eyes,” Shauntel said, adding that the brothers also have plans for a basketball rim at their future Habitat home.
Jaylen and Kingston are what keep Shauntel motivated to achieve as much as she can. “If it weren’t for my kids, there’s no telling where I’d be,” she said. “I wake up and look at them and they’re looking back at me saying, ‘Mama I want some Jordan’s,’ so I have to get up and go!”
Raised by a single mom herself, growing up wasn’t always easy for Shauntel. The family moved from Alton Park to North Chattanooga and eventually settled in the Bushtown community after Shauntel’s mother became a proud Habitat homeowner.
Then at age 17, Shauntel learned she was pregnant. But, this didn’t slow her down one bit. She continued to work part-time at McDonald’s and went on to graduate from Brainerd High. Shortly after that, she secured a job at Erlanger Health System in the Dietary Department and later at the hospital’s Chick-fil-A. “My supervisor fired me because he said my potential was too high,” Shauntel explains.
Turns out, that manager was right! Getting let go was a blessing in disguise. It only motivated Shauntel to enroll at Chattanooga College, where she earned her medical assistant certification. And today, she is putting her education into practice as a staff member at the UT Erlanger Respiratory, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine office. She said of her former fast-food boss, “He congratulates me every time he sees me, and even says I can come back to Chick-fil-A and work part time.”
The sky is the limit for Shauntel. And the excitement of becoming a homeowner builds day by day. She and the boys drive by their lot every Sunday after church to sneak a peek. “I’m doing this by the grace of God. It’s hard with my job, the boys in school and them playing sports.” Yet, Shauntel manages to keep it all together with help from family, friends and Habitat. “Everybody here has been so welcoming. Nobody looks down on you or criticizes you for needing a little help. When we’re down, you all give us encouragement.” That’s what Habitat is all about!
Funding for the Nelson Home provided by:
City of Chattanooga, Office of Economic and Community Development, Andy Berke, Mayor
Additional funding, support, Services or Materials provided by:
Chattanooga Area Volunteers
Daughters of the American Revolution, Chief John Ross Chapter
The Embroiderers’ Guild of America, Chattanooga Chapter
The HART Gallery
State Farm Insurance -Hamilton Co. Agents
St. Francis of Assisi Episcopal Church
Two Men and a Truck