The Tymeerah Butts family -- Habitat for Humanity Int'l 1

The Tymeerah Butts family


Tymeerah Butts and her 4-year-old daughter, Tytiana, are touring their future Habitat house, a rehab project on Jefferson Street in East Baltimore, Maryland. Butts explained to Tytiana that the walls are pink with insulation because the house is still under construction, but they will look normal when it’s finished.

The view from an upstairs window

The first thing Tytiana saw inside her “new” house on Jefferson Street in East Baltimore were the puffy pink walls.

Insulation is pretty strange-looking stuff to a 4-year-old. But her mom, Tymeerah Butts, the Habitat homeowner-to-be, explained that when finished the rehabbed row house would have “regular” walls.

With Tytiana along, touring the rehab-in-progress, a two-story town house a few blocks from Johns Hopkins medical campus, was magical.

This serious business of assessing the work under way with Habitat of the Chesapeake was punctuated by Tytiana proclaiming “cheese” and “bumblebee” while posing for the photographer and practicing a few steps for her ballet class.

Tymeerah Butts, 26, gets to experience the mind of a 4-year-old not just at home but also at her job as a family services coordinator for Head Start for Catholic Charities. She works with the families of 3- and 4- year-old children, and as she explains, it isn’t just work: “This is a passion.”

Growing up, she admired social workers and wanted to be like them.

“I was always being supported and encouraged and motivated to do my best,” she said. “I didn’t get here by myself. It took at least a village.”

A graduate of Delaware State University, she is working on her master’s in family counseling at Bowie State University. It’s just another step to help her get better at helping others.

Her new Habitat house is that as well.

“The house will make us more stable and give us something to grow with,” Butts said.

But with her passion for service, she sees even more possibilities in all the new families living together and helping each other.

But first, her daughter needed to see some possibilities in the rehab-in-progress.

Enchanted by the stairs, Tytiana headed to the second floor, where pink insulation also dominated the décor.

While examining a gaping hole, which mom explained will be a window in the front bedroom, the child asked in a 4-year-old voice of profound wonder: “It’s going to be OUR window?”

“Yes, our window,” her mom answered.

A mother-daughter discussion on what could be seen from the window followed. Mom said she saw cars, a little tree, neighbors’ houses, and the city beyond.

“I can see the sky. I can see clouds,” Tytiana joyfully declared. “I can see everything from OUR window.”

Downstairs again after the tour and careful consideration, Tytiana announced, “I like to live in the house.”

Her mom said, “I know it looks a little weird now, but when it’s done…”

Tytiana finished her mom’s sentence. “It’s going to be just right.”