Shawanna Davis family -- Habitat for Humanity Int'l 1

Shawanna Davis family

“I feel complete now”

Shawanna Davis said there’s a very simple reason why she worked so persistently to partner with Habitat for Humanity of Washington, D.C.

“My kids. Always. That’s it,” she said. “They are phenomenal kids, and they deserve a house to grow in. They made me stick with it until I got a ‘yes.’”

Davis’ oldest daughter, Zenniah, is 14. She has been a diligent student at Washington’s Knowledge is Power Program School, and recently earned a scholarship to study at the respected Sandy Springs Friends School in nearby Maryland.

“If I could give her the world, I would,” Davis said of her daughter. “I’m in awe of her maturity and her responsibility. She helps with her 3-year-old brother, she helps with the whole family. She’s just fantastic.”

And Davis says the same goes for her other children, Zykeah, 10, and Tarvis, 3. Both Zenniah and Zykeah are especially interested in dance, everything from ballet and tap to modern dance and hip-hop.

What is Tarvis into? “What is he not into is the real question,” Davis said with a laugh.

The family currently rents a two-bedroom apartment in southeastern Washington. “It’s pretty crowded where we are now,” Davis said. “And we’ve had to deal with our share of break-ins where we live and to our car.”

A medical assistant at a Women’s Health Clinic, Davis has already been volunteering on weekends in the Ivy City neighborhood she will soon call home. During her first Saturday working on a Habitat work site she helped frame windows.

She was impressed with those helping Habitat build and renovate homes in the community: “I love it, I love it, I love it. It’s such a positive atmosphere. The volunteers are just above and beyond anything you can imagine.”

And for Davis, it all comes back to her children.

“I feel complete now,” she said. “It’s hard not to be able to provide a home for your kids. Sometimes, you feel like a failure. It just means so much to be able to do this. The work that goes into it? That’s nothing. This is a blessing.”