Shannell’s Story: All for Life
As a Rebuilding Together National board member and the President and CEO of Urban Farmers Inc., I see a lot of synergy between the company I founded and the mission of the organization.
Recently, in collaboration with Rebuilding Together of the Palm Beaches, I got to see how powerful our work can be when I met Shannell, a native of Riveria Beach, FL, who, with the exception of her time in college and graduate school, has spent her entire life in the community and is raising her family here.
This community is also where I operate my company, which combines real estate fundamentals, architectural creativity, and social responsibility to develop quality workforce housing. Through this work, I am honored to work with those reentering the community following incarceration and train them in the construction and home repair industry.
Shannell was diagnosed with severe osteoarthritis more than six years ago. After four unsuccessful surgeries, she relies on her kids and wheelchair to get around and get things done. She hopes one day a new technology will become available and she will walk again, but until then it is important Shannell has a safe home she can navigate.
With one son who is currently going through the reentry process, Shannell says, “I think the reentry connection is the most special element of this whole experiment. There’s a special difficulty in returning to the population once you’ve been in prison. It’s somewhat physical, it’s mental, it’s spiritual…”
Together with Shannell, her children and three teammates from the reentry center, we were able to make Shannell’s bathroom accessible to make her home easier to navigate and make essential tasks easier for her. Check out this quick video about the project:
“If my story, my life can be of any assistance in someone pursuing their happiness and completing what needs to be done to improve the living...I’m all for life!” said Shannell after the repairs were completed.
I can’t wait to see our partnership grow and work with Rebuilding Together to apply the principles of my company to other communities around the country.