Volunteers help woman's 'Homework House' for children come true

- For years she had a vision to create a community in Highland Park - a place for children to go that is safe and fun.

A former school district employee started the project but then the money ran out. The good news, is that it is back on track - but it takes a village.

"We wanted it to be perfect, we wanted it to be safe," said Shamayim Harris, also known as 'Mama Shu.'

Mama Shu is a mother figure to many.  And thanks to her hard work, the paint is flowing there again. But for two years’ money dried out, putting this project on hold.
 Then she lost her 2-year-old son Jakobi.  And the desire to build something for other kids in this once blighted neighborhood became even more intense.  The reasons were all around her. 

"Our high school has been torn down so the kids need a place to go and do their homework, eat a meal, take a shower if they need to, in case their lights, gas and water are cut off," she said. "We have all of those facilities."

The idea of the "Homework House" was born.  Kickstarter money poured in, but then it ran out.  The abandoned home that was on its way to becoming the Homework House shut down. Then Keller-Williams called to say they wanted to help.  

"They basically financed and gave us a nice grant for the solar roof that was donated, but the geothermal heating and cooling of course will heat and cool the Homework House," she said.

But it's not just money that's brought this project back to life.  It's sweat equity. Thanks to the Detroit Habituals.  A group of Volunteers who decided to roll up their sleeves and help do the work at this home to revive the Homework House. 

"We are pretty skilled and not only that, we do it like we are doing our own," said Renee Knight, Detroit Habituals. "If you would do it on your house then you can do it here. We take pride in our work." 

Pride that will now be passed on to the kids who will use this house when it's done in September. The anniversary of little Jakobi's death will bring new life to a home that will be a safe place to learn.  

"It's back on track," Mama Shu said. "We are working hard every day, cleaning up the lot and the land that we own right now, just tightening everything up and making everything beautiful. So the Homework House is the first major entity."

To learn more go to TheAvalonVillage.org 

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