KNOXVILLE—Hammers and nails replaced laptops and books for more than 70 students and faculty in the College of Business Administration at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. The Tennessee Organization of MBAs (TOMBA) built its 11th Knoxville Habitat for Humanity house on Saturday, Sept. 14.
The blitz started at 7:30 a.m. at 3139 Johnston St. in Knoxville’s Lonsdale neighborhood. The team will be building over the next seven to nine weeks.
This year’s build is for in-home caregiver, Wanda Hines.
Family is everything to Hines. She lost her own parents at an early age and then lost her adopted parents at the age of 23. Another woman unofficially adopted Hines into her family, which got her interested in the foster system.
Hines has been a foster parent to many. She has three children that were born to her, she has legally adopted two of the children that she fostered, and she has kept several of the other children she fostered even after they aged out of the program when they turned 18.
Her large family includes twelve grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren. “Granny” to everyone, she desires a place for her loved ones to gather. She is determined to provide a safe and loving environment for her extended family, some of whom have incarcerated parents or may need extra attention. Three of the young family members Hines cares for will be living with her at her new house on Johnston Street.
The first walls of Hines’s new home went up around 9 a.m. on Saturday. All four walls and roof were completed by 3:30 p.m. Hines spent much of the day working with MBA students and Steve Mangum, dean of the UT College of Business Administration, on the gables for her new house.
Hines understands that her safer, more stable, debt-free life will allow her to concentrate on what matters to her most. “Four generations are going to enjoy this house,” says Hines.
Hines describes her experience with Knoxville Habitat for Humanity as rewarding. “I have worked hard, and it has been worth it. I am just one of so many people out there who can really benefit from this program.”
Of TOMBA, Hines says, “It is amazing that these kind people will take time out of their busy lives to help others better their own lives.” She also said that the strawberries and confectioner’s sugar at lunch, provide by UT finance professor Phillip Daves and his wife, Bonney, were a “loving touch.”