When Kendrick & Brynee walked through the Habitat office doors to do their interview, trailing behind them were 4 (extremely cute) kids ranging in ages from 4 to 7.
They proceeded to file into the conference room, sit down, and their father, Kendrick, distributed their sack lunches. Brynee followed Kendrick by opening their milk cartons, and making sure everyone was sitting in their seat.
A normal day in the life of the Shorter family.
“Eat your lunch,” said Brynee, “or we won’t be able to go on a bike ride later.”
Brynee and Kendrick met in 2005, and were married in 2007. When I asked Brynee and Kendrick how they met, Brynee immediately said “He wouldn’t stop calling!” Kendrick chuckled to himself. “It was love at first site, for me,” he replied. Brynee rolled her eyes and smiled. “She probably won’t say the same, though,” Kendrick teased.
Parents to five children, the oldest being 15 year old Taryn, Brynee’s child from a previous relationship, then 7 year old Isaiah, 5 year old twins Neveah and Drennen and 4 year old Braxton, this is a family full of love, personality, energy, and joy.
One thing that is clear is that the family is a strong unit – Brynee is a stay at home mom, a decision she and Kendrick came to based on her health issues, finances, and the desire to be there with the kids to help with homework, watch their sporting events, and provide every other kind of support they might need.
Brynee has gone through kidney failure, a grand mal seizure, and other health issues. Every time, though, she bounced back and persevered to achieve her goals. Prior to becoming a stay at home mom, Brynee was a scrub tech on the labor and delivery floor, then after giving birth to her twins, worked at KU Medical Center in the ‘float pool,’ meaning that she was assigned to whatever floor and department needed her.
Kendrick is a full-time Juvenile Correction Officer at the Juvenile Detention Center, where he works nights. He also helps with his uncle’s flyer business, and does some catering jobs on the side.
Kendrick was introduced to Habitat at a very young age – his late aunt, Effie Presswood, bought a home through the Habitat program in 1999 and was Lawrence Habitat’s 34th homeowner. Even before Effie got her home, though, a family friend of Kendrick’s family built a home with Habitat.
“I remember going to their dedication!” said Kendrick. “It was the house on the corner of Harper Street.”
Now, Kendrick will be able to celebrate the dedication of his own home in the next year.
Kendrick and Brynee both said that the affordability of the mortgage was going to be a great thing for their family. “We will be making payments on our own mortgage…not paying someone else’s,” Kendrick explained.
Brynee is ready for the stability and potential the family will have with a more affordable home, “We will be able to do so much more for our family because we will have less financial stress.”
Not only that, but in the townhome they are currently renting, they have not had any long-term neighbors. Both parents expressed how valuable it will be for their family to live in a more stable and consistent neighborhood, where the kids can make friends two doors down and not have to deal with them moving away six months later. In fact, their neighbors will be other Habitat families who Brynee and Kendrick will have worked alongside during the building of their home and the neighbors’ homes; neighbors who are looking for the same stability, affordability, and sense of neighborhood community the Shorter family is.
Habitat builds homes, neighborhoods, and community. What will you build?