Extreme Makeover: Home Edition chooses founders of non-profit

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition chooses founders of Knoxville non-profit

Mandy and Daniel Watson with Atley, Ava and Silas (source: Extreme Makeover: Home Edition) Mandy and Daniel Watson with Atley, Ava and Silas (source: Extreme Makeover: Home Edition)
Silas with Daniel Watson at the press conference Silas with Daniel Watson at the press conference
Silas also spent time with his mom, Mandy. Silas also spent time with his mom, Mandy.
The Watson's home before the crews get started. The Watson's home before the crews get started.
A side view of the home A side view of the home

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - A West Knoxville family is the recipient of an "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" home, the show's producers announced Tuesday.

The home will be built for Daniel and Mandy Watson and their three adopted children by volunteers and cast members of the hit ABC show.

The Watsons run a non-profit home for single moms in East Knoxville.

Five years ago, the couple left their jobs and created The Restoration House of East Tennessee. It provides single mothers with housing at a local apartment complex and other assistance such as mentoring and advocacy.

The Watson's mantra, "It Takes a Village," has helped many single mothers and their children transition to living successful lives financially and personally. They're currently helping five single mothers and 11 children.

The Watsons decided not to have biological children. Instead they adopted Atley, 7, and Ava, 6, as newborns from single mothers in the Knoxville area and baby Silas, 2, from Ethiopia.

Ava and Silas were at-risk adoptions. Silas was found abandoned in the bushes suffering from neonatal tetanus and on the verge of death. He was handed over to authorities at 10 days old.

All three children are now healthy and playful.

Daniel serves as executive director at the Restoration House and works a second job with Management Solutions at night as a web developer to pay the bills.

Although Mandy is staying home to take care of Silas, she also spends countless hours helping the mothers in the Restoration House program.

Another reason Extreme Makeover selected the Watsons is because their own home at 2329 Robinson Road is falling down around them.

The foundation is crumbling, leaving warped floors, cracking walls, and falling ceilings. The family room is sinking into the ground due to the poor foundation.

The house has little insulation and several holes leading outside from the cellar and bedrooms.

With Silas' medical bills and adoption costs, Daniel and Mandy haven't been able to replace the roof. They rigged a tarp over half the house about two years ago to help protect it.

These problems affect the dream the couple had four years ago when they founded their non-profit. They also have a dream to add a small second home on their property to temporarily house additional families.

"We're just humbled," Daniel said at an afternoon press conference. "We've been spending a long time investing our lives in other people. It's amazing to see a community of people, literally, come together around our family."

"We hope this gives a lot of exposure to the Restoration House, and the work that we're doing and the wonderful families that we get to work with every day," he added.

Mandy said this experience is "a little surreal, I'm not going to lie."

Several mothers and their children from the Restoration House program also attended the press conference and will take part in the build.

"A lot of people say, we're about changing lives," Daniel said. "What we want to be about is changing futures."

The Watsons live in the bottom part of the main house on their property. Families they help live in the upper story of the home, along with a smaller home on the property.

Daniel said they don't know what Extreme Makeover is going to build.

Robinson Road is only open to local traffic during the build.

The Watsons were sent on vacation in St. Petersburg and Clearwater, Florida while thousands of volunteers and donors help special guest Jenny McCarthy and, designers Paul DiMeo, Tracy Hutson, John Littlefield and Jillian Harris wrap up the makeover by January 17.

General contractor GRACE construction, Inc. is the builder for this project.

There is still a list of urgent need items: www.joinextreme.com/tndonate/urgentneeds

The Knoxville episode will air as a special during the 2012-2013 season on ABC.

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