Philanthropy Friday: Women Build to Celebrate Mother’s Day

Each Friday, the another jennifer blog shares stories of those who incorporate philanthropy into their everyday lives – personally and professionally – in a creative and unique way. If you have a story you’d like to share, please contact Jennifer. You can view past posts from the series here.habitat for humanity

To celebrate Mother’s Day, Habitat for Humanity is hosting a week-long event that celebrates women and empowers them to improve their local communities.

The 6th annual National Women Build Week encourages women to devote at least one day to creating affordable housing for all. How? By helping to build a house, of course!

Women Build is Habitat for Humanity’s program for women who want to learn construction skills and build homes and communities. This program brings together women from all walks of life to address the housing crisis facing millions of women and children worldwide.

The timing of National Women Build Week around Mother’s Day is appropriate because a staggering number of families with children are in need of adequate housing. In fact, according to the Census Bureau, more than 16 million children are living in poverty in the US and nearly 48% of the children reside with women heads-of-household.


For Lisa Marie Nickerson, Associate Director of Habitat for Humanity’s Women Build, the program has a special place in her heart. Lisa grew up with a single mom and saw firsthand how difficult it was to find affordable housing. As she became an adult, she realized how important it was for her to give back to other women who work so hard, yet still can’t find a good place to live.

Women Build Week started back in 2008 with 105 locations in the US participating. This year, they have 300 sites across all 50 states participating in events with well over 12,000 volunteers.

And guess what? There’s no experience necessary to participate in a Women Build event. In fact, Habitat for Humanity has teamed up with Lowe’s to offer how-to workshops that help women learn some building basics before they get involved with a project in their local area.


I spoke with Angy Smith, a Habitat for Humanity volunteer and store manager at a Lowe’s in greater Los Angeles, as she was preparing for a hands-on workshop for volunteers helping out in Long Beach. They were expecting 62 women at the workshop as they were getting ready to completely refurbish a house in one day. Angy noted that she sells home improvement every day, but to actually pick up a hammer and saw and to build a foundation that will help a woman and her family to move forward is almost too amazing for words.

Angy says that Lowe’s and Habitat for Humanity empowers and inspires women to give back in a way they may not have realized they could. All you need is little bit of time and effort.

Want to get involved with Habitat for Humanity’s Women Build Week event?

And, yes, I’ll be donning my own hard hat (or whatever safety gear necessary) today as I help out with a project in Freeport, Maine so I can experience that amazing feeling myself. I will be sure to post pictures.

Have you ever built a house with Habitat for Humanity?

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  1. says

    I can’t wait to hear about your experience with Habitat for Humanity! And I want a photo of you in that hard hat!

    Seriously, this is a great program and I love that it helps to empower women in so many ways.
    Ilene recently posted..Me and The BeebsMy Profile

    • says

      It was so much fun! I will definitely posts pics of me in a hard hat and safety glasses. And you are right that it empowers women in more ways than one. More on that soon!

  2. says

    This is TOO COOL! You know, I really want to make a difference in my world, and I had no idea about the housing shortage.
    Along those lines, I’ll never forget this community I visited when I was in Mexico. It’s called the Centro de Juan Diego. Wouldn’t you know, many men have fled the community (it’s right outside of Mexico City) in search of a better life for their families in the US (for better or worse, right?). So, in order to “bring back community and bring money into it, too,” community leaders embarked on an epic project: they got the women to build this self-sustaining community: it has classrooms for learning, a day care for all the moms, dorms for single women and mothers who all work at the community, too, by making tortillas (and selling them to the public), working in the cafeteria, working at the daycare, doing hair, having an eye clinic (and working as techs), a dental clinic (where they work as dental assistants), teach business, technology and other types of classes for the other women, and it’s really cyclical: it’s all made in the community, for the community (and the public), and everyone contributes. If someone can’t afford rent, they might take on extra little jobs while the other women watch her children at the on-site daycare. I’ve never forgotten this: I’ve thought time and again about trying to do something like this in my own community, but holy cow I wouldn’t even know where to start. I itch so badly to make a difference and here in Asheville, the poverty rate for African Americans is something around 80%, and for the general community, it’s high, too…around 40% of all citizens. I could be wrong about those numbers, but after working in the public school system, I’ve long since wondered about how I could make a bigger difference in my community. Egads, your posts are inspiring. I have no idea if I could/would do a project like the one I described above, but man…I would so love to. :)
    Cyndi recently posted..Indigo SoulMy Profile

    • says

      That’s an amazing story, Cyndi. I love to share how people give back because it gives us all inspiration to do more.

      I’ve worked in the social services realm for several years here in Maine. The poverty rate is high, particularly for kids. It saddens me when families have to live without adequate housing or food. I had the chance to work alongside the future homeowner of the Habitat house. Her story is so inspiring. More to come on that!

      I’m not going to lie. It was hard work. But it was so rewarding!
      anotherjennifer recently posted..An Interview with Kristin Cavallari: On Parenting, Philanthropy and FootballMy Profile

  3. says

    I had a little giggle at your blog name, I was one of 6 Jennifers in my graduating class, no joke. We all used different variations on our name, I used “Jenn” but dropped it in college and went the Jennifer :-)
    I had no idea Habitat for Humanity has a program for women! That is just awesome that they are empowering so many.
    Have a great afternoon!
    Jennifer M. recently posted..Farm Life FridayMy Profile

    • says

      They are an awesome organization. I am so happy I was able to learn more about them. They do so much more than I thought. The Women Build program is so beneficial for so many reasons. I’ll be writing more about it.

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