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.
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?
- Find a National Women Build event near you
- Volunteer with Women Build (you can help out year round!)
- Donate to Women Build
- Follow along on Twitter ~ #WomenBuild13 @WomenBuild and @Habitat_org
- Contact your local Habitat for Humanity affiliate about projects in your area and upcoming Lowe’s workshops for women
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?