National Women Build Week: Empowering Women With "Do-It-Herself" Skills to Help Make a Difference
Mother’s Day is just around the corner and to commemorate this special day, thousands of women will be getting their hands dirty by volunteering at Habitat for Humanity’s National Women Build Week, where they devote at least one day to help build affordable, decent housing in their communities. The event, which runs from May 2-10, has a truly do-it-herself type atmosphere. Volunteers receive valuable skills training from Habitat construction staff and home improvement retailer Lowe’s in many aspects of home building and repair, from grouting showers, to hanging drywall. This gives Women Build volunteers the opportunity to develop home improvement skills that they can take home with them while also helping to improve the lives of women and families in their local communities - a win/win situation.
When We Started and Why
The Women Build program began in 1998 to shed light on the housing crisis facing millions of women and children across the world. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 14.7 million children are living in poverty in the United States with nearly 46 percent of these children residing with women heads-of-household. These women understand more than most that a safe and affordable home can make all the difference in their family’s lives. Habitat for Humanity built the Women Build program with one mission: empower women to take action against poverty housing conditions.
We’ve had the support of thousands of women over the years, including presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, the first ladies from all 50 states and more. We’ve found that women volunteers boost Habitat’s capacity to build more houses and serve more families. Since the program began, more than 2,300 Women Build houses have been built by all-women construction crews. And this year, 15,000 women will volunteer at more than 300 Habitat affiliates nationwide, helping to build affordable housing in their communities.
Who Supports It
Lowe’s in particular has been an enthusiastic and generous supporter of the program from the very beginning. The retailer donated nearly $2 million in support of Women Build activities this year. Lowe’s also conducts how-to clinics in its stores to teach volunteer construction skills, such as painting, framing, how to use hand and power tools and install siding, shingles, insulation and drywall.
What We Do and Where
As part of this year’s National Women Build Week, there will be three large-scale events happening in Pittsburgh, Orlando and Tucson where the affiliates will engage at least 300 local volunteers to help improve their communities. In Pittsburgh, local community and elected officials will help rehabilitate a home in East McKeesport. Habitat Greater Orlando’s volunteers will help construct new houses in a 59-home community, each of which will be built to meet green standards, and in Tucson, participants will help build a new, Energy Star-rated home.
This Mother’s Day week, I encourage you to come out to a Habitat Build site near you and put your “Do-It-Herself” skills to good use by helping making a difference in the lives of women, one house at a time. Not only will you be helping improve your communities, but I guarantee you’ll have a great time doing it.