Friday, May 18, 2012

5th Annual Women Build Week Success

           This year we wanted to make Women Build Week a bigger, more impactful event.  In the past we have celebrated the week with two building days, this year we doubled it!  We also partnered with local Renton non-profits to show the reach and impact of women working to strengthen our community.  Four days of building, 120 volunteers, and one empowering week!

           This year we set some pretty aggressive goals for our Women Build, with work ranging from framing to painting.  Over the course of four days, women volunteering for the build worked on all eleven units at our La Fortuna site.  We framed interior walls on the third story of four units, getting the whole building one step closer to putting the roof on.  On the same building, we installed plywood sheathing and structural straps on the exterior to complete our nailing requirements.  On six different units, we made excellent progress with exterior painting, and got a great start on priming the newly installed sheet rock inside.  Overall, Women Build was a great success in terms of moving our site along to the next step with a lot of momentum.

           On May 9th we kicked off the event with a welcome ceremony emceed by longtime  Habitat supporter, Habitat EKC Board Member, and Women Build sponsor Betsy Wryer.  Jahna Smith, Habitat Homeowner, and AmeriCorps member spoke about how thankful she has been for the Habitat program.  Jahna also found out that day that she has been accepted into the nursing program at Pacific Lutheran University.  Five volunteers from Women Build sponsor, Travelers Insurance, came out to build, as well as women involved with ANEW (Apprenticeship and Non-Traditional Employment for Women).  Leah, ANEW’s classroom instructor, spoke about the apprenticeship program at lunch.   

            Thursday May 10th, Women Build was in full swingwith raffle prizes and Women Build gear to win, we also had a spectacular lunch with donated cookies from Panera Bread.  Jasmine Giles, daughter of a Habitat Homeowner in the New Castle community, spoke about the impact that growing up in a Habitat home had on her life.  Jasmine is currently pursuing a nursing degree at Bellevue College.  Friday, May 11th we continued to celebrate women by hearing from Goodwill, whose career education programs allow women to take the next step in their personal professional development.  Goodwill presented a vintage hat show, featuring women’s hats from pioneer days, World War II women’s military and working women hats and 1930-60s fashions. 

            Saturday May 12th during lunch, Habitat Homeowner Marwa Zahid spoke about her work at REWA (Refugee Women’s Alliance) and her personal journey as an Iraqi refugee moving to the United States and how her opportunity to become a homeowner materialized.  A few Tilted Thunder Roller Derby Rail Birds also joined us on site.

           We recognized the end of Women Build Week by hearing from two incredible homeowners, Penelope Rux and Iulia Zavodov at the closing ceremony Saturday afternoon. Penelope shared her struggles as a single mother and commended the support and strength that Habitat volunteers gave to her and to our homeownership program. Penelope and her 16 year old son L.G. spent the day building with us. Iulia gave a charming speech about the impact that Habitat has had on her family’s life, the challenges of being a refugee and her joyous thankfulness to Habitat volunteers.  

           A big thank you to our sponsors who made this week possible: Travelers Insurance, Motor Oil Supply, Lowe’s, PCL Construction, and Betsy Weyer- Windermere Real Estate!

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