Throughout the years, Habitat for Humanity of Forsyth County has stayed true to their philosophy of “a hand up, not a hand out.” Almost 450 families have become homeowners through the work of Habitat Forsyth, locally and globally. But their work is broader than new homeownership – Habitat is in the business of neighborhood revitalization, too. They have served over 80 families, elderly citizens, and veterans with home repairs to ensure they safely age in place, as well as thousands of others through the home maintenance training, partnerships, community clean-ups, and work with neighborhood associations. Women Build is an example of how volunteers, as well as soon-to-be Habitat homeowners, work hard together to change a neighborhood for the better, forever.

“In 1991, a group of women in Charlotte started Women Build to benefit the Charlotte Habitat for Humanity. It has grown to a national initiative for the organization. Over 2,000 new homes have been built across the country. During these builds, Habitat volunteers get to build alongside the new homeowner, who is required to complete a minimum of 300 sweat equity hours before purchasing the new house. We also participate in the “National Women Build Week,” which is held May 6 -13,” said Habitat for Humanity of Forsyth County’s Director of Resource Development, Pam Anglin.

According to Anglin, all Habitat homeowners are low-income, and over 80% are single women. The build empowers women to learn new skills, be leaders on a female-friendly Habitat work site, and help families gain strength, independence, and stability. Throughout the day, women of all ages and backgrounds work in teams to complete the construction and projects on a new home. Men are also welcome to attend a Women Build.

“In Forsyth County, we have completed 10 Women Builds in the past 20 years. The fundraising and construction was led by female individuals and teams. Each Habitat home requires $65,000 in sponsorship donors. In 2016, women in our community started the 11th Women Build home, and it is close to completion,” said Anglin.

If you, your co-workers, family, or friends are interested in participating in a Women Build, there are several ways to get involved. First, let Habitat Forsyth know you are interested. According to Anglin, there are regular Women Build gatherings. These events let you get to know other women and learn more about Habitat. All you need to do is contact her at pam.anglin@habitatforsyth.org or (336) 306-8418. Second, create a personal web page on Habitat’s peer-to-peer fundraising site to get donations for the Women Build. Another way to participate is through the Nickels for Nails collection. The organization will provide boxes for cash/coin donations. These boxes can be placed in classrooms, churches, and homes. Donations are also welcomed from individuals, companies, and organizations. A plus to this avenue is you can invite others to match your gift. Lastly, get involved in the Women Build with actually building and working on a house. Visit Habitat Forsyth’s volunteer hub to sign up for a build at habitatforsyth.volunteerhub.com.

“Women have all the skills and passion necessary to build a house! Habitat for Humanity’s Women Build brings together the collective power of women to fundraise, manage, communicate, build social capital, and volunteer in a concrete way while addressing the problem of substandard housing so families can have safe, decent, and affordable homes,” said Anglin.

Team Forsyth Magazines participated in a Women Build on March 11th. Along with our friends outside of the magazine, 16 people worked hard finishing the inside and outside of a soon-to-be home. Our team was divided into two groups: one worked inside on the flooring, and the other worked outside on the siding of the house. I was part of the siding group. With a hammer and nails, my group climbed up and down scaffolding to complete and secure the siding on the house. Trust me – this process takes thinking and concentration. At the end of the day, both groups were proud of their work, inside and outside of the house. Our Women Build was filled with plenty of laughs, good times, and memories. Also, having the opportunity to meet the person who is going to receive this home made me work a lot harder to make sure they are getting the best place possible. I am grateful to have experienced participating in a Habitat for Humanity Women Build and will definitely do it again!

 

Article originally published in Forsyth Woman.