I lived on my own for many, many years so I would consider myself pretty handy around the house. I’ve painted walls, fixed toilets, and moved my entire place more than I care to talk about. But what I’ve been working on the past few months was beyond anything I can dream up at Home Depot.
I am sure you have heard of Habitat for Humanity. It is an organization that builds homes for low-income families who are not able to get conventional financing. It is not a hand out. The families are involved in the entire process, giving them a sense of true ownership. Well, this year, I got involved in this process as well through a Habitat Broward group called Women Build. I’m used to selling homes, but putting hammer to nail and actually building one is truly amazing.
I was part of more than 400 South Florida women from all walks of life who volunteered to build five homes for deserving families in Sunrise. We started in late February and the homes are nearly complete. Not only is this a game-changer for the people who will be moving into these homes, but it is also revitalizing our neighborhoods block-by-block. The five new homes are right next to each other.
I thought when I started this process that I was doing this for moms and their kids, but in reality – I got so much more out of it than they ever will. It was empowering to be up on that roof, but not because I was laying shingles. I learned so much from the women who committed their time – their Saturdays – to help others. We were a team (and a darn good one, if I might say so myself!).
Nancy Daly, who is a Habitat board member and Women Build committee chairwoman, said that Women Build is one of the largest and most successful of its kind in the country and now I understand why.
One Habitat house changes so many lives. It gives mom and dad a sense of pride – their children the stability they need and women like me a chance to see how a few hours of my time can make a difference in my community.
We can complain about the problems facing our cities or we can do something about it. I chose to do something about it. And you should to. If you are interested in volunteering, you can register for one of the Habitat for Humanity build dates by visiting: http://www.habitatbroward.org.