Excerpt from “Volunteers construct houses in Piru for Women Build Week,” by Mark Storer. Ventura County Star, posted May 3, 2011.
The roar of circular saws and the loud bang of hammers rang across Piru’s Temescal Street on Saturday morning as builders worked to finish a pair of houses on a lot formerly occupied by a dilapidated hotel. With the exception of three crew members, all of the 50 volunteers were women.
Rosa Montelongo of Thousand Oaks was the recipient of a Habitat house and now volunteers. “I feel so happy to go back to work here,” Montelongo said. “You meet these people who have such big hearts, and it’s so cool to be a part of building homes.”
Susana Vergara of Oxnard will be moving into one of the homes with her husband, Ricardo, and their two daughters. “I’m very emotional about it all,” said Vergara. “Being here, building my own home and being able to come back to Piru where my family is, it’s just wonderful.” Habitat recipients must provide at least 500 hours of work on their houses. “I’ve done around 850 hours,” Vergara said.
Stacy Swanson, Habitat for Humanity Executive Director said, “I’m in constant awe of the volunteers who come build houses with us. It’s such a tangible thing to be a part of, to provide homes for people, and it’s very rewarding, especially in these times.”
About the Habitat for Humanity / Lowe’s Women Build Week. The Women Build program empowers women, enabling them to positively impact the lives of children by making home ownership a present reality for families. A Women Build is not about excluding men; it’s about including women.
In the days leading up to Mother’s Day construction crews of female volunteers will raise their hammers at Habitat for Humanity construction sites across the country in recognition of National Women Build Week, April 30 to May 8. The Mother’s Day time frame was selected for its significance to many volunteers. Families with children make up a staggering number of those in need of adequate housing. More than 12 million children – one in six – live in poverty housing in the United States alone.
Habitat for Humanity’s Women Build, underwritten by Lowe’s, recruits, educates and nurtures women to build – and advocate for – simple, decent and affordable house in their communities. Lowe’s is contributing more than $1.3 million to National Women Build Week and providing $5,000 Lowe’s gift cards and build materials to more than 250 Habitat affiliates.