BLOOMINGTON â A group of women dusted off their hammers and hardhats Saturday to kick off the house-building season for Habitat for Humanity of McLean County.
This week marks the 10th annual National Women Build Week sponsored by Habitat for Humanity International in partnership with Loweâs.
âThe purpose of the week is to give women a chance to feel comfortable in construction, get their hands dirty and feel empowered,â said Lindsey Probst, volunteer coordinator with Habitat for Humanity of McLean County.
The sound of hammering echoed along west Jefferson Street, where about 15 women volunteered to assemble the framework for a Habitat house that will be erected on Mulberry Street later this year.
Jennifer Ramirez of Bloomington is the owner of the future home, where she will live with her 10-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter. Ramirez volunteers with the Women Build group.
âThe walls of my house are being built today; itâs important that Iâm here,â said Ramirez. âI wanted a house for my kids to grow up in. I cried when I heard the news I would receive a home.â
Ramirez said itâs important for women to have an active role in Habitat building.
âThe friendships and bonds Iâve made in the first week are really amazing,â she said.
Around 50 local women are expected to serve this week with Habitat, which will earn the organization $5,000 from Loweâs to spend on the home’s construction.
âIt just shows the power we have in numbers,â said Probst. “The impact you can make on your community is inspiring.”
Terry Myers is the project director for the Habitat build. She said she hopes the work sends a message that women are perfectly capable of construction.
âItâs a great way to help build the community and yourself at the same time,â she said.
Sue Deason of Bloomington is the liaison for the Women Build board of directors and Anna Ziegler of Normal is the Women Build chair. Both women volunteered to hammer framework.
âWomen donât just have to volunteer by baking cookies or fundraising; this provides the opportunity for women to be empowered, pick up tools and be involved in construction,â said Ziegler. âI hope this inspires women and young girls to help build the community one home at a time.â
Deason said there is always a volunteer job for everybody.
âPlenty of women volunteer, but they donât always get the opportunity to come to the forefront of these builds. This creates a different atmosphere. Hopefully it will help build our volunteer base,â she said.
Volunteer positions are full for this week of building, but workers are needed for the rest of the summer construction season.
To learn more about volunteering with Habitat, visit www.habitatmclean.orgÂ or call Lindsey Probst at 309-827-3931.Â
Follow Julia Evelsizer on Twitter: @pg_evelsizer