Women Build: A Hand Up, Not a Hand Out

Women Build: A Hand Up, Not a Hand Out

One of my favourite days of the year is Habitat for Humanity’s Women Build Day.  This initiative started in 1991 and is a great opportunity to get involved.  The Women Build Week is held over three weekends here in Calgary.  This event invites women to help families build strength, stability and independence through housing.

“Any woman who wants to learn how to build and construct a home is invited to join us. No experience is necessary. Volunteers work under the guidance of construction professionals, and also alongside other volunteers and future Habitat homeowners. Whether you are learning new skills or simply adding a few to your tool belt, this is a rewarding experience for all involved, and improves the community that you share.”

Women Build 2017

I was very fortunate to be part of a team called Charle’s Angles.  Led by Kristal Heise with Mahalo Properties, Kristal was able to secure our very own Women Build Day so that all 32 of us could be together.  Typically, Women Build Days are on Friday and Saturday however Habitat for Humanity was able to secure a Thursday for all of us.  In total, our group raised $19,958!

women build

Kristal talking to our group at lunchtime

women build

Abby and I before our day began.

We were so lucky that we had wonderful weather to go along with all of the wonderful energy of 32 women!

Women Build: The Truth

Part of having our own Women Build Day was our group offering to look after our own lunch.  Typically Habitat for Humanity looks after the lunch for the women. Rhonda Bean was quick to offer the Calgary Flames Food Truck as an option and leveraging her connection with the Calgary Flames.  When I reached out to my many trades and suppliers, it took Deerfoot Carpet and Flooring less than 5 minutes to jump in and offer to sponsor our lunch!  Thank you Paul Geronazzo and the rest of Deerfoot Carpet and Flooring for the support!  During our lunch break we were educated more as to the importance of Habitat for Humanity.

women build

The Calgary Flame’s Food Truck ready to serve our lunch.

Here are some facts:

  • There is an application process for being considered for these homes.
  • Applicants have to have children in order to be considered.
  • Successful applicants (called partners) need to put in 500 hours of sweat equity.
  • There is a no down-payment mortgage

Monthly  payments are set at 25% of gross income (this includes principal repayment and property tax – at the discretion of the affiliate, homeowner insurance may be collected as well, in which case payments would not exceed 30% of gross household income).
women build

This is truly a hand up and not a hand out.  I so strongly believe in this philosophy which is why I am so drawn to the Habitat for Humanity’s organization.

Women Build: The Results

Habitat homes help partner families avoid having to make a choice between rent and other basic necessities by providing them with a mortgages they can afford. By having an affordable mortgage partner families can ensure their needs are met.  And by needs, it is not only the basic needs.  Things like childcare, transportation, education, school supplies, medical and dental expenses, and extra curricular activities.  Kids can have a stable home life knowing that their needs are being met.

To date, there have been 250 families and 520 children that have become partner families in our community! All of the money we raised (as well as all of the other money raised by other groups) goes directly into the homes.  As with any organization, there are administrative and operating costs.  Those costs are covered with funds from the Habitat for Humanity ReStore.  

Women Build: The Work

Last year was my first year with Women Build and I really wasn’t sure what I was getting myself in to.  This year, I had my daughter join me and I did warn her that we would in fact, be working!  I signed up for tile work and Abby signed up for painting.

I had the absolute pleasure of working beside Tracey McGowan from Emily Rose Executive Health.  While we were in close quarters in a bathroom, we sure did have a lot of fun and of course, many giggles!  The OCD in me was front and centre as we discussed the best way to tile the bathtub.  We decided to centre the tile and work left and right from the centre so that both corners had the sliver of tile.  See our lovely centre tile???

women build

Our first bath tub women build

Tracey and I with our team leader Dana.  Don’t you just love selfies.  Oi!

women build

Our second bathtub down!  Are we looking a touch tired???

Women Build

I once again wanted to thank everyone who supported my fundraising efforts!  I truly appreciate your generosity and your support and I look forward to participating again next year!  An extra special shout-out goes to Kristal Heise with Mahalo Properties for organizing our group, to Rhonda Bean for arranging our lunch, and to Deerfoot Carpet and Flooring for sponsoring our lunch for the day!  So much gratitude for all of you!

Sheri Bruneau Get It Together


Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.