HER Health

An em­pow­er­ing path to con­struc­tion

The Sentinel-Record - HER - Hot Springs - - Contents - By Lind­sey Wells

Al­most ev­ery non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tion seems to be known for some­thing, whether it’s a sig­na­ture fundraiser, cam­paign or mis­sion. The Sal­va­tion Army is known for its Christ­mas Ket­tle street cam­paign. The Su­san G. Komen or­ga­ni­za­tion is known for its Race for the Cure. Girl Scouts of the USA is known for its cook­ies. And Gar­land County Habi­tat for Hu­man­ity is known for its mis­sion to pro­vide durable hous­ing to those in need.

At any given time dur­ing the year, Habi­tat has three to four houses un­der var­i­ous stages of con­struc­tion and, ac­cord­ing to Cindy Wagstaff, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Gar­land County Habi­tat, they do ap­prox­i­mately eight $65,000-70,000 projects per year.

Gar­land County Habi­tat will hold its third an­nual Women’s Build event this year May 16-20, and vol­un­teers will have the op­por­tu­nity to help build not one, but two houses for two fam­i­lies in need over the span of those five days.

Fam­i­lies go through an ap­pli­ca­tion process be­fore be­ing con­sid­ered to be cho­sen for a house. A com­mit­tee eval­u­ates each fam­ily based on their need of hous­ing, their abil­ity to re­pay the mort­gage and their will­ing­ness to part­ner with oth­ers.

“These fam­i­lies are not only help­ing to build their own house but they’re also go­ing through fi­nan­cial lit­er­acy classes, home main­te­nance classes, all of that, so they’re work­ing very hard,” Wagstaff said.

Wagstaff said that be­cause the event was so well re­ceived the first two years, they de­cided to ex­pand it to two houses in­stead of one and five days in­stead of four.

“We chose a prop­erty that has two

lots side by side be­cause we had so much in­ter­est last year. We’re able to build two houses side by side which al­lows us to dou­ble the ca­pac­ity of vol­un­teers, and then we went ahead and added an ex­tra day so we’re able to ac­com­mo­date 200 peo­ple this year,” she said.

Each day will be­gin at 8 a.m. and end at noon and is open to in­di­vid­u­als 16 years old and older. Vol­un­teers can pick which day they want to vol­un­teer and lunch will be pro­vided each day.

The foun­da­tion is be­ing laid now and every­thing will be ready for the vol­un­teers to frame the houses on the days of the event.

Never picked up a ham­mer a day in your life? Wagstaff said that is com­pletely OK — a con­struc­tion crew will be on site to train vol­un­teers on the dif­fer­ent tasks that will be per­formed.

“When the ladies come they need to be pre­pared for swing­ing a ham­mer and all kinds of things that go along with fram­ing a house. And they’ll work along­side the fam­i­lies that have been cho­sen for the houses,” she added.

Lowe’s Home Im­prove­ment “has jumped in with both feet,” Wagstaff said, and is pro­vid­ing every­thing (hard hats, nail aprons, work gloves, etc.) that the vol­un­teers will need to get the job done. She said vol­un­teers don’t need to bring any­thing with them but must wear closed-toe shoes, long pants and shirts with sleeves.

“Con­struc­tion is one of those things that you can’t nec­es­sar­ily put a very strict time­line on be­cause of weather, but hope­fully we get the houses framed, which is the real ex­cit­ing part be­cause that’s where you see the re­sults of your work,” Wagstaff said. “It’s a big deal when we raise a wall, when we get one wall com­plete and we raise it all to­gether. That’s a cel­e­bra­tion.

“The Women’s Build event is sig­nif­i­cant for us be­cause it has so many dif­fer­ent facets. Ob­vi­ously there are women in con­struc­tion, which is a male-dom­i­nated in­dus­try, so it’s kind of an em­pow­er­ing event for all the women to come to. It pro­vides a less-in­tim­i­dat­ing way to be in­volved with con­struc­tion,” she said.

Wagstaff added that while Wom- en’s Build is de­signed to fo­cus on the power of net­work­ing with women, it is not at all meant to ex­clude men. She said cou­ples par­tic­i­pated in last year’s event and that men are wel­come to sign up to vol­un­teer with their spouses.

“We also have moth­ers and daugh­ters that sign up, multi-gen­er­a­tions that come. You re­ally get to see the im­pact and par­tic­i­pate in hav­ing an im­pact. It can be life chang­ing to see the im­pact that you have, and these two fam­i­lies that have been se­lected for these homes are just amaz­ing fam­i­lies. They were ap­proved at the end of the year last year, right around Christ­mas. They are just ter­ri­bly ex­cited about this,” said Wagstaff.

Once the houses are com­pleted each vol­un­teer will be in­vited back to at­tend the of­fi­cial ded­i­ca­tion cer­e­mony for the fam­i­lies.

“The work that Habi­tat does through the Women’s Build, and ev­ery other home that we build, is so very im­por­tant to our com­mu­nity be­cause it gives some peo­ple that might not oth­er­wise be able to af­ford it de­cent and af­ford­able hous­ing,” said Mary Cur­rey, who is on Gar­land County Habi­tat for Hu­man­ity’s board of di­rec­tors. “I’m very proud of the work that Gar­land County Habi­tat for Hu­man­ity is do­ing for our com­mu­nity and I’m hon­ored to play a very small role in its suc­cess.”

Be­cause this par­tic­u­lar Habi­tat event is a fundraiser, the cost per per­son to vol­un­teer is $25. Each vol­un­teer will re­ceive a free lunch, T-shirt, nail apron and more.

Ad­vance reg­is­tra­tion is re­quired by call­ing 623-5600, vis­it­ing the Gar­land County Habi­tat for Hu­man­ity Face­book page, or by vis­it­ing http://www.gar­land­coun­ty­habi­tat. org or http://www.eventbrite.com.

LongHorn Steak­house, Chick­fil-A, Fat Jacks, The Ho­tel Hot Springs & Spa and ReMax of HSV will each pro­vide lunch on their des­ig­nated day of the week. Red Light Roastery and Kol­lec­tive Cof­fee+Tea will pro­vide cof­fee ev­ery morning. Other spon­sors in­clude Hot Springs Vil­lage and First Se­cu­rity Bank.

Vol­un­teers work­ing on a Habi­tat house.

Clock­wiseW An in­spi­ra­tional mes­sage writ­ten on the frame of a Habi­tat home; Vol­un­teers at a pre­vi­ous year’s Women’s Build event; Habi­tat for Hu­man­ity vol­un­teers pose with tools dur­ing a build event.

A vol­un­teer work­ing on the frame of a house at a pre­vi­ous year’s Women’s Build event.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.