Monday, April 26 2010
It's not unusual for home improvement stores to host how-to workshops, but the one Saturday at Evansville's East Side Lowe's was a bit different.
It was aimed at women, and it was about more than just home-improvement skills.
The session was the first of two clinics held in conjunction with Women Build, a Habitat for Humanity program that encourages women to help construct homes for families in need. Another clinic will take place Saturday at Lowe's on the West Side.
Habitat for Humanity joins with families worldwide to build affordable housing. Habitat homeowners pay for their homes through interest-free mortgages, and they must contribute 300 hours of volunteer labor, or "sweat equity," to build their homes and those of others.
Women Build recognizes that 80 percent of Habitat homeowners are single mothers, said Sister Jane Michele McClure, development director for Habitat for Humanity of Evansville.
Lowe's workshop targets Women Build volunteers
"As Habitat, we know the power that comes from building your own house. ... It's a way for women to take charge of their own life."
Habitat's national Women Build week is May 1-9. The Evansville affiliate will mark the occasion with a ceremony and work session May 8 at a home under construction in the Glenwood neighborhood at 314 Ridgeway Drive. The official Women Build home project, also in Glenwood, takes place in September.
This will be the sixth Women Build event in Evansville, but it's the first time local Lowe's stores have hosted Women Build clinics.
Lowe's is a national sponsor of Women Build. Locally, the retailer is donating $5,000 to the effort.
Susan Simon, manager of Evansville's East Side Lowe's, said her store was glad to host the clinic — especially because some of its employees were affected by the November 2005 tornado.
"We've had the personal experience of someone losing their home," she said.
One of those employees, Simon said, is now a Habitat homeowner.
At Saturday's clinic, about 50 women learned about painting, window and door installation, tool use and landscaping.
Among them was Harriet Burtt of Grayville, Ill., who came for two reasons. She's remodeling her own home, and she wants to become a Habitat volunteer.
Burtt said she considers herself "fairly handy," but she did pick up some pointers at the clinic.
Impressed with what she learned about Women Build, Burtt plans to join the Evansville project this fall.
"To help women all over the world who are disenfranchised," she said. "I'm all for that."