The class is part of a Habitat for Humanity building program
By Ayana Stewart
At the Lowe’s Home Improvement Store in Zephyrhills, 15 women mingle and chat, waiting for their workshop to begin.
Once the instructor arrives, the talkative women quiet down and quickly transform into a group of attentive students.
They are preparing for Women Build Week 2011, a Habitat for Humanity event that will occur from April 30 to May 8. The goal of the project is to build two homes in Pasco County in less than two weeks. Women from all over the area will gather and work in shifts in order to aid Habitat for Humanity in its efforts.
Larry Bailey, department manager of Lumber and Building Materials at Lowe’s, led the April 26 session. The focus was on installing insulation and drywall in a home. Previous classes have covered safety, framing and siding.
“Does anyone have any experience with drywall?” Bailey asks, hopefully.
He’s met with blank stares.
“I have drywall in my house if that helps,” one woman jokes. The rest of the group giggles.
He starts from scratch, explaining in great detail how drywall and insulation should be measured, cut and hung. Since the workshop focuses on being interactive, he asks for a volunteer to help demonstrate the process.
Patricia Strobridge raises her hand. She listens carefully as Larry explains how to staple the insulation to the wall frame and then takes a turn with the staple gun herself.
The majority of the women have little experience with construction and labor. The one thing that they share is the desire to make a difference in the community.
Patricia hasn’t been involved with the project long but enjoys herself immensely. “It’s delightful and entertaining,” she said. “It’s a good feeling to help someone else.”
Soporro Burns and Ramona Atkins were chosen as the recipients of the homes that will be built. Both women attend the Lowe’s workshops with their families and will volunteer during Women Build Week.
“I was renting homes on and off and wanted something of my own, so I filled out an application at the Habitat for Humanity office,” Ramona explained. “When I found out that I was chosen, I cried.”
Burns is also filled with gratitude. “I really appreciate everything that Habitat for Humanity is doing. They’ve been wonderful.”
For Crystal Paoloemilio, Stephanie Black and Kaci Wubbena, organizers of Women Build Week, this is what it’s all about. They’ve all been involved with Habitat for Humanity for a number of years and are pleased with the turnout this year.
Women Build Week proves that regardless of age, experience, or gender, it is possible to change a life in your community.
To find out more about the upcoming event or donate to the cause, please visit www.ephabitat.org.
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