From its start in 2008, Habitat for Humanity of Utah County has joined with 300 Habitat affiliates to host National Women Build Week, a program created by Habitat International in 1991 to bring women from all walks of life together to create stronger and safer communities.

Sponsored by Lowe’s and launched by Habitat for Humanity International’s Women Build program, women are invited to devote at least one day to the effort to eliminate poverty housing.

Until 2019, the event was held the week leading up to Mother’s Day, a significant date considering that single-mother headed families make up a staggering number of those in need of adequate and affordable housing.

“Seeing women come together to support one another and build a home is truly inspirational,” said LeAnn Hillam, Habitat for Humanity of Utah County’s volunteer and family services manager. “This program brings together diverse groups of women to address the housing crisis facing families in our community.”

In the beginning, the event was held on just one day with women from Lowe’s making up the majority of the volunteers. In 2010, Habitat extended it to a week and invited Amy Roloff from Little People Big World to kick it off and bring in donors and volunteers. That year, women in education, business, banking, politics and healthcare spent the week working in Springville hanging drywall at the Mariscal home.

Each subsequent year, the event grew, even turning into a two-week event one year with the addition of female Realtors, bloggers, crafters, media personalities and tech experts. That year, 2015, more than 220 women volunteered to donate both their time and money.

In 2016, due to the popularity of the event, Habitat created the Circle of 100, a fundraising campaign to provide the resources to build its first Women Build home.

The Circle’s goal was to recruit 100 teams to bring in $1,000 each. With their $1,000 donation, the team of up to 10 female volunteers was given a build shift, t-shirt, and lunch. Habitat was able to recruit over 60 teams, and with other in-kind and cash donations, was able to build a 3 bedroom home in Provo in partnership with Krystle Long and her two children. 92% of the female labor on the house came from the Circle of 100.

In 2018, Habitat began their second Women Build home. Female volunteer teams were made up of past National Women Build Week and Circle of 100 participants. About 75% of the volunteers built the four-bedroom, two-bath home in partnership with Nacole Morgan and her four boys.

“Women Build’s empower women to help families build strength, stability and independence,” said Nancy Mickiewicz, donor relations and development manager at Habitat for Humanity of Utah County. “Women are often intimidated on a construction site, but in the comfortable environment of the Women Build site, they quickly learn basic construction skills.”

In summer 2019, the Habitat affiliate is excited to introduce a new way for women to continue to be involved in solving poverty housing in Utah County by joining the Women Builders Club. The Club is sponsorship-based, and all donations go towards the construction of Habitat homes.

The Women Builders Club helps women gain confidence and skills to take a proactive step in serving their communities. 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 crew leaders and alongside other volunteers and future Habitat homeowners.

Women helping women sends a positive and powerful message. Diverse groups of women, both corporate and through our community, raise the funds for the Women Builders Club and recruit volunteers to build alongside one another.

“As soon as we cut the ribbon on our last Women Build home, the female participants have been asking when they could work on another one. They have been so excited to sign up for the Women Builders Club,” Mickiewicz said.

Teams who have worked on the two Women Build homes have already pledged a monetary donation and are excited to start building again.

The first home that will benefit from the Women Builders Club is the Castro home, a three-bedroom, two-bath home being built in partnership with Ericka Castro and her two young children. The Club will begin framing the home in mid to late August.

If you are interested in learning about sponsorship levels, or to sign up, please contact Nancy Mickiewicz at 801-344-8527 or nancym@habitatuc.org.