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Detroit celebrated NWBW in style

National Women Build Week 2012: Detroit, Michigan
ByTara Franey


Habitat Detroit Women Build volunteers celebrate the completion of a fun-filled National Women Build Week.


Women make it happen! That’s one thing I can definitely tell you from assisting with Women Build 2012.

Habitat for Humanity Detroit started its National Women Build Week off a little early by hosting several pre-build clinics at its operations center. Volunteers from throughout the community and Lowe’s employees prepared components, built walls and decked the house foundation over several events in late April and early May.

Many participants were first time Habitat volunteers and did an amazing job getting us ready for the official start of construction!

Next we were on to our Ladies Night Out, a chance to kick off Women Build 2012 in style. Hosted at Habitat Detroit’s newest Habitat ReStore and generously sponsored by Lowe’s, Ladies Night Out was a great evening of food, fun and wisdom.

After enjoying a delicious dinner catered by Detroit’s Slows Bar-B-Q and Taste Love Cupcakes, Women Build volunteers were treated to a fabulous and inspirational panel of metro Detroit women discussing how they have achieved success and how they continue to balance work and life.

We were so thrilled to have a special guest with us — Dena Jackson from Habitat International, Ms. Women Build Extraordinaire! We know we showed her lots of Detroit love. Of course, any event worth its salt has some swag, so each volunteer received a pink GRIP tool belt and safety glasses for the week.

Finally, after a night of fun, it was time to raise some walls! Sheila Ford, the future homeowner of 3536 Lakepointe, was on hand to see her home become a reality and thank the sponsors and volunteers who came out in support of her and her family.

For the rest of the week, longtime Habitat volunteer Renee Knight led the house build with an all women crew who worked diligently to keep on schedule. Pat Clifford, manager of the Harper Woods Lowe’s, also joined in on the fun along with his wife and two daughters and nine different Lowe’s stores sent volunteers throughout the week. And, unbelievably, volunteers came as far as Tampa Bay, Florida to join in on the fun. Wow!

After six days of building, it is amazing to see what can be accomplished by the hands of some amazing women. Some were new, some were seasoned veterans, but all came with one mission: to build a better Detroit. While they learned the physics of a “tireless” hammer swing and the art of nail pulling, most of all they learned they can be a part of something much bigger than themselves.

Needless to say, we can’t wait to do it all again next year.

Tara Franey is the fund development and marketing director for Habitat Detroit.