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Primed on Long Island

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A volunteer completes some interior painting for HFH of Suffolk’s Women Build day.

The weather on Long Island (N.Y.) has not been what we typically expect for the beginning of May. The forecast was pretty much the same for the entire week: lots of rain!

Even though we had National Women Build Week work days scheduled for Thursday, Friday and Saturday we did not let the weather report concern us. The women of Habitat for Humanity Suffolk come out no matter the weather – and we have last winter’s snowball pictures to prove it!

The construction staff and I arrived early to setup for our first Women Build day this week. At around 8:45 a.m., our volunteers began to arrive. The first to arrive, as always, were the “new” volunteers who had never been involved with our Women Build program before. When the last of the volunteers were checked in, we welcomed them all to the worksite and prepped them for the day’s work.

Our homeowner to-be also joined us on site. She finished her sweat equity hours months ago, but insists that no work should be done on her house without her there!

Yolanda is going to be a wonderful homeowner. A single mother of two, she works two jobs to support her children, and is making her dream of homeownership come true! She has had a smile on her face since day one and the excitement has only grown as her house nears completion.

After the ceremonial morning picture was taken in front of the house, our volunteers eagerly got to work priming. We could tell their involvement in the event was important to them. Most of the ladies chose to wear their old clothes rather than get their new National Women Build Week t-shirts covered in paint!

A lunch break was taken at noon, but the crew did not rest long as everyone was eager to get back to work. I busied myself taking pictures to document the event and even did some priming in the closets. Our normal workday goes to about 2:30 p.m., with cleanup completed by 3. However, the ladies had this two-story building completely primed and the site cleaned by 2!

We were all happy with the day’s accomplishment. With a coat on the walls it looked even more like an actual house! We hope that by the end of National Women Build Week, this house will be completely painted and one step closer to a finished home.

Corey Jannicelli is an AmeriCorps staff member serving with Habitat for Humanity of Suffolk (N.Y.). She works in Volunteer Services scheduling volunteer groups and teaching volunteers about Habitat’s mission.