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Women unite in Birmingham to help the Beal family

National Women Build Week: Birmingham, Alabama
Freida Beal and her 5-year-old daughter, Destini, arrived at their new home site just after 7 a.m. Excitement ran high. The slab of their house was poured and the 2x4s were ready.

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The Beal family poses with National Women Build Week volunteers before getting to work in Birmingham, Alabama.

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Destini Beal smiles proudly in front of the sign in her new front yard in Birmingham, Alabama.

Volunteers started arriving, with the projected rain not dampening their spirits. Many volunteers had attended Lowe’s “How-To” clinics, where they learned framing and how to install vinyl. Today, they would use their framing skills.

Magic 96.5’s morning co-host, Jeannine Jersey, was there to work alongside 30 other ladies helping provide an affordable new home for the Beal family. Having volunteered with Habitat for Humanity while she was in Connecticut, as well as coordinating teams to travel to New Orleans, Jeannine quickly picked up the Habitat banner locally when she moved to Birmingham.

People quickly signed in, donning their Women Build tees and nail aprons. After listening to a quick talk about Lowe’s partnership with Habitat and the goals of Women Build, the site supervisor provided directions and safety guidelines before the women went to work.

Women Build is designed to empower women, giving them a new set of skills while supporting the affordable housing needs of their communities. Stephanie, a first-time volunteer with Habitat, got some guidance on how to use a hammer from a regular volunteer named Cynthia. Cynthia first came to volunteer with Habitat Birmingham during the affiliate’s first Women Build six years ago. According to Cynthia, her book club signed up to volunteer with Habitat on a Friday and Saturday that first time, and she says she was hooked on Habitat before she left on Friday.

Today, volunteers like Stephanie and Cynthia had several walls framed within a few hours. Soon, it was time to raise the first wall. All hands were on deck to stand the wall up and make sure it was plumb. Once it was secure, Freida hugged the first wall of her new home. Before the end of the day, over half of the interior and exterior walls clearly outlined the future home of the Beal family. Well done, ladies!

Beth Jerome is director of development for Habitat for Humanity Greater Birmingham. To learn more about Habitat Greater Birmingham, visit http://www.habitatbirmingham.org/.