You are here

New and veteran volunteers join Detroit’s Green Build

National Women Build Week: Detroit, Mich.


Volunteer crews participate in a “green build” with Habitat for Humanity Detroit


Controlled construction of interior and exterior walls ensure that measurements are accurate and minimal materials are left.


NWBW volunteers at Habitat Detroit’s operations center.


How much fun can 23 volunteers have building exterior and interior walls? There is an enormous amount of fun when you have nine representatives from two separate Lowe’s Home Improvement stories, a Spirit of Women group from Beaumont Hospital in Grosse Pointe, Mich., and several “Habitual” female Habitat volunteers who are known for their efforts each year during our Women Build event.

That sets the stage for a tremendous day that was accomplished at our operations center located approximately three miles from our current build site. Our Green Build process includes the controlled construction of our interior and exterior walls to be production-cut to ensure that measurements are accurate and minimal materials are left.

We build wall “components” (window and door openings) upstream of the walls to be assembled in paneled sections. The wall top and bottom plates are pre-marked and the volunteers can assemble the walls with the studs and components that are designated.

Our build team was made up of 23 volunteers: 21 women and two men. Eighteen of the volunteers were seasoned in terms of power tool safety and knowledgeable on rough framing.

The veteran volunteers set out constructing the exterior wall panels. The novices were designated an area where they had workstations to practice the proper use of circular and chop saws.

We also trained on the physics of a “tireless” hammer swing and the art of nail pulling. The novice volunteers concentrated their efforts on building the components for the next set of walls that would be built the following Saturday.

Leadership of the event was coordinated by five women who had years of experience. Habitat staff also provided guidance and quality assurance.

We were pleased that Lowe’s had such a strong representation, including Harper Woods store manager Pat Clifford. He assisted all day and brought his entire family, including his wife and two daughters. Pat did not stop there. He also had a friend and loyal Lowe’s customer come out and bring his wife and daughter. We also welcomed Sandy Czarny, the Millwork’s manager from Lowe’s Southgate, who brought another employee with her.

We were honored to also have two Habitat Detroit family partners work with our group. Both of the women were excited to be involved in one of the homes. They are both anxious to complete their sweat equity requirements and be assigned their home address.

Lastly, we were also privileged to have Alicia Smith, morning newscaster for WXYZ TV (a local ABC affiliate), join us in this event this year. Alicia is our official “ambassador” and always enjoys participating in the physical build events as well as emcee and report on special events for us here in Detroit. She has grown up in a family where the children were active in Habitat for Humanity activities and have continued their support into their professional careers.

Bob Layne is the marketing director for HFH Detroit. To learn more about HFH Detroit, check out