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Women build: Habitat house goes up soon on North Whidbey

Last year’s team leaders for the National Women Build week event were a group of women from Tacoma who appropriately named themselves the “Sisterhood of the Traveling Stilettos.”  In 2010, the women did roofing, siding and framing at Habitat for Humanity Island County’s Whitlach house site. Here the group holds up Stiletto hammers, a lighter version of the tool. - Courtesy of Habitat for Humanity of Island County
Last year’s team leaders for the National Women Build week event were a group of women from Tacoma who appropriately named themselves the “Sisterhood of the Traveling Stilettos.” In 2010, the women did roofing, siding and framing at Habitat for Humanity Island County’s Whitlach house site. Here the group holds up Stiletto hammers, a lighter version of the tool.
— image credit: Courtesy of Habitat for Humanity of Island County

Ladies, grab your Stilletos and get to work — Stilleto tools, that is. Next week begins Habitat for Humanity’s National Women Build Week, an event that is celebrated by chapters of the organization across the country which asks women to devote at least one day to eliminating poverty and raising awareness of housing needs within their communities.

This will be Habitat for Humanity Island County’s fourth year with the project. The organization will host its event from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, May 6 and 7, in Oak Harbor. This year the group was awarded a $5,000 grant from Lowe’s to help fund construction. National Women Build Week is one of the projects supported by Lowe’s five-year $20 million pledge to the nonprofit. This is the second time the chapter has been awarded a grant from Lowe’s for Women’s Build. Each year participating chapters must send in an application to be considered.

Habitat for Humanity officials decided to devote the money to building a home for the Asinsins, a Navy family that moved to Oak Harbor from Hawaii. The Asinsins have seven members in their family, two adults and five children, and their new five-bedroom house in the Crosby Commons Development near Oak Harbor High School will be the largest that Habitat has ever built.

On May 6 and 7, Habitat workers and the women volunteers will be framing the house. According to event coordinator Annee Imle of Habitat, the coordinators try to choose an activity that will get women out of their comfort zone and teach them new skills. She said they try to stray away from tasks like painting, which most women already have experience doing in their own homes.

“With an all female environment, the women are more comfortable and are willing to try new things,” Imle said. “They always end up loving it.”

Imle said in past years the event has drawn 20 to  30 women on build days. She said this year there will be T-shirts and water bottles handed out along with other goodies like coffee and donuts.

Additionally, lighter, more female-friendly tools, like those made by Stiletto brand, may be on site.

“We try to make it a fun experience to encourage women to keep coming back for projects,” Imle said. “A lot of women maybe wouldn’t come out on their own, but once they attend a Women Build they realize they really can do this. It’s not just a man’s job.”

For more information or to sign-up call 679-9444 or email rdm.hfhic@frontier.com

To date, female volunteers have built more than 1,800 Habitat houses nationwide during National Women Build Week with 20,000 volunteers participating from all 50 states.

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