Jamie Gardner, 2017 Women Build Co-Chair, shares why she participates in the Women Build.
Growing up, I was always taught that one of the most important things one can do is give back to our community. I am also a proud third generation builder, following in my father and grandfather’s footsteps through a male-dominated industry. So, when I was told about Habitat’s inaugural Women Build four years ago, I immediately was all in, because how synergistic was it to combine my desire to make the world a better place with what I do every day! Plus, I am always game for the opportunity to play with nail guns!
Little did I know at the time that I would get so much more out of Women Build than I could ever contribute. To see what women can do when we come together is truly awe-inducing. We have continually exceeded the financial goals we set each year and show no signs of slowing down. My favorite part of the experience is the build days where I see my friends who were scared to use a hammer at the beginning of the day, using a miter saw to cut siding like a boss by the end of it! That feeling of empowerment is powerful to not only experience, but to see in others.
At the end of the day, we truly are making a difference in our world. We are helping a family achieve their dream of homeownership, giving them the foundation they need to build a better future for themselves. I remember Ronnisha (last year’s homeowner) telling me that she wanted to show her daughter that where you come from doesn’t dictate where you have to be in life. This year’s homeowner, Andrea, wants to give her daughters a safe haven where she doesn’t have to worry about crime happening right outside of her door. After hearing that, how can you not become invested?! I would urge all women to get involved with Women Build because the experience of giving someone a hand up (not a hand-out!) will stay with you long after the last nail is hammered in, wall is painted and flower is planted. Women rock!