Mrs. Tennessee America Cheryl Brehm and Lowe’s Heroes employee volunteers were among more than 50 volunteers to join Habitat for Humanity Williamson-Maury on Saturday, May 2 to help build affordable housing in Williamson County in recognition of National Women Build Week, May 2-10.

Volunteers installed siding on the affiliate’s sixth annual Women Build home, located in Fairview’s Brandenburg Subdivision. This five-bedroom home is being built in partnership with future homeowner Jennifer Aric. Jennifer is the caregiver for seven of her young children who still live at home, including a son and daughter who each have a disability. Julia has epilepsy, and Isaiah has been diagnosed with osteogenesis imperfecta (“brittle bone” disease). Isaiah uses a wheelchair, so his home has been designed with ADA modifications that will make everyday tasks easier and safer for him and his family. The home will be completed and dedicated on June 20, 2015.

Jennifer and her family have been renting a mold-infested apartment for the last nine years. “I would spray the walls down with bleach, but it always came back.” When the apartment was foreclosed upon, she reached out to Habitat for Humanity Williamson-Maury. “I really never thought I would own a house. It means so much to me to know that no matter what happens to me, Isaiah will have a home. It is stability.”

Mrs. Tennessee America 2015 Cheryl Brehm has been volunteering with Habitat for the last four years. For her, the Women Build is more than just giving back to the community. “I love seeing women helping other women,” she explains. “There’s something really special about getting a bunch of women together who don’t even know each other. There is a real camaraderie.” Brehm is still friends with ladies she met on her first build.

This is the first Women Build for volunteer Dana Hardy. She and several friends from Westhaven have come together to form the WesthavenWomen for Women Build with the goal of providing enough volunteers and monetary support to sponsor 1 of the 10 build days. The group has already raised $5,880 of their $7,000 goal through the fundraising efforts of 30 volunteers and two generous $1000 donations – one from the Westhaven Foundation and one from The Southern Land Company.

“This has been on my bucket list for some time,” Dana notes. “This experience has been a great way to get our neighborhood engaged, and we want to make it a yearly event.”

National Women Build Week is a weeklong event created by Habitat for Humanity’s Women Build program that challenges women to devote at least one day to help build affordable housing in their local communities. Across the nation, more than 15,000 women are expected to volunteer at Habitat construction sites this week to spotlight the homeownership challenges faced by women.

Lowe’s helped launch National Women Build Week in 2008 and each year provides the support of Lowe’s Heroes and conducts how-to clinics at stores to teach volunteers construction skills.

“National Women Build Week has made a difference in the lives of thousands of families since its inception,” said Joan Higginbotham, Lowe’s director of community relations. “We’re grateful to all the women in Williamson County who got involved this week and were part of something bigger with Lowe’s and Habitat.”

Lowe’s donated nearly $2 million to this year’s National Women Build Week, including a $5,000 store credit to Habitat for Humanity Williamson-Maury. National Women Build Week is one of the major initiatives supported through Lowe’s national partnership with Habitat for Humanity.Since 2003, Lowe’s has committed more than $63 million to Habitat and helped more than 4,000 families improve their living conditions.

Habitat’s Women Build program recruits, educates and inspires women to build and advocate for simple, decent and affordable homes in their communities. Since the program was created in 1998, more than 2,300 homes have been built in partnership with low-income families using Women Build crews.

For more information on Habitat for Humanity’s Women Build program and to learn about Women Build events in communities across the U.S. year-round, visit Habitat.org/wb

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