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WE Build event exceeds goals

Women use hammers, power tools and paintbrushes to help veterans

Posted: May 18, 2013 10:35 p.m.
Updated: May 18, 2013 10:35 p.m.

Some of the 239 women participants of the WE Build event held at College of the Canyons in Valencia carry sections of fencing they have assembled for 10o Habitat for Humanity homes on Saturday. Photo by Dan Watson/The Signal.

 

The Women Empowerment Build for Habitat for Humanity San Fernando/Santa Clarita Valleys attracted a sold-out crowd Saturday.

Chairwoman Cheri Fleming said the event also exceeded fundraising expectations.

"We had a goal to raise $40,000 and we raised just under $46,000," she said.

Fleming described the experience as "empowering."

"It was a great hands-on experience," Fleming said. "We got to use our hands and build elements of this veterans community that will be built here in the Santa Clarita Valley."

Participants built elements that will be used in the 87-home veterans community to be constructed off Centre Pointe Parkway in Santa Clarita and a 12-home veterans community in Sylmar.

"This was a great way to honor female veterans, as well as wives and widows of United States veterans," said Fleming.

Participants paid $35 a person to attend the event and each received a pink hard hat and a T-shirt.

They also received lunch which included inspirational speakers, including Millie Diaz Taylor, a WWII Navy nurse.

Fleming said women worked with power tools, hammers and paintbrushes and completed $26,000 in "elements" that will be used during community construction.

"There was a real, physical outcome. The work produced today would have cost $26,000 if done by a contractor," she said. "When the event started all you could hear was pounding of nails and power saws and painting."

The "enriched" veterans communities are designed not just to provide housing, but also to include specific services to address the needs of veterans.

Services will include connecting families with other organizations, social services and non-profits who provide financial literacy workshops, health education and screenings, homework help for children, computer training, PTSD counseling and veteran-specific services.

Applications for this low-income veteran specific community are still being accepted, said Fleming.

Among the items produced by women participating in today’s project were lengths of fencing, a number of gates and community garden boxes.

"It was a wonderful day of empowering women to get a big job done for the beginning of our Habitat for Heroes community we’re building in the SCV," she said.

For more information visit www.humanityca.org or call 818-884-8804.

mbuttelman@signalscv.com

661-287-5590

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