42 www.Char l e s tonWomenPodcas t . com | www.ReadCW. com | www. Ins t ag ram. com /Char l e s tonWomen Every February Dorchester Habitat for Humanity hosts a special project called Women Build. Throughout the month, some 300 female volunteers gather to build a home for a hardworking single mother in Summerville. The project encourages women to gain construction experience while helping a family change their lives in incredible ways. “These homes are built by women, for a woman,” said Moriah Hollander, director of marketing and development for Dorchester Habitat for Humanity. “We build five homes each year, but each year this build in particular feels really special. It’s a chance for women to learn construction skills and participate in giving back to the community and to one of their own.” THE NONPROFIT You’ve probably heard of Habitat for Humanity, a global nonprofit with a presidential connection. Launched in 1976 by Millard and Linda Fuller, the couple had a vision of building simple, solid houses for lowincome families using volunteer labor and donations. In the 1980s, former President Jimmy Carter helped shine a light on the organization by developing the Jimmy Carter Work Project, an annual week-long effort to build Habitat houses all over the world. There are now over 1,400 Habitat for Humanity affiliates worldwide, including five in the Charleston area. They build homes for deserving families who might not otherwise ever experience homeownership. Dorchester Habitat for Humanity, currently in its 30th year, has built 75 homes for families in and around the Summerville area. When you consider that it takes roughly 2,000 volunteer hours and nearly $100,000 to complete each home, that’s a remarkable output. Habitat homeowners go through a strenuous prequalification process to ensure they’re willing to put in the work and have the capacity to pay their mortgage, which averages about $650 a month. They commit to providing 400 of their own hours building their homes. Each home is truly a collaboration between Habitat and the future homeowner. THE SKILLS Anytime you volunteer for a Habitat for Humanity project, you’re exposed to the nitty-gritty of the construction lifestyle. Hollander laughed, “You’ll get really dirty, and you’ll pick up those skills. You’ll be sore the next day.” Skills learned can include framing, hanging sheetrock, painting, laying floors and even installing trim. This makes a project like Women Build even more exciting. All of the volunteers are women, and it can kickstart their future DIY endeavors. They’ll typically work on a single task throughout their shift, becoming masters of their new craft. “People really love working and learning with Hard Hats and Helping Hands Team of women build dream home BY LEAH RHYNE Charleston Women in Business A f ew of t he a l l -women volunt ee r s g rab a f un photo op at recent bu i l d.