Women build to help Habitat families in national event

MEDFORD, Ore.– This week is the 11th annual National Women Build Week and across the nation all-women construction volunteers are coming together to support their local communities. The initiative was created in a partnership between Habitat for Humanity and Lowe’s.

At the Rogue Valley Habitat for Humanity, you can here the sounds of progress. Saws buzzing, drills screeching and the laughter of volunteers enjoying a sunny Saturday while getting to build something special.

Over the past five weeks, women from across the Rogue Valley have been taking part in “how-to” clinics at Lowe’s.

Saturday, over 30 volunteers gathered at Habitat for Humanity to put their new skills to the test.

“This has been really fun, working with the women to build projects for homes that are in the area and really a little bit more interactive than in the past,” said Rebekah Hicks, store manager at the Medford Lowe’s. “So this year has been really exciting.”

From beginners to masters, volunteers learned how to make a variety of furnishings that will be used to benefit a local Habitat family. For some of the new volunteers, it was a great experience.

“You’re not judged for not knowing how to do stuff and here everybody has been so wonderful and open,” said Monica Diebold. “Just giving me the opportunity to use a saw, to learn how to use a jig, to measure things.”

Volunteers were able to pick up home skills such as insulation, framing and sheet rocking. They’ll put them to use later when building a house for a Habitat family.

Diebold, who participated in the event for the first time, says it’s something everyone should try.

“It’s an amazing cause. It’s really wonderful to be able to do that and to help and I encourage everybody to come out and try this,” she said. “Even if you’ve never picked up a tool or some of them seem scary, there’s no judgement here.”

For Diebold, one of the most important things she’s gotten out of this is the ability and confidence to make something on her own.

“Just to get an opportunity to do it. I think it’s important to give women these opportunities so they can decide for themselves if they like to do it,” she said. “They might not but that’s OK you always have to give something a try.”

It’s estimated nearly 100,000 women from across the country have participated in this initiative over the last decade.

NBC5 News Reporter Miles Furuichi graduated from Chapman University with degrees in English and Journalism. He received post graduate experience in Los Angeles in photojournalism and commercial photography. He also spent time in Dublin, Ireland working in print journalism and advertising.

Miles is a Rogue Valley native, raised in Ashland. He enjoys hiking, mountain biking and photography.

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