'Women Build Week' celebrated

By Corey Pride / Cpride@losbanosenterprise.comMay 10, 2013 

SOUTH DOS PALOS -- Habitat Westside is using the week of Mother's Day to empower women.

The local chapter of Habitat for Humanity is joining with the national organization and its partnership with Lowe's to celebrate National Women Build Week.

On Tuesday Habitat Westside members and 17 female volunteers spent six hours on Lexington Avenue in South Dos Palos rehabilitating a former thrift store that was converted into a home. Saturday the group will be back at the location and a second Habitat home on Sixth Street in South Dos Palos as part of the Women Build event.

This is the second year Habitat Westside has participated in National Women Build Week. Last year, however, there was only one day of construction. Ashlee Williams, Habitat Westside's development and operations manager, said her group expanded this year to reach more people.

"We wanted to give people an option to come out on a day that was not a weekend. We just wanted to multiply the number of women out on the construction site," Williams said.

On Tuesday, volunteers did electrical work, installed insulation and hung drywall. Some demolition was also involved in the project.

Lowe's sent employees from its Gilroy store to assist. Some Habitat Westside members also gave the ladies quick tutorials on how to use power tools and perform necessary repairs.

Vicky Solis of Head Start and a handful of her employees attended the Women Build event.

"Habitat is a resource that we use for our families," Solis said.

She said being part of Women Build allows the Head Start employees to learn skills and information that they can tell parents about.

Veronica Mercado said she wanted to attend because it's good to help people in need.

"I think it's great," she said. "There are a lot of single mothers and single fathers, they don't have the money to do all this stuff. We're helping the ones in need."

Williams said Lowe's in Gilroy also delivered a large donation of miniblinds to Habitat Westside during Tuesday's event. She said they will be sold to the public at Habitat's ReStore in Los Banos.

Williams said the home rehabilitations in South Dos Palos are part of a larger neighborhood revitalization project by Habitat in the area.

"The families in the community that have invited us in, initiating rehabs in their own homes. We're looking at creating a domino effect throughout the community," she said. "This community has been hit hard by economic and social issues and it deserves a little bit of support."

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