Women Renovate a Home and Strengthen Community at She Builds 2017

On Saturday, April 29, 2017, Rebuilding Together Montgomery County’s kicked off its inaugural She Builds event with a talented crew of female volunteers that worked tirelessly to repair the home of Ms. Belay, a mom, 1st generation American and an engaged community member.

“She Builds” is part of Rebuilding Together’s national effort to bring together female business leaders and volunteers to support the most vulnerable populations of female homeowners in our nation.  According to USAID, programs that provide women opportunities to better their family’s health, education and shelter, have effects far beyond a single individual.  In fact, USAID reports a woman multiplies the impact of an investment made in her future by extending the benefits to her community 3-fold.

Through She Builds, RTMCs work with our partners and volunteers to provide critical home repairs to women-owned households and facility improvements for nonprofits that provides services to low income women in need.  She Builds events are organized by women, executed by women and benefit the entire community. Designed to highlight the unique strengths that women in our communities bring to ensuring fair and affordable housing for all, She Builds

In order to cover the costs of repairs made to Ms. Belay’s home, She Builds volunteers contacted friends, neighbors, social media network, etc. in a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign.  Through their efforts, the team raised $4,505 with donations still coming in!

On project day, House Captain, Ms. Jodi Longo, was instrumental in ensuring that tasks were properly executed.  Jodi, owner of the full-service construction company Renovation Studio, was a perfect fit for the job.  House Ambassador, Tara Murayama, helped make sure everything went smoothly and Ms. Belay’s needs were met to the best of our abilities, while crew leaders Sherry Kissal, Marion Coleman, Susan Prather, and Kathy Narva led groups of volunteers in providing hands-on “how to” information for each task.  These women leaders proved invaluable to the project which simply could not have been completed without their help.

Students from the Woods Academy worked on landscaping the front and back yards.  Attorneys and friends from Birchstone Moore helped sand the deck to prepare it for staining, while another group ov volunteers removed broken, rotted lattice from underneath the deck.  Inside, women painted Ms. Belay’s living room.

The afternoon volunteers demolished a rotting and unsafe backyard shed, continued landscaping, finished sanding the deck and completed interior painting. Carolina Menor, Colleen Lee, Janet Demas and several others provided delicious breakfast, snacks, and lunch to nourish everyone throughout the day.

The day ended with lots of hugs and group photos of tired but satisfied volunteers, as well as tea and cake provided by a very appreciative homeowner!  Already, Jodi Longo and RTMC staff are excited to plan for next year’s She Builds!

A heartfelt THANK YOU to the amazing volunteers who came out to lend a hand to a neighbor in need — your work is invaluable, appreciated and something to be proud of.

For information on how to get involved in a future She Builds event, please contact Melissa Erickson, Development and Communications Manager at 301-947-9400, x105 or at merickson@rebuildingtogethermc.org.