15,000 Women Kick Off Mother's Day Weekend by Helping to Build Affordable Housing

Mother's Day is a time reserved for honoring our mothers and reflecting on the influence that mothers have on our society. But for the Habitat for Humanity family, Mother's Day takes on a particularly special meaning. Every year in the week leading up to this special occasion, we hold our National Women Build Week event in partnership with Lowe's. Thousands of women from across the United States come together and devote at least one day to help build affordable housing in their local communities.

National Women Build Week is an important event that raises awareness for an often overlooked issue: that women and children are disproportionally affected by the effects of poverty housing. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 14.7 million children are living in poverty in the U.S. with nearly 46 percent of these children residing with women heads-of-household. These women understand more than most that housing is at the center of all of our lives. They need our help so that they can raise their families in a safe, decent and affordable home.

Together with Lowe's, Habitat for Humanity launched National Women Build Week in 2008. Every year at build sites across the country, Habitat volunteers and Lowe's employees work together to build or renovate homes. Lowe's also conducts how-to clinics at its stores to teach volunteers construction skills. The home improvement retailer also provides much needed financial support to Habitat affiliates participating in the program.

Since the program began, more than 2,300 Women Build houses have been built by all-women construction crews. In addition, more than 62,000 women from all 50 states have volunteered at National Women Build Week events. This year, we had approximately 15,000 women in more than 300 different communities volunteer to help families realize the dream of homeownership.

Tara Young is one such woman who will volunteer this year with Habitat for Humanity Greater Los Angeles. She is a single mother and preschool teacher from Long Beach, California, who worked with Habitat to purchase a home for herself and her family. Prior to moving into her new Habitat home, Tara and her two children were living at her sister's apartment, as she did not qualify for a traditional mortgage. Through Habitat LA's comprehensive homeownership education program, Habitat families like Tara are well-prepared to be successful homeowners.

Today, she and her family have a safe and comfortable place to live in her own community. And today on Mother's Day, she will be accompanied by her daughter for the first time to volunteer at a National Women Build Week event in Los Angeles to help give others the same supportive "hand up" she received.

With Women Build events taking place throughout the year, I encourage to contact your local Habitat for Humanity affiliate to find out about projects happening near you. With your hands and hearts, we can work to fight poverty housing.