Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Women Get Project under Way Volunteers Will Help Habitat Build Home

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Women Get Project under Way Volunteers Will Help Habitat Build Home

Article excerpt

More than 70 women from varied backgrounds joined forces with Clay County Habitat for Humanity last weekend to learn some important tips they will use to build a home for a single mother and her four small children. The volunteers, part of the organization's Women Build Project, gathered at Orange Park Town Hall to attend all-day sessions in handling power and hand tools, framing, siding and shingling.

After completing the Construction 101 course, they put their skills to the test by building a playhouse that will be raffled off by the organization in September.

The money will be used to help build a home for Terry Smith-Brown, the first home in the new Woodpecker Cove subdivision off County Road 220 in Doctor's Inlet.

"I am elated and overwhelmed by the number of women interested in helping me build my home," said Smith-Brown, who has never owned a home. "Watching them work and knowing they support me makes me very emotional. It truly brings tears to my eyes."

The volunteers, many of whom had never even hammered a nail into a piece of lumber, surprised each other with their willingness to do whatever was necessary to get the project under way.

"No one was standing around and just watching," said Lori O'Donoghue, 43, a fourth-grade teacher at Paterson Elementary School. "Everyone jumped right in and started working together. We all learned a lot in a short period of time and there was something for everyone to do."

"I had never done any building before and now I can use an electric saw, a drill, and drive a nail straight into a piece of wood and pull it out," said Eagle Harbor resident Claudia Scott. "I recently turned 50 and I decided I needed to learn to do something out of the comfort zone. The things I learned this past weekend not only helps me, but it will help someone else."

Judith Jackson, 60, who has been a Habitat volunteer for six years, said a lot of women don't realize what they can do until they give it a try.

"What my dad didn't teach me about building, I learned myself," said Jackson. …

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