Women bring own style to Habitat home build
By VIC RYCKAERT The Indianapolis Star September 11, 2013 3:00PM
In this Aug. 14, 2013, photo, Habitat for Humanity of Johnson County members break ground on their 12th home_with an all-female construction crew_ in Franklin, Ind. A couple hundred Johnson County women teamed up to raise money and will begin constructing the Habitat for Humanity house Thursday, Sept. 12 with their own style and flair. (AP Photo/The Indianapolis Star, Doug McSchooler)
GREENWOOD (AP) — A couple hundred Johnson County women have teamed up to raise a wheelbarrow-load of cash and will begin constructing a Habitat for Humanity house Thursday with their own style and flair.
The all-female construction crew on Habitat for Humanity of Johnson County’s first-ever Women Build will don their pink hard hats and fire up the power tools to begin building a home in Franklin.
It will take about six weeks for 240 women volunteers to help build a 1,200-square-foot ranch that will become home to Brandy Shockley and her daughters, Shyann, 3, and Addison, 7.
The women have raised about $85,000, more than any other Johnson County Habitat project, Board President Melodie Yarnell told The Indianapolis Star.
“We are just very thrilled with the success we’ve had with this build,” Yarnell said. “To see the effort and excitement they’ve had for this project has just been heartwarming.”
Everything about this project has a touch of feminine class. Some teams raised money by organizing spa days, bake sales or selling candles. The ladies wear matching pink shirts and hard hats.
Crews using shovels artfully decorated with paint, flower patterns, zebra stripes and ribbon broke ground on the county’s 12th Habitat home in August. Experienced builders will oversee the construction but the women will do the work.
Kim Childers picked up a power saw and nail gun for the first time during a recent training session for the volunteers at the Lowe’s in Franklin.
“It was a little scary, but the more you used them you got a little more comfortable,” said Childers, who is leading a construction team of 10 co-workers from Mutual Savings Bank in Franklin.
Childers and her crew are first to start the work and will put in a full day on Thursday. She expects they will fasten and install the 2-by-4 studs that will become the walls of the home.
“We’re going to get right in the thick of things,” Childers said.
Childers said the women take special pride in learning new skills while busting stereotypical gender roles.
“It’s kind of empowering to use the power tools and be able to do this as women coming together,” Childers said.
Habitat for Humanity of Johnson County has built 11 other homes in Greenwood, Franklin and Edinburgh since its launch in 2007.
The organization does not just give away houses. There’s a lengthy application process and prospective homeowners must invest hundreds of hours of “sweat equity” into the construction.
Habitat families attend classes in finances, budgeting and home maintenance.
Homeowners also pay a mortgage — a no-interest loan that must be repaid within 20 years.
Shockley, the 30-year-old mother who will live in the new house at 250 W. Adams St., said the experience has been humbling.
“It just blows my mind all this work that these women have done,” said Shockley, a phlebotomist at Johnson Memorial Hospital.
“They’re moms and wives. I know they are busy,” she said. “For them to take all this time and do all this work for a woman and two kids they don’t even know, it’s just awesome.”