Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

May 5, 2014

Women come together for Habitat build

By Mike Fletcher
Kokomo Tribune

— Working for the Habitat for Humanity for several years has taught Kyle Malone a little about building a home.

“I’ve done siding, roofing, painting, sawing — I’ve learned how to do about everything,” Malone said outside her future home, a three-bedroom, two-story house on North Wabash Avenue.

“It will be helpful for me in the future so I will be able to do some of these things myself,” she said of the construction skills she’s acquired.

Malone, a volunteer herself at last year’s Women’s Build on Apperson Way North, has volunteered more than 250 hours for Habitat for Humanity, which is the requirement for applying for a house.

With Malone’s assistance, 28 women and five men, pounded hammers, put up siding, put in plumbing and wiring in hopes of completing the remodel as part of this year’s Women’s Build sponsored by Lowe’s.

“I’m very exciting to see the community come together and work so hard,” she said.

“We’re all excited and ready to move in,” she said of her and her two kids.

“My 4-year-old realizes what’s going on and is anxious and excited to move in. She keeps saying, ‘can we move in yet?’”

Mark Sloss, executive director for Habitat for Humanity, said they started the remodel in September, but due to harsh winter, the job is taking more time than expected.

Sloss said while most of the women are new to construction, several of the women completed a workshop through Lowe’s to teach them about safely operating power tools.

“They’re looking forward to getting out and living on their own,” Sloss said of Malone and her two kids.

Ashley Shanks, one of a group of women from the Gilead House, was hard at work sawing trimming for the siding on the outside of the master bedroom.

“It’s fun,” she said. “It’s not hard. It’s important to give back if I have the ability.”

Jenni Mykkacen, who spearheaded the Gilead House effort, was excited to be involved in the build.

“This is our second year. We love it. It’s empowering to be contributing back to society. Most of us don’t know what we’re doing, but we’re trying,” she said. “We’re getting us out of our comfort zone. The guys put up with us and are tolerant.”

The local group is one of more than 300 Habitat affiliates nationwide hosting Women Build projects with the support of Lowe’s, Habitat’s longtime partner in the event.

National Women Build Week, May 3 to 11, challenges women to devote at least one day to building simple, decent and affordable housing in their local communities. More than 52,000 women volunteers from all 50 states have participated in previous years. To date, women volunteers have helped construct more than 2,200 Habitat houses nationwide. Kokomo Habitat has built three Women Build houses, Sloss said.

Along with the North Wabash build, volunteers also were finishing up a second build at 1411 Apperson Way North and have broken ground on an Apostles Build at 1921 S. Bell St.

An Apostles Build brings together churches ideally 12 for the 12 apostles, to build a house in partnership with Habitat for Humanity and a partner family. Churches provide funding, volunteers, and lots of prayer for the project. Habitat selects the partner family, building lot, and provides construction oversight.

Sloss said 10 congregations have committed themselves to this year’s Apostles Build project. Single mother, Rachael Lisby, has been selected as the partner family to purchase the home with a no interest 15-year mortgage for the cost of the construction. Rachael looks forward to the day when she will move from a cramped apartment into a home where her three children can grow and flourish, Sloss said.

Volunteers from Bible Baptist, Christ Lutheran, First Church of God, First Church of the Nazarene, First Congregational, Oakbrook Community, Macedonia Christian, Chapel Hill Christian, St. Joan of Arc and St. Patrick congregations are participating in the 2014 Apostles Build. The initial framing day, when the sound of hammers will be heard on South Bell Street is scheduled for July 12.

Mike Fletcher can be reached at 765-454-8565 or mike.fletcher@kokomotribune.com.