The cornerstone of Habitat for Humanity’s ability to build affordable housing is the community of dedicated volunteers who come together for the purpose of helping elevate the lives of hard-working families. April is National Volunteer Month, a dedicated time we celebrate the volunteers who spend countless hours helping families in their community realize the American dream of homeownership. This act of generosity was on full display recently at Women Build 2023. The rain and cold weather did not deter the volunteers whose smiles, and enthusiasm brightened the cloudy day.
Women Build launched the beginning of a new future for Geraldo, Brenda and their 3 children, a hard-working family who will be the future homeowners of the house constructed during this years Women Build. Brenda and Geraldo worked side-by side the other volunteers building their future home. With every Habitat home, future homeowners contribute volunteer hours called “sweat equity.” A total of 250 hours per adult in the household are required as part of SGV Habitat’s homeownership program.
Due to the rain, Women Build was held inside SGV Habitat’s new ReStore in Pasadena (which will open May 20, 2023). The space provided a welcoming environment to build, bond in fellowship, and celebrate the empowerment of women and the spirt of volunteerism. Volunteers framed all the walls that will go up in Altadena and began renovations on the ReStore building.
SGV Habitat Women Build was supported by sponsors, East West Bank, C.W. Driver Companies, Traveler’s Insurance, Stanley Black & Decker, PFARIA, Pasadena Tournament of Roses, and Honeybee Robotics. During the event our in-kind sponsors sustained the hard-working volunteers with generous donations provided by The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, Altadena Grocery Outlet, Holistic Bodywork by Ibrahim, Sparkletts, Perry’s Joint, and Hart House
The event showcased incredible volunteers, many of whom worked on the recently completed Howard Navarro homes, in Pasadena. Several regular volunteers and past homeowners were honored as they took on the role of construction leads, guiding groups of volunteers as they built the frames for the walls that will provide the beginning stages of the Olive home. Elizabeth and Ofelia are two of those construction leaders and SGV Habitat homeowners who proudly volunteer to help uplift future SGV Habitat homeowners.
“Without you, (the volunteers and donors), without your generosity and giving back, it would not be possible for me and my family to be here today as homeowners” says Elizabeth, the newest SGV Habitat homeowner, as she shared her journey.
One of the many volunteers, was actress, model, and philanthropist Keni Silva who joined in on the Women Build efforts working alongside volunteers as she drilled, hammered, and painted, providing words of praise for the efforts and achievements of the volunteers.
Ofelia, a SGV Habitat homeowner, spoke of her mother’s resilience taking care of 8 children as a single mother and how growing up, the family would be forced to move every 2 years due to rent increases.
“I went to 8 different schools growing up, and moved 12 times,” Ofelia shared. “I wanted to do better for my kids. I never quit, and I never gave up,” she continued. “Because of Habitat, my kids were able to stay in the same school, develop and keep friendships, and have a stable environment.”
Ofelia’s son joined her as a volunteer at Women Build. He is paying it forward remembering all the volunteers who helped build his home. Subsequently, he joined a union working in the field of construction. His goal is to one day work for Habitat for Humanity.
Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger, serving LA’s 5th district, spoke to volunteers on Saturday, lending her ear and support for more affordable homeownership in LA County and praising the volunteers for their hard work.
“Tackling complex issues — like offering affordable homeownership in Los Angeles County — takes a village, no one person can do it alone. That sense of community and partnership was on full display today,” says Barger.
This event marks the first home build in Altadena and one of the many projects that is slated to start construction this year. When these projects are complete, they are projected to serve 39 hard working families helping them realize the dream of homeownership. To complete these developments, SGV Habitat will need approximately 40 volunteers per day for several of the projects. “We rely on our volunteers to help us build,” says Brian Stanley, SGV Habitat Director of Construction Development. “Their time and energy are a tremendous value to our organization and the result of their efforts is life changing for families in our community.”
Future homeowner Brenda felt overwhelmed with gratitude with the participation of volunteers who enthusiastically came to build her future home. “Becoming a homeowner means security and stability for our family’s future,” says Brenda. “Our family of 5 currently lives in a one bedroom, one bath apartment,” she explained. “Our kitchen is too small for a table to hold our entire family so the kids eat in the living room and Geraldo and I eat in the kitchen. I look forward to the day, where we can all eat together around the dining room table,” she said with a hopeful smile.
Sponsorship and volunteer opportunities are available for the Olive Ave. home and for upcoming projects. Volunteers are encouraged to visit www.sgvhabitat.org to learn more and to sign up to receive emails regarding available volunteer days. For additional questions about volunteering, please contact Tywanna Hill at email@example.com
For sponsorship opportunities, please contact Shannon Castro at firstname.lastname@example.org.