Recognizing Inspiring Women
As stated in The White House proclamation, “Women’s History Month provides an opportunity to honor the generations of trailblazing women and girls who have built our Nation, shaped our progress, and strengthened our character as a people.” San Gabriel Valley Habitat for Humanity (SGV Habitat) will celebrate this month by encouraging supporters to nominate an inspiring woman as part of their upcoming Women Build event.
Since 1991, Women Build has brought women and their allies together to raise funds, recruit their friends and build homes side-by-side with those in need of affordable housing. To date, the Women Build event has helped house families in Glendale, Pasadena, Monterey Park, Baldwin Park, Monrovia, and throughout the San Gabriel Valley through volunteering, donations, and advocacy.
Our goal with Women Build is to empower women to help families build strength, stability and independence. We at Habitat have the ability to provide opportunities for hands-on learning, and given these tools, women can succeed in changing their communities.
To honor Women’s History Month, SGV Habitat is encouraging supporters to share a story about an inspiring woman in your life through our website (https://sgvhabitat.org/unsung-shero/) before May 6. Or, fill out the form below!
Who's Your Unsung #SHEro?
Who has pushed you to achieve the impossible? Who has supported you through challenging times? Share her story with us below to be featured on our social media and blog. Fill out the form below by Friday, May 6, 2022, to be considered.
For more information SGV Habitat Women Build 2022, visit https://sgvhabitat.org/get-involved/womenbuild/
The Unsung #SHEroes of Women Build
All #WomenBuildMonth long, we asked supporters all around San Gabriel Valley to share stories of their unsung #SHEroes. These women inspire them and represent the strength and resilience inside every woman. This blog is a celebration of each and every one of these #SHEroes, and the many women out there like them.
“My mother raised my siblings and me (5 total), by herself. She brought all five of us and 2 more cousins to the United States illegally. My mom cleaned other people’s homes to pay rent, put us through school, and put food on our table. In 1996, my mother was diagnosed with a brain tumor, she was suffering from seizures, she had surgery, recuperated, and continues to thrive. My mother is my inspiration because no matter what life throws at her, she finds the will and strength in her to get through the struggle. My mother has taught me to keep pushing forward no matter what life deals you.”
“Elisabeth (right) works tirelessly, six days a week, to provide opportunities and training to young adults on the autism spectrum in film production/post production, video game design, visual effects, and animation. She is a program supervisor with Actors for Autism. She always shies away from thanks, because in her mind these opportunities and students are worth fighting for and committing time to. THEN, in what little free time she has, she is pursuing a career as an actress. I’m inspired by her commitment and dedication to her craft running so deeply, and she keeps finding more success as she constantly challenges herself to grow her career.
She is welcoming to literally anyone and everyone. She makes people feel at home that might otherwise be alienated. She’s the type of person who would give a homeless person $10 if they ask for change. She tithes 10% of her income to an under-resourced orphanage in Mexico. Additionally, for the orphanage, she has organized clothing and diaper drives, to take down to the orphanage herself. She donates time and money to Mercy for Animals, to help stop animal cruelty. She has volunteered for Camp Del Corazon to help children with heart disease. She basically donates her time and money to more amazing companies and non-profits than I can even think of.”
“Flora is amazing beyond measure! Despite her extremely busy schedule—working more than a handful of jobs, while managing her own freelance businesses, as well as being a full-time bunny mom (just to name a few), she still makes time for her friends and family. There is a saying that goes: “Nobody is ‘too busy’. Rather, they make time for the people they care about.” Flora is the perfect example of this saying because she is always there for everyone, regardless of how hectic her life may be. She timelessly puts others before herself. She never fails to make sure that every single person is well taken care of. Her compassion for helping others is something truly admirable. Anyone who crossed paths with Flora would agree how much brighter their life has gotten because of her words of wisdom and charismatic personality. Even with how brilliant she already is, she eagerly continues to have the desire to learn new things. With that, she has been a great life mentor for myself and many others—all while staying true to herself and being humble.”
“My mother (right) is a selfless and strong woman. Her love for her children and family is incredible. She is a mother to my special needs brother Sebastian Mujica and is constantly looking out for his best interest, fighting for his rights and fair treatment and wants the best for her family.”
“My mom (left) made the most important decision in her life when she decided to become a single mother. Growing up, she made it possible for my brother and I to focuses on our studies, participate in extracurricular activities, while still packing all homemade lunches and giving us a safe place to call home. Raising two kids in a single-parent household was not always easy for her, but she never let anything get in the way of being the best mom, the best example, and the best SHEro she could be. My mom gave, and still continues to give, my brother and I all that she can, even if it means having fewer things for herself. Selfless, hard-working, and strong are the words that come to my mind when I think about my mom. My brother and I are educated, first-generation, Chinese-Americans who are products of a single-mom household. We are living proof that single-moms are strong.”
“Every since I was young, I always wanted to be exactly like my mom (left). Her energy is like nothing else – she is strong, and opinionated, and uses her voice to consistently speak out against injustice and for what she believes in. She is also kind, and thoughtful, and goes out of her way to make everyone feel welcome and included. The joy that she brings into the world is unparalleled and infinite, and I cannot be more thankful to have a woman like her in the world!”
“My mother, Veronica, is most definitely my #SHEro. Throughout her life, she has been dealt a difficult card, from being diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, to breast cancer twice, and so much more, she has kept fighting for her children. Even throughout those difficulties, she always instilled in us the wisdom we needed to succeed. Today, she’s a grandmother, and part of a strong bloodline of “Guerreras” – or female warriors. I could not be prouder of her, the women before her, like my grandmother Josefina, and the women after her, including my sister Vanessa, and nieces, Josefine and Amelia. Each have left and will leave a path for future generations of women to take, and surpass – as they should.”
Virtual Women Build 2020
We are so glad you’re here!
While the pandemic has changed the way we interact, we wanted to make sure the annual Women Build tradition continued. Our theme of resilience is evident in the stories shared during Virtual Women Build this year. Although we gathered remotely, the cause is no different. In fact, it is more important than ever to change the lives of families (and women, who are disproportionately affected by the housing crisis) through homeownership. Today, and every day, you can do your part to make an impact. Continue reading to see how you can make homeownership dreams come true!
Join the Builders’ Club
The Builders’ Club is a passionate and determined group of monthly givers on a mission to end the housing crisis in the San Gabriel Valley region.
As a member, you make a difference all year round. With every monthly donation you make, you alter the trajectory of families’ lives. Increased health, double the chances of attending college, and financial freedom are just a few benefits that your membership brings to families living in the homes your contributions will help build.
Join the Builders’ Club HERE
Visit our ReStores
Our ReStores are more than just a place to find great deals on furniture, appliances, home décor, and building materials. ReStores help local families achieve their dreams of homeownership with San Gabriel Valley Habitat for Humanity. This is what ReStore is all about—building a better community for you and your neighbors through the power of a decent, affordable place to call home. Better yet – you have three ReStores to choose from!
Atwater Village ReStore
Learn more at sgvrestore.org
Share This Page with Your Network
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It’s that simple! Use the donation form below. No matter the amount – you can make an impact in the lives of families today!
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Women Build a Better World Webinar Series
We are excited to announce our 2020 Women Build a Better World Webinar series! We invite you to unpack and explore issues, ideas, stories, and experiences that reflect the resilience and leadership found within each of us as we work together to combat the housing crisis.
Missed one of our Women Build a Better World webinars? Here you can find recordings from webinars past.
Week One – Assemblymember Laura Friedman
Laura Friedman was elected to the California State Assembly in 2016 as the representative for the 43rd Assembly District (Burbank, Glendale, and La Cañada Flintridge, as well as the communities of La Crescenta and Montrose, and the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Atwater Village, Beachwood Canyon, Los Feliz, East Hollywood, Franklin Hills, and Silver Lake).
Last year, AB 587, a bill she introduced, passed with bipartisan support. This legislation gives organizations like SGV Habitat the opportunity to sell deed-restricted land to eligible low-income homeowners in the form of ADUs (accessory dwelling units).
“Affordable housing organizations have been instrumental in opening the door to homeownership for low-income Californians,” said Assemblymember Friedman. “AB 587 gives these organizations and local communities an innovative option that has the potential to double their impact.”
Week Two – Baldwin Park Councilmember Monica Garcia
Councilmember Monica Garcia was first elected to the Baldwin Park City Council in November 2007 and re-elected in 2011 and 2015. She’s honored to represent the City of Baldwin Park – her home for more than 40 years.
As Councilmember, Monica introduced the Domestic Advocate Program which provides assistance to victims of domestic violence by offering legal information, emotional support, and critical resources such as food, basic necessities, and shelter.
Monica earned her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a Minor in Business Administration from the University of Southern California, upon completing her general education at Mt. San Antonio College. She also holds a Master’s in Public Administration from Cal State Long Beach.
Week Three – Assemblywoman Blanca Rubio
Assemblywoman Blanca E. Rubio was elected in November 2016 to represent California’s 48th Assembly District, which includes the cities of Azusa, Baldwin Park, Bradbury, City of Industry, Covina, Duarte, El Monte, Glendora, Irwindale, Monrovia, West Covina, and the San Gabriel Valley unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County, including Bassett, Charter Oak, Citrus, East Arcadia, Ramona, Valinda, and West La Puente.
Blanca has worked tirelessly in the Capitol, placing advocacy for children, women, families, students, and immigrants at the forefront of her work. Since her election in 2016, Blanca has authored bills that support victims of domestic violence, create opportunities for children within the foster care system, ensure our youngest students are given proper support to succeed in school and support for immigrant communities.
Through her work as Chairwoman of the Human Service Committee, Blanca has raised awareness of women’s rights by authoring resolutions that declare August Breast Feeding Awareness Month and October Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
Week Four – Congresswoman Judy Chu
Judy Chu was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in July 2009. She represents the 27th Congressional District, which includes Pasadena and the west San Gabriel Valley of southern California.
Rep. Chu currently serves on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over legislation pertaining to taxes, revenues, Social Security, and Medicare. In that Committee, Rep. Chu is a member of the Subcommittees on Health, giving her oversight over healthcare reform and crucial safety net programs, Worker and Family Support, and Oversight.
She also serves on the House Small Business Committee, which has oversight of the Small Business Administration and is the Chair of the Subcommittee on Investigations, Oversight, and Regulations.
Chu was first elected to the Board of Education for Garvey School District in 1985. From there, she was elected to the Monterey Park City Council, where she served as Mayor three times. She then was elected to the State Assembly and then California’s elected tax board, known as the State Board of Equalization. In 2009, she became the first Chinese American woman elected to Congress in history.
Week Five – Anne Miskey – CEO, Union Station Homeless Services
Anne Miskey serves as Chief Executive Officer of Union Station Homeless Services. She brings extensive knowledge of the issues involved in addressing homelessness, along with the exceptional leadership ability and management skills to guide the organization in the coming years. She has a unique perspective on the role non-profits, governments, and communities can together play in tackling major social problems. But just as important Anne has a deep passion for the organization’s mission: helping people end their homelessness and rebuild their lives.
Prior to this, Anne was the former CEO of the Downtown Women’s Center (DWC) and first-ever Executive Director of Funders Together to End Homelessness. Anne is a nationally recognized expert on strategic, innovative, and effective solutions to ending homelessness. She is a passionate proponent of the most vulnerable in society and of creating long term, positive change, and strong systems that support those experiencing poverty, violence, racism, and homelessness.
Anne has been invited on numerous occasions to speak at the White House in support of different topics including women and youth homelessness and worked on former First Lady Michelle Obama’s Joining Forces Campaign to help veterans. She has worked closely with the federal departments of Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, Veterans Affairs, and the Department of Labor to champion support for vulnerable families and individuals in the areas of housing, health, and employment.
Week Six – Velma de la Rosa- Interim Executive Director, La Casa de San Gabriel Community Center
Velma de la Rosa is the currently the Interim Executive Director of La Casa de San Gabriel Community Center, a public nonprofit dedicated to serving the multi-cultural community of San Gabriel and its surrounding areas.
Velma is a skilled executive with over 20 years of corporate, public and non-profit sector experience developing partnerships, implementing strategic initiatives and innovative programs to address the needs of targeted communities and populations at local, national and global levels. Velma’s unique experience has provided her many opportunities to collaborate across various sectors for the greater good, a greater impact and making communities better. She has built a successful and progressive career through her employment with major utilities such as the City of Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, global corporations such as Citigroup and the TELACU Education Foundation, a national non profit organization.
Velma is active with organizations promoting greater access to education, the advancement of women and families and leadership development. She served on the board of Comisión Femenil de Los Angeles, an organization geared towards the political and economic empowerment of Hispanic women, and the National Latina Business Women Association of Los Angeles, an organization that supports Latinas to develop their business and professional acumens to achieve their career goals. She has also served on the USC Stan Ross Minority Real Estate Finance and Development Program Advisory Council, a program dedicated to preparing members of minority groups in emerging communities to establish a foundation toward becoming leaders in real estate finance and development, and the Hearthstone Housing Foundation Board, a national non-profit dedicated to providing service enriched affordable housing. She has served on the White Memorial Charitable Foundation Board, the Cleft Palate Program Auxiliary Committee and their Gala Host Committee.
She received her Bachelor of Science in Management from Pepperdine University and completed the Stan Ross Minority Real Estate Finance and Development Program with the Lusk Center for Real Estate at USC. Velma is currently a fellow in the Latina Global Executive Leadership Institute at USC.
Velma is a life-long Californian. She is a mother of four young men and a grandmother of two. She lives with her family in Whittier. In her leisure time, she enjoys entertaining family and friends at home, reading and traveling.
Week Seven – Tunua Thrash-Ntuk – Executive DIrector of LISC-LA
A native Angeleno, Tunua Thrash-Ntuk is the Executive Director of Los Angeles Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LA LISC). She is a seasoned community and economic development practitioner of more than 15-years with both non-profit and private sector experiences. Her strengths range from community advocacy to asset and real estate development around neighborhood revitalization. She has already led a number of important urban initiatives in Los Angeles focused on affordable housing and commercial development as well as transit-oriented projects. Prior to joining LISC, Tunua served as Executive Director of West Angeles Community Development Corporation, during her tenure she was responsible for the asset management and oversight of the WACDC real estate portfolio valued at $150 million. Tunua led the growth of WACDC’s real estate portfolio, in part by brokering a breakthrough in the development, construction and opening of West Angeles Plaza, a 24,000 square foot commercial office project.
Tunua serves as a board member or advisory board member to many entities, including Federal Home Loan Bank San Francisco’s Affordable Housing Council, Housing California, City of LA Measure HHH Citizens Oversight Commission, Southern California Edison’s Consumer Advisory Panel, Greenlining Institute, Union Bank’s Community Advisory Board, Frontier Communications Community Advisory Board and the Los Angeles Development Fund, which is the City of Los Angeles’ New Market Tax Credit implementation group. Tunua is a graduate of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where she earned her Master’s in City Planning as well as an alumna of UC Berkeley where she received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies.
Volunteer Spotlight: Justin
Justin (pictured below) is our last volunteer feature for #NationalVolunteerMonth. Born in San Gabriel and raised in Azusa, he has been volunteering with Habitat for over two years!
“I wanted to help local organizations that would affect a greater amount of people. Habitat’s office was just a 3-minute drive from my home! I started helping with clerical work and data entry and have been volunteering there ever since.
“On my first day of volunteering at Habitat, I learned that Habitat builds homes for people in need and bring communities together! Through many programs and events, such as Women Build, there are many opportunities for the community to gather, communicate, and give back.”
He continues to volunteer every few weeks – but why you ask?
“I choose to help others because it makes me so happy to improve or ease someone’s day in any way. I believe that helping others helps us stay connected, and helping out as much as you can brings more joy into the world.
“I think that a safe and stable home is important because it is crucial for one’s mental and physical health. A person needs a safe place to reside and rest at the end of the day. Further, a safe home is especially important for families because it is the place where they grow and create meaningful relationships. A stable home is essential. It offers protection and helps people flourish.
“I encourage everyone, no matter your age, to support Habitat for Humanity by volunteering. There is always something engaging and productive to do, and it is an amazing environment to work in. I know that every task I do when I volunteer will impact so many people. Whether you volunteer in the office or help build a home – there are always friendly people there to assist you. Volunteering at Habitat is always the highlight of my week and I am so glad I get to help this amazing organization.”