Habitat For Humanity’s Women Build Results In Two Homes, More Than $110,000

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Staff report

Local women joined forces to raise more than $110,000 and build two houses during Habitat for Humanity of South Palm Beach County’s Women Build.

Donning pink hard harts, T-shirts and construction gloves, more than 150 women builders came out over three days and six shifts to wield hammers, saw plywood, lift roof trusses, paint picnic tables, assemble benches to create two “Homes That Women Built” in Boynton Beach for two hard-working, low income families.

“While WOMEN BUILD is a national Habitat women volunteer initiative each year held during the days leading up to Mother’s Day, our South Palm Beach County event is a mission-based ‘House That Women Built’ fundraiser,” said HBHSPBC Chief Development Officer Kari Oeltjen. “By creating an empowering, hands-on, ‘out of one’s comfort zone’ experience, donors understand exactly where their dollars are going and how Habitat gives ‘a hand up, not a hand out’ to hardworking families who work to achieve the American Dream of homeownership.”

In addition to the money raised by the Women Builders, more than $50,000 was donated in-kind to support this year’s build event. These include a fun-filled kick-off celebration hosted by Sklar Furnishings, a “Pink Hard Hat Hospitality Tent” catering by Palm Beach Bagel, The Pig Sty (BBQ) and Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza-Delray Beach and culminating with a Sisterhood of the Pink Hard Hat Celebration reception hosted by Oceans 234.

In addition, each woman builder also received a $100 gift card to the beachside Oceans 234 as a thank you for reaching or exceeding their personal goal of raising $1,000 each.

Boca Mayor Susan Haynie led the build as the honorary chair.

“I have never seen such a sea of pink with exhilarating women leadership power running consistently over three full consecutive days on a construction site,” Susan Haynie said. “This distinctive women-only inaugural ‘fun and roof’ raiser is now on the charity season map as a must-do! First hearing the homeowner stories and then working alongside them was not just inspiring but transformational as well.”

Mayor Haynie was joined by other elected officials including Florida State Representative Emily Slosberg and Boca Raton Councilwomen Andrea O’Rourke.

The two homes are sponsored by Broken Sound Club and Universal Property & Casualty Insurance Company.

They were built for Job and Marie Paul/St-Cyr who have three children, two sons Jonathan, age10, and Joshua, age 9, and a daughter Jodemaelle, age 7, who was born with high-functioning Down Syndrome.

This will be the first backyard they have ever had.  Job works in road maintenance at Jorgensen Associates and also for Sunshine Towing as a road ranger. Marie is certified nursing assistant and home health aid with ACTS Retirement Communities in Boca Raton who is pursuing an RN degree.

The other home was build for Luckner and Ketny Callixte whose daughter Nesca, age 8, is a third grader at Pulmosa School of the Arts in Delray Beach. Luckner, who worked to pay for his schooling to receive education in Haiti, first built his mother a safe, secure home there before he moved to the United States in 2006. He does maintenance for Carousel Development and Restoration; Ketny, his wife is a housekeeper at Glen Eagles Country Club for over 11 years.

Build shifts began with a ceremony led by women spiritual leaders, including Reverend Ms. Harris Riordan of Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Boca Raton; Leslie Glickman, Yoga Journey; Maha Alhalabi, Islamic Center of Boca Raton; Rabbi Jessica Spitalnic Brockman, Temple Beth El, Boca Raton and Pastor Sandra Willis, National Church of God who is a Habitat for Humanity homeowner for 20 years who has paid off her mortgage.

To learn more about year ‘round home build sponsorships and events such as WOMEN BUILD, contact Kari Oeltjen, HFHSPBC Chief Development Officer at koeltjen@hfhboca.org or (561) 819-6070.

To learn more about HFHSPBC and its home dedications, events and activities, volunteer opportunities as well as donating to or shopping its home Improvement center thrift shop ReStores in East and West Boca Raton and Delray Beach, visit www.habitatsouthpalmbeach.org.