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Women build houses for Habitat for Humanity

By Bonney Bowman 12:25 PM May 11, 2014
ANCHORAGE –

Construction is typically a job more men take part in, but for one week a year the ladies take over.

It’s the Habitat for Humanity Women Build Week.

Tina Simmons is one of around two dozen women hard at work building homes for Habitat for Humanity. For many of the ladies, it’s their first time doing construction. But for Simmons, this isn’t just a chance to give back to the community.

She’s actually building her own home. It’s one of 23 in the Neighbor Drive project.

“That’s what I like. In the entire world, how many people get to build their home from the ground up? And I just think that’s exciting that you get to help,” Simmons said.

Simmons and the other volunteers are taking down a temporary roof so they can start building the second floor of this duplex.

Organizers say when it’s all women, there’s a different feel to the workday.

“Women bring these fabulous lunches and great snacks for starters. There seems to be a lot more conversation and camaraderie, although men have a great time here too,” Habitat Development Director Kelly Laipenieks said.

Supervisors are on hand, teaching the volunteers how to use tools they might never have held before.

“On a construction site, everything is different from what you might do in your day life so I just think the whole experience of trying new things and learning new skills is what they take away,” Laipenieks said.

Simmons’s house is next to the one she’s working on today. She says seeing her neighborhood, and new home, take shape is an amazing feeling.

“That’s when I’ll probably cry because I didn’t cry when I found out about the Habitat home. They said I was the only one that didn’t cry. I was just in shock but I know I’m going to cry when I walk through those doors,” Simmons said.

She is hoping to move into her new home in June.

Habitat leaders say the whole 23 home Neighbor Drive project should be complete by the end of 2015.

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