Epic Cardio & Strength Workout, Best In Three Months!!

Ronnie is on the Board of Directors for the local Habitat For Humanity organization. Today they had their annual Women’s Empowerment (WE) Build in which they had a lot of homebuilding-related construction activity set up to allow women to get out there and hammer, saw, assemble, build, and paint.

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It was a big gathering at College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita, nearly 250 volunteers strong, building fencing panels, fence gates, garden planter boxes, and more for the homes that Habitat is building for low-income veterans and their families.

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We all started the day (after getting our shirts and pink hard hats) with some breakfast, speeches from the day’s guests and hosts, a safety briefing, and a chance to buy some raffle tickets for the dozen or so gift and trip packages that had been donated. Then it was time to get to work!

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The pro contractors and builders who are the job leaders had set up some ingenious jigs enabling volunteers to use standard-sized lumber stock (donated by Home Depot) to easily assemble and build (above top) large outdoor fencing panels which could then be painted (above bottom, with Ronnie wielding a paint brush).

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Other building pros and project leaders gave women lessons on the use of drills, table saws, and chop saws. Once lumber was cut, jigs were there to assemble the cut lumber pieces into fence gates (above top) and planter boxes (above bottom).

A goal of the WE Build is to provide “an opportunity for women to learn construction techniques in a supportive environment”, while also giving volunteers a chance to help build homes for low-income families. In the case of the San Fernando / Santa Clarita Valleys chapter of Habitat, the communities being built are for low-income families of veterans  (87 in Santa Clarita and 12 in Sylmar).

At lunch there were three great speakers talking about their experiences as women in non-traditional roles. Millie Diaz Taylor is a WW2 veteran from the WAVES, and she was completely feisty and entertaining. (Good thing I’m married, Millie’s a hoot!) Lindsay Rhodes is an NFL Network reporter and host, speaking about being a woman in a predominantly male field. Dr. Sharon Langenbeck was a project manager at JPL for 18 yeas after being the first female Mechanical Engineering Ph.D. from the University of Misouri, and among other things, her teams built Spirit and Opportunity.

As a volunteer, I think it’s wonderful how the local community supports Habitat and their efforts. The food for the day was donated by Maria’s Italian Kitchen, Dink’s New York Diner, Salt Creek Grill, and Kokalita. Lumber and supplies were donated by Home Depot and Lowes. The tent and facilities were donated by SCV Rental Center, and Burrtec donated the trash bins and removal. Kaiser Permanente donated sunscreen. Entertainment was provided by local radio station KHTS. The site for the work was donated by College of the Canyons. And, of course, hundreds of volunteers donated their day and their sweat.

And where did my sweat and epic workout come in? While the WE Build is designed as a huge opportunity for women, men are welcome as well. But the simple fact is that only about 10% of the volunteers at the WE Build are men, with women doing 99% of the building, nailing, sawing, assembly, and painting. The men are there to say “Yes, Ma’am!  I can do that!”, assist when needed and do the heavy lifting, hauling materials around, moving partially finished products from assembly to painting, and in the end putting the finished products on trucks for transport.

My arms and back got a workout like I haven’t gotten in quite a while. Those fencing panels must weigh well over 100 pounds, and the planters are even heavier. And we lifted a hundred or more of them over and over and over…

I feel like the proverbial “rented mule”. But in a good way.

I’m going to see if I can stay awake thorough the Kings’ hockey game tonight. GO KINGS!

1 Comment

Filed under Habitat For Humanity, Ronnie

One response to “Epic Cardio & Strength Workout, Best In Three Months!!

  1. Ronnie

    Thank you dear. A job well done. Both labor and literary


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