2019 Women Build kicks off in Toledo

Published Tuesday, July 16, 2019

by Chris Arbino

Two organizations are coming together to help those in need.

"It means everything to me, it's a blessing," said future homeowner Russell Smith. 

Lott Industries provides educational and vocational opportunities for people with developmental disabilities.

They've partnered with Maumee Valley Habitat for Humanity to give their employee, Russell, a new home.

"We've known his history, living in apartments that aren't always the best environment," said Tim Menke, CEO of Lott Industries. 

But this project has a twist.

"Think of the term construction worker. What comes to mind? Well, we want to change that," said Michael McIntyre, Executive Director of Maumee Valley Habitat for Humanity.
"Well, you know what, I'm not a skilled person that does any type of demolition work, so not only does it help our community out, but it also gives women a chance to learn some new skills," said Brittany Stahl, a volunteer at the project home. 

Over the next few months, 100 women will don pink hard hats and turn a deteriorating house in Secor Gardens into a new home.

It's part of the 2019 Women Build project that educates, inspires and empower women locally to advocate for decent housing.

"This is the ultimate goal for everyone, home ownership and full community inclusion," Menke said.

And so began a noisy morning in Secor Gardens with women hammering at the ceiling and chipping away the old interior of this home.

"As you look at the shell of it, the block and the brick that exists is really solid, but on the inside, there's been some water damage some other deterioration," explained McIntyre. 

Learning some new skills along the way, while making an impact on the community.

"I decided to help out because Maumee Valley Habitat for Humanity gives a place for women and other people to volunteer and make a difference in our community," Stahl said. 

It's a situation where everyone wins.

"More than anything else, we look forward to seeing Russell move into his new home here in a few weeks," McIntyre said.

The Maumee Valley Habitat for Humanity is looking for several volunteers to help them over the next few months.