One Saturday per month Raritan Valley’s chapter of Habitat For Humanity hosts their well-known Women Build Day at their Bridgewater work site. Six WILD members – Mercedes Contreras, Rebeccah McGettigan, Asiah Dent, Christina Federowski, Jeannesis Rodriguez, and Christine Sinisi and myself rose early to make the trek from Lakewood to Bridgewater at 7:00 AM this past Saturday. What we encountered was an amazing group of women ranging in age from 16 to late 50s, all of whom shared a direct and heartfelt passion for helping others. We learned how to apply aluminum siding and roofing to a house. We learned how to correctly measure wooden planks to complete the building of a shed. We learned how to install bamboo flooring. We learned how to caulk window ledges. And those experiences were great. We joked that we won’t need contractors to make home improvements when we each have our own homes. But there was something more that we each took away from the experience. We sat and spoke to some of the women for whom the houses were being built, listening to the sincere delight in their voices. One woman remembered the exact date, time and place she was when she got the fateful call from Habitat three years ago, telling her that she had been selected for a new home. They were mostly young women with children who are working to make a better life and simply needed a willing and helping hand to do so.
In all of the technical/construction learning that took place, we took away something much deeper. It truly is better to give than to receive. As educated women leaders we will never reach a point in our lives where our help is not needed. It is our duty. No matter how large or small our contribution to humanity we are better women and the world is a better place for it. The seven hours of labor we put in on Saturday day may have left us a bit sore or with an accidentally hammered finger or two (Mercedes), but more importantly it left us with sense of Purpose higher than ourselves.
“…It really was an experience that I will never forget. I had so much fun. Doing something like this to help those families is very rewarding and that at the end of the hard working day you feel good about yourself and the cause you are (helping). Thank you so much for having us there and I can’t wait to go back.”
– Mercedes Contreras – WILD VI
“What I liked most about Women’s Build Day with Habitat for Humanity was being able to work, hands-on with projects I’ve never accomplished before, like cutting, drilling and screwing spindles onto a porch. It was definitely a new experience but well worth it. I loved having the honor of working with the women who were going to be receiving these homes, as well as having the privilege of knowing their heartwarming stories. I learned how important and effective it is to work together for a common goal and how proud one can be of themselves for putting in hard work. The feeling of working on and putting together a house that one day a family will live in is indescribable. This experience allows you to reach out to people in support and physical activity that I cannot wait to take part in again.
– Rebeccah McGettigan – WILD VII
“(We) are God’s hands extended to humanity, His feet driven with a Purpose, His heart with an insatiable need to give, His eyes to see the world and all it holds as it is, His forethought to use (our) gifts to leave this world as it should be… a little bit better.”
– Ashley Hobbs
More photographs of our amazing day with Habitat can be viewed in the Photo Gallery and the WILD Facebook page, www.facebook.com/GCUWILD.