June Community Spotlight: Indy Women Build – Greater Indy Habitat for Humanity
In 2019, IDO Incorporated, also known as The Dream Builders, participated in our first Indy Women Build in partnership with the Greater Indy Habitat for Humanity. Women Build is a program where women from all walks of life come together to raise funds and physically build a home (or two) – from start to finish – for local families in need. Hundreds of volunteers are needed for the build. The construction process begins in May and concludes in July when the home is officially bequeathed to the new homeowners. Over the past eight years, Women Build has built 10 much-needed homes for 10 amazing families and raised over 1 million dollars to support the mission of Habitat.
This annual event is near and dear to our hearts at IDO as we are a certified Women-Owned Business (WBE) and it relates directly to our Core Value of “Connectedness”. This event certainly connects many people in many ways! Women Build connects us as a team, connects us to the families these homes are built for, and connects us to our community through volunteerism. We are proud to wear our t-shirts and display our water bottle stickers not only because this is a program supporting women, but it also supports revitalizing our community one (or two) houses at a time. Revitalization, as interior designers, is engrained in our DNA.
Many of us take this day to stand side-by-side with the families building their homes and learn new skills (or try new power tools) that stretch us beyond our comfort zone. The homeowners are just as much like our teammates and friends as our fellow IDO-ers. Over the past four years, we have framed homes, installed Tyvek, installed windows, installed hardware & finishes, installed closet systems, installed kitchen & bathroom furniture, installed trim & molding, installed landscaping, crawled into crawl spaces to weatherproof the foundation, caulked, cut & installed siding, painted walls & doors, and believe us…the list goes on. Although our team spends just one day onsite, the Habitat staff and Women Build committee members work year-round to ensure a successful build and experience for all of their volunteers.
What is the Indy Women Build?
Women Build recruits, educates, and encourages women to build and advocate for decent and affordable houses in their communities. Each home is funded and built by hundreds of women leaders and volunteers. Indy Women Build has built 10 homes for 10 families that otherwise may be without an affordable home to live in today. In the past two years, volunteers were challenged with building not just one home, but two side-by-side homes.
So why is it important to support Indy Women Build?
Women make up to 50% of Habitat for Humanity International’s volunteer force; yet often because of lack of training, they account for less than 15% of workers on the construction site. The Women Build program was established to encourage involvement in the construction of Habitat homes.
How does it work?
As mentioned above, women volunteers raise funds and raise the walls for the entire Women Build project. Habitat for Humanity relies on 25+ women to be team leaders and each leader recruits at least 14 additional women for their team. Together they make up the hundreds of volunteers needed to construct the home and fundraise. The timeline of the events is broken down into four phases:
Phase One: Team Leader Recruitment & Training (October-January): Each fall, Habitat recruits 25+ women to serve as team leaders. These team leaders are the foundation of the Women Build project. Team leaders are the first to sign up to participate and are the primary resource for support, inquiries, and information for their team. Orientation for team leaders in January.
Phase Two: Builder Recruitment & Fundraising (February): Team leaders recruit 14 women to join their team as builders. Each builder raises a minimum of $250 to help fund the project and volunteers with their team on one build day to help build the home.
Phase Three: Fundraising (March-May): Once registered, builders begin their fundraising efforts via peer-to-peer fundraising efforts. Some teams choose to host team fundraising events to help them reach and exceed their goal.
Phase Four: Build Day (May-July): Construction of the build begins in April/early May and finishes in late June/early July. Each team will volunteer on their chosen build day from 7:45 am-2:30 pm. The construction tasks vary by day throughout the build!
On build day, The IDO Dream Builders are jumping in at various parts of the construction timeline. Our knowledge of interior design and construction gives our team an advantage but it’s all about teamwork from person to person and team to team. We are always amazed by how the homes progress quickly from the teams before us. This success is in large part due to the site leader’s know-how and experience. The transition is seamless from team to team, and we can pick up exactly where others left off in order to check off tasks by the end of our build day. LEED Green Design Associate, Sara Kotarski, was asked in 2019 why she builds for Indy Women Build and she said, “I Build because I want to create the tangible home so that the families (we help) can create intangible memories. I want them to have a front porch they can decorate with Christmas lights or use as a home base when playing tag.” Her childhood home’s front porch was the heart of their home, and she builds to give other families the same opportunity to make the same life-long memories on their first front porch. This special memory, in its’ many iterations, resonates with the entire IDO team and connects us through compassion for others and our community.
The IDO team is excited to continue this annual tradition for years to come. While our build day team may change from time to time, our reason for helping with this program remains the same, compassion and community. We invite you to get involved and be a Women Build advocate! If you would like to be a part of The IDO Dream Builders Team next year, send us a message here or start your own team! You can also donate! We’d appreciate your financial donations on our team page or even on individual pages. Sharing is caring! Share our posts with your social media connections and spread the word! Lastly, follow the progress of the home’s construction through Indy Women Build’s social media pages below and search for posts with the hashtag #IndyWomenBuild.
To support Indy Women Build by volunteering, donating, or have a question for the Habitat or Women Build staff, click here and scroll to the bottom of the page. To read more about the mission, vision, and values of Habitat for Humanity, click here.