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Habitat for Humanity SF/SCV holds first 'Women Empowerment Build' May 22-24

Posted: May 4, 2010 4:33 p.m.
Updated: May 6, 2010 10:30 a.m.
Habitat for Humanity and SF/SCV will hold their first "WE (Women Empowerment Build) Build" Saturday through Monday, May 22-24.
Adult women over the age of 21 pay only $40 per day and students from ages 16 to 21 only pay $20 per day.

Expanding on the model of one-day events held around the country by Habitat affiliates in the month of May, the Northern Los Angeles County Habitat affiliate will optimize on its unique assets to accomplish critical new goals for the state of California and beyond.

Specifically, they will work with their partners to use this high-profile venue to bring attention to the need for affordable housing, the importance of workforce training for youth, and the empowerment of women who can be motivated by such experiences as working on Habitat sites to pursue careers in nontraditional and even higher risk professions.

They have an innovative "Enriched Neighborhood Model," building large communities and providing enhanced services and educational opportunities. This is unique in the world of Habitat and affordable home ownership. Educational opportunities include health information, dental hygiene, teen empowerment and children's programs such as tutoring.

Other Habitat programs, like home ownership and repair and money management, are also provided.

They have research proven results:
-- Their Habitat children have 100% High School graduation rate and 92% are attending or have graduated from a trade school or college. Of those, half are at a four year university.
-- Despite recent economic trends, their homeowners have a 0% default and foreclosure rate.
-- Within about 3 ½ years since moving in, their families have reported an average 14% increase in income.
-- On average, Habitat homeowners have been at their current jobs for 13.5 years and 90% have been at the same job since move-in.
-- None of their Habitat teenagers have become pregnant after moving in to their new homes.
-- Their ratio of staff-to-output is among the most efficient of all Habitats, with about 90% of funds contributed to their affiliate going directly to support affordable housing in the San Fernando Valley, Santa Clarita Valley and Antelope Valley communities.
-- Having built more than 100 homes, they are among the top 5% of all HfH affiliates worldwide to reach this milestone and have done so in less time and for less money than most.

They also have one of the largest Youth United groups in the United States. It is comprised of a diverse membership that includes more than 14 high schools and 10 universities and colleges. Their vision is to lift working families out of an endless cycle of poverty housing so they can build brighter economic futures.

Their model is to build quality affordable housing that goes beyond subsidy to home-stability; including a supportive environment that provides training and a neighborhood culture that encourages self-sufficient. Key to this is the provision of training and mentorship to empower young people to explore the opportunities for new careers, particularly careers in new technologies - such as science, engineering, green technology trades and so on. The WE Build event will open the door to new and important mentors for their Youth United and Habitat home owner teens.

Held from May 22-24, the WE Build event will have three special days from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. which will include a continental breakfast, Habitat house tour, sponsor far, safety briefing, building assignments, build (with live bands performing for motivation), lunch with keynote speaker (gourmet food trucks will be available), training and competitions.

Day 1 will be WE Build Community and will be open to the female public at large. It will focus on the importance of community in ensuring affordable housing, green incentives and education for women. Three young women from the Habitat neighborhood will be building at received full UCLA scholarships this year.

Day 2 will be WE Built SET (Science, Engineering and Technology) Day. This day will focus on bringing together young women (12 and older) from all walks of life, including Habitat youth and members of Youth United groups, as well as young women guests of their sponsors with female mentors and others from the fields of science, engineering, technology and related industries.

The purpose will include engaging the sponsors, their staffs, and the mentors in learning about Habitat and its programs while the young women work side-by-side with them, learning that there are many new challenges ahead and many new fields that they could consider in the future.

The Entertainment Industries Council, through their EIC Entertainment & Media Communication Institute has agreed to serve as a media sponsor to ensure the success of this important day. EIC is spearheading a nationwide media initiative to raise the importance of science, engineering and technology fields in youth. Theirs is a multi-year program, designed to elevate the importance of science, engineering and technology in the national entertainment media and news.

The project seeks to strengthen how engineers and scientists are portrayed in entertainment media space and targets all levels of education including extensive community outreach. Their sponsorship will include bringing notable talent to the WE Build SET day, drawing media attention and ensuring national value to their sponsors.

Other media sponsors include CBS Studios and the San Fernando Valley Business Journal, both of which will work to highlight the importance of mentorship and encouraging young woman to pursue fields that are less traditional and include technology.

At Habitat, they provide students with opportunities designed to promote workforce readiness that is age and ability appropriate, engaging and connected to real industries with real jobs. Even more, these opportunities are provided under the leadership of caring professionals who share not only the youth's interests in their trade, but also their valies in community mindness and philanthropic activity.

Day 3 is WE Build Healthy, Happy Neighborhoods. This Build day will be a day of celebration for women who have broken through and earned their place at the top and have given back to ensure the health and well being of those around them.

The Los Angeles/Ventura County Building Industry Association has chosen this affiliate to partner with for their Women's Council philanthropy project. As well, with media sponsorship by the San Fernando Valley Business Journal, they have engaged a number of Valley women business owners and CEOs in planning for a corporate teambuild day during this exciting event.

This will be a day to celebrate how women do business and to hammer down some networking opportunities as well. They may even plant a community vegetable garden for the Enriched Habitat Neighborhood's families.

The WE Build will take place at a unique Habitat site currently in construction by Habitat for Humanity, San Fernando/Santa Clarita Valleys that will allow for myriad companies, their families and community members to attend a variety of events that will capture their imaginations and interests.

To make this experiences meaningful, in addition to the experiences with the Habitat families and staff, it is essential that they empower women to learn new skills in construction and feed their curiosity in new areas of technical expertise.

Because they are building large projects, the development offering at least ten homes in construction at any one time on a 61 home build site, they are able to accommodate several hundred women at a time. Their model incorporates using expert trades' people to oversee volunteers as team leaders. In most cases, they hire subcontractors' people off time to provide this training.


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