Over 300 women put on their pink hard hats to help build homes in a celebration of working in non-traditional roles during the 8th Annual Women’s Empowerment Build on Saturday.
Every year, women bear the blazing sun at the veteran neighborhood being built by Habitat for Humanity off of Centre Pointe Parkway in Santa Clarita.
“Today, they are really being empowered, we are doing amazing work,” said Donna Deutchman, the CEO of Habitat for Humanity San Fernando/Santa Clarita Valley. “Most of it is what we would consider hard construction work.”
That construction work consisted of building fences, sidewalks and V-ditches, which is a water abatement on the hillside for storms and such.
The veteran-enriched neighborhood is currently in the last phase of its construction—24 homes are projected to have occupants by December, 2017 and January, 2018. That will bring the total amount of homes in the neighborhood to 78.
One mother-daughter duo who was working on Saturday were Marianne Behrens and Stefanie Behrens. Marianne didn’t let her 75 years of age get in the way of her doing some hard labor.
“If you can do it, you can do it,” said Marianne.
Marianne was persuaded by her daughter to go to the Women’s Empowerment Build for the first time. Stefanie had a great time last year and wanted her mom to join her as well.
“It’s just a great environment, it’s fun doing something together in a group and knowing you’re helping other people,” said Stefanie.
Many women are no stranger to supporting veterans though. When a person serves in the military, the whole family serves to.
“When a person serves and is deployed, the spouse serves to,” said Deutchman
Thus, supporting veterans was familiar territory for many of the women working on Saturday, especially those who came from military families, such as Los Angeles city resident Christen Bell.
Her grandfather, Terry Russel, served three years in the Marine Corps and his memory was planted in her mind as she helped to build homes for other veterans.
“Part of his personal philosophy was that in anything that you do in your life you have to try to…impact others in some way positive,” she said.