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'Empowering' Women Build wraps up

Not all volunteers get to see a tangible result of their work, but this weekend hundreds of area women will get just that.

The Goodhue County Habitat for Humanity Women Build house will be dedicated at 3 p.m. this Sunday, wrapping up more than a year of planning, fundraising and building.

“You’re able to see the end result and reach the finish line together,” coordinator Neela Mollgaard said. “It’s fulfilling.”

Work on the Women Build project started more than a year ago, and crews broke ground on April 29 at the house at 621 Jefferson St. Now, they’re just putting on the finishing touches before the Kuyath family moves in.

When the process got started, organizers knew they’d have volunteers to help make it a reality, they said. But they didn’t know quite so many women would be interested.

There were more than 440 women involved in Women Build, coordinator Linda Thielbar said.

“Women were more than a little enthusiastic about this project,” she said.

In fact, they reached a point where they had to cap volunteers at 24 teams, Thielbar said. “What a great problem to have.”

The family also put in extra hours to get the project done.

On top of fundraising and building a home, the project was also aimed at increasing Habitat for Humanity’s volunteers and donors, Thielbar said. And with so many participants, that was a success as well.

The project brought in about $65,000, from corporate sponsors to individuals to events such as the Power of the Purse.

Participants found creative ways to raise money, Theilbar said, such as employees at First Farmers and Merchants Bank paying to wear jeans on Fridays.

“We can’t even begin to thank the businesses and people in town who supported this,” she said.

“The process was extremely successful,” Mollgaard said. “I’m not surprised the people of the city of Red Wing stepped up to do to this.”

At the dedication Sunday, women will get to tour the home and share what parts of the house they worked on and what they learned from the project.

Working on the actual construction of the home allowed women to learn and share skills, Thielbar said.

“It’s an opportunity to do something they wouldn’t get to do normally,” she said.

“It was empowering to be on site,” Mollgaard said, and to watch friends and team members work on everything from shingles and insulation to flooring.

“There’s a sense of teamwork,” she said. “I think that is fun for women.”

Thielbar said participants enjoyed the project, which helped them make a difference, learn new things and build relationships.

“I think they’ll say what a positive, energizing process this was,” she said.

Danielle Killey

Danielle Killey covers local government for the South Washington County Bulletin. She has worked as a reporter for other Forum Communications newspapers since 2011. She graduated from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities with a journalism degree.

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