Northern Ocean Habitat partakes in 11th Annual National Women Build Week

TOMS RIVER, N.J. – For the 11th year, Habitat for Humanity and Lowe’s engaged women nationwide to work together to build and repair homes during this year’s National Women Build Week from May 5-13.

Though neighborhoods are comprised largely of women and children, they are also the population’s most likely to be affected by poor living conditions. Habitat for Humanity’s National Women Build Week highlights the homeownership challenges faced by women and children and encourages women to devote at least one day to the effort. A decent place to live can remove barriers to opportunity, success and health that might have been a part of a family’s life for years, if not generations.

“National Women Build Week takes on a whole nother meaning,” shared Michellene Davis, Esq. and Executive Vice President and Chief Corporate Affairs Officer at RWJBarnabas Health. “As women, we are always building. We turn cities into communities, houses into homes, neighbors into neighborhoods and strangers into sisters.”

To kick the week off, RWJBarnabas hosted a Women’s Leadership Conference wrapped around women’s health and the role a home plays in a healthy life. The conference featured keynote speakers Michellene Davis, Esq., Executive Vice President and Chief Corporate Affairs Officer at RWJBarnabas Health and Deanna Sperling, MAS, RN, NE-BC, President and Chief Executive officer at Barnabas Health Behavioral Health Center, as well as a panel discussion with Maria Lawson, a Habitat for Humanity home recipient, and her mother.

Deanna Sperling went on to share a series of self-care tips  including when to ask for help, when to say ‘no’, work-life balance, and health benefits to volunteering. “Volunteering is a form of self-care that reduces your stress level,” she explained to the room of over 60 attendees. That week, over 50 Lowe’s and RWJBarnabas women volunteers joined Habitat for Humanity on the construction site, putting Sperling’s advice into action. 

Through Northern Ocean Habitat’s ‘A Brush with Kindness’ home repair program, volunteers were able to create a safer, healthier living environment for a senior citizen resident in Toms River. Work included powerwashing and rebuilding a dilapidated screen porch, installing vinyl soffit ceiling and screen door and painting. Habitat’s variety of home repair programs offer options to homeowners who are struggling to maintain their homes, and increases safety, accessibility and quality of life for residents.

Women volunteers from RWJBarnabas began work on the repair project on Wednesday, and over 30 women volunteers from three counties and five different Lowe’s stores completed the work on Thursday. “This is one of the best part about National Women Build Week,” shared Emily Sicliano, Human Resources Manager for Lowe’s in Toms River. “Getting to know my fellow women leaders and being a part of something bigger.”

Check out pictures from the RWJBarnabas hosted breakfast here and our build days here and here