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Women Build Teaches Women Construction Skills - WKBN

Women pulled on the work gloves and hard hats on Wednesday to take part in the 8th annual National Women Build Week with Habitat for Humanity.

The special volunteer week is held the week before Mother’s Day every year, with the goal of empowering women to get out and try something the have never done before. Organizers said sometimes women are less likely to take part in Habitat builds because they don’t feel like they have the skills to work on the job site.

But, they said that is never the case and volunteers on site are ready to teach any volunteer all they need to know.

“Women will say ‘What are we going to do? I have no experience. I don’t know what to do.’ And we always say those are the best kind of volunteers. Because we have people who are regular volunteers that have been doing this for years. We have a construction manager,” Habitat Resource Development Manager Kristina Nicholas said.

Karen Deamicis said she is not exactly a do-it-yourself person. Usually, she is happy to let her husband do the repair work.

But for Habitat for Humanity Women Build week, she decided it was time to pick up the hammer herself.

“Was pretty excited actually. I work with a lot of amazing women, and I knew they would be ready to work,” Deamicis said.

She and her coworkers at Home Savings joined with women from YNDC, the YWCA and WKBN for the Women Build event.

“We actually had an opportunity to meet the woman who lives here this morning and she was just absolutely lovey and made a point to come out and introduce herself this morning after she worked a 12-hour shift,” Deamisis said.

But the Women Build event is not limited to just women.

“We also encourage men and women to come out and everyone is welcome. And we have a good time. And at the end of the day, you feel really good about doing something,” Nicholas said.

Wednesday’s work day took place on Oak Street Extension on Youngstown’s east side. WKBN First News This Morning anchor Amy Radinovic and WKBN First News noon anchor Lauren Wood were there, along with volunteers from Home Savings, the YWCA and the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation.

And while the women working on Wednesday were happy to be giving back, they also said they are learning a lot themselves.

“I learned to let the hammer do the work. And wear my hat because people drop things,” Deamicis said.

“Using a circular saw. Learning about different nails and things,” said Tricia D’Avignon of the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation.

She said she is excited about the new skills she has been picking up at the Women Build event.

“I have never done this before, but I think it is very empowering,” D’Avignon said.

And that is exactly what Habitat leaders are hoping to do, no matter the skill level of volunteers.

“You can be empowered and do anything a man can do. And get involved, come out and build anytime you want and no experience is necessary,” Nicholas said.

At the end of the day, looking back, Deamicis is amazed at what they accomplished.

“We put a roof on that garage. It is amazing. I think it is built pretty well,” Deamicis said.

To see the full story from WKBN, click here.