This year will mark Habitat Chicago’s tenth-annual Women Build, bringing hundreds of women together to fundraise, advocate, and further construction progress on women-owned homes over the course of ten days in October. Women Build has yielded much success over the years due to the passionate and dedicated women who work so hard to help fellow women overcome the gendered barriers to homeownership.


As Women’s History Month comes to a close, we’re proud to recognize a few individuals who have gone above and beyond during their time as Women Builders.


A bunch of women posing for a group picture. One woman in the front is sitting in a wheelbarrowCorrine (2nd to the left) and her team, WEO Women Warriors, from W.E. O'Neil at Women Build 2021.

Corrine S.

One October, rain drenched the build site and teams were given the option to leave; but Corrine encouraged her team to continue building. The whole team accomplished a lot during that dreary day without complaint. Corrine shows the spirit of Women Build each year, and we are grateful for her leadership and perseverance.


Learn more about Corrine:


Why did you decide to join Women Build?

I love giving a helping hand to women who are going the extra 10 miles to make something happen for their families and themselves. They are pushing to change their lives for the positive. My mom, though not enrolled in Habitat Chicago’s Affordable Homeownership program, was one of those women. She inspires me.


What about Women Build makes you want to participate year-over-year?

Being on-site and working with the women that will one day own the homes. That makes it special. It's not a blind donation. You feel the impact you are making on their lives immediately.


What has been a specific highlight/special moment during your Women Build experience?

The special moment was with my very first team. We signed up five or six weeks before the Women Build event because another team had to drop out. In such a short time, we still made our team fundraising goal. I was so proud of them and their commitment and effort.


Seven women sitting and standing on scaffolding for a group picture wearing pink hard hats and green Women Build shirtsDorothy (top row, middle) and her team, Women Belong Building, at Women Build 2021.

Dorothy R.

As the co-founder of Women Belong and a Women Builder of two years, Dorothy dedicates so much of her life to championing other women. As both an individual builder and team leader, she has rallied numerous people from her networks to invest in the Women Build mission, lending to her second-place overall finish on the fundraising leaderboards last year. We are grateful to have such a strong advocate like Dorothy.


Learn more about Dorothy:


Why did you decide to join Women Build?

I had been wanting to get involved in Habitat for Humanity for a number of years and didn’t know about the Women Build program or how to get involved. When chatting with one of the Women Build team leaders two years ago, she told me about her involvement, and I asked her if she had room on her team and if I could join her. Fortunately, there was a spot for me! One of the things that struck me after the 2016 election was that a lot of people were talking about what needed to be changed. I KNEW that I wanted to be doing something and that it was time to act and make change happen, not just talk about it. Moreover, the mission of Women Build aligns with the company that I co-founded focusing on women helping and supporting other women. We have the capacity, the strength and the commitment to making real change happen in the world.


What does Women Build mean to you?

It means paying it forward. Helping another woman and her family move their lives forward. I have been incredibly fortunate, and I don’t take it for granted. I’m a first generation American and if people hadn’t helped my family I would have experienced, I am sure, a very different childhood and may not have experienced the same opportunities. I live in abundance. There is enough for all of us, and it is my obligation to provide opportunities for others. It’s my primary yearning, to make a difference.


What has been a specific highlight/special moment during your Women Build experience?

I think that the opportunity to work with Joyce, one of the homeowners, solidified my commitment to Women Build. We worked on her house in 2020 and since then, I have continued to be in communication with her. Last year, Joyce invited our Women Belong build team to tour her completed home so that they too could begin to understand the importance of our build day. I saw the impact with them, and they are committed to building again this year. Frankly, I have loved every minute of the Women Build experience.


Two women making peace signs on an active construction siteHelen (right) and her teammate at Women Build 2021.

Helen C.

Helen is a seasoned, six-time Women Builder with no signs of stopping anytime soon. Consistently going above and beyond her fundraising goals since the beginning, she topped the charts through all the unknowns of 2020. Thank you, Helen, for your fierce dedication to the Women Build mission, and we’re excited to welcome you for your seventh year.


Learn more about Helen:


Why did you decide to join Women Build?

One of my close friends (an exceptional Women Builder!) was involved and asked me to join her team in 2016. It had been many years since I participated in a Habitat build, but I remembered how much fun it was to learn new skills that I’ve watched on home improvement shows. Not only did I learn more home building skills, but the experience building with an incredible group of women made it even more remarkable.


What about Women Build makes you want to participate year-over-year?

I love the opportunity to meet and build with so many amazing and strong women. Over the years, I’ve also been fortunate to meet and build with some of the women homebuyers and be inspired by their stories and ambition. Building with Habitat is a rewarding experience but building with women and for women makes it an empowering experience. Learning about the challenges that women face with homeownership has motivated me to contribute in multiple ways, and each year I’m impassioned to do more. That, along with the incredible women and crew, brings me back each year.


What has been a specific highlight/special moment during your Women Build experience?

There have been so many highlights for me over the years, but it has always been so rewarding and exciting for a homeowner, especially one that I’ve built alongside, to reach their move-in date. Each year I return, it amazes me to see all the homes built and know there’s a part of me in some of the homes (my messages are forever on the studs!).


If you are interested in joining an amazing group of women, learn more or add your name to our interest list by contacting us at events@habitatchicago.org.



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