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Women Build coming to area: Marquette Habitat for Humanity promoting project

MARQUETTE — Local residents, particularly women, soon can give a family a “hand up” through the Marquette Habitat for Humanity Women Build.

The event is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 6-8 at the building site in Gwinn.

Cindy Noble, affiliate support manager of Marquette Habitat for Humanity, said the event is open to men, women and children age 16 and up, but focuses on women.

“It’s to empower women in our communities and helping to give others a hand up to financial stability, community involvement and things like that,” Noble said.

The home that will be built this year is in Gwinn, said Noble, who pointed out that adult homeowners have to put in 250 “sweat equity” hours and take financial classes.

“They have to put their own sweat into building their own home,” Noble said.

Not everyone is adept with a hammer, however, but fortunately, no experience is necessary to take part in Women Build, with daily orientation and training provided.

A Professional Women in Building group, Noble said, likely will have a few female trainers to help.

“They’ve helped sponsor the T-shirts this year, which is nice,” she said.

Noble believes it has been about 20 years since the last Women Build was held in the area.

Habitat for Humanity, regardless of its location, is designed to build housing stability for families.

“There’s a lot of pressure if you’re trying to get a loan through the bank, and you might have to do a 10% down payment, 7%, whatever it is,” Noble said. “A lot of people can’t necessarily afford that.”

Habitat, she noted, allows people to prove they can pay a mortgage over time.

Megan Reffruschinni is a member of the five-member family who will move into the Gwinn home.

She acknowledged she hadn’t expected her family to be picked, but called their good fortune “amazing.”

“It’s going to be exciting being homeowners,” Reffruschinni said. “This is going to be our first home together with our kids.”

She has no building experience, but again, should receive guidance during their sweat equity hours.

“It’s going to be nice that the kids are going to have their own space,” Reffruschinni said. “Right now we’re in a little apartment, and there’s no yard. There’s not really anything for them to do outside.”

The donation fee is $35 per individual, $150 for a family of five to six people and $200 for teams of seven to eight people.

The event includes lunch, T-shirt and a swag bag.

Scheduled to speak during lunchtime are state Rep. Sara Cambensy, D-Marquette; YMCA of Marquette County CEO Jenna Zdunek; and Marquette Major Jenna Smith.

Registration will begin Monday and run through Aug. 1.

To register, visit https://mqthabitat.org/volunteer-opportunities/womens-build/ starting Monday.

Christie Mastric can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. Her email address is cbleck@miningjournal.net

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