OAKLAND — A lot gets done in numbers.

That remark by Waterville Area Habitat For Humanity volunteer Hildy Curato of Sidney on Saturday summed up the experience of about two dozen women making over a house on Water Street in Oakland.

Work on Saturday was scraping and painting and getting a house ready for its new owners.

The work was part of Habitat for Humanity’s National Women Build Week, an annual week-long event created in partnership with Lowe’s home improvement stores, according to the Habitat website. The program invites women to devote at least one day to help families build strength, stability and independence through housing. The week is meant to spotlight the homeownership challenges faced by women, according to the website.

Dean Dolham, president of the Waterville Habitat board, said the house in Oakland was donated to them so they could fix it up, sell it with a fresh coat of paint and use the proceeds to build a new house for a qualified family to become independent owners of a decent, affordable home.

“We’ve built four total homes — we build one about every three years because that’s how long it takes to raise the funds to build a house because we raise the funds up front,” Dolham said Saturday. “Mostly right now it’s cleaning and painting. We took possession of the house on Monday.”

National Women Build Week is held the week leading up to Mother’s Day with Lowe’s donating nearly $2 million and volunteer support. Hosting the event reinforces the message that every woman can make a difference through learning and using construction skills. More than 98,000 women from all 50 states have volunteered at the nine previous National Women Build Week events, according to the Habitat website.

Dolham said the home, with two bedrooms and two baths, is not well suited for a typical Habitat family, which usually is a younger couple starting a family. The house sits near the edge of picturesque Messalonskee Stream.

“This is my first time here — I’m a volunteer,” said Donna Cote of Chelsea. “I love it. It’s awesome to think this is going to help somebody out and I’m happy to be able to do it. This is my first time, but I’ll probably do more.”

The two dozen women, most of them dressed in blue T-shirts with white lettering showing Habitat for Humanity’s Women Build Week, flashed paint brushes, rollers and scrapers, putting a fresh coat of Valspar paint, also a contributor to the work, on walls, molding and trim.

Mary Jones, of Norridgewock, a member of the Habitat board, said all the busy women Saturday was an inspiration.

“This is wonderful,” Jones said. “Whenever this happens — when Women Build — so many women come together to do this to help. So many women want to do this, and once a year we come together on this weekend and it’s a chance for us all to get together and do something positive, something wonderful.”

Jones said in year’s past, the women worked on houses that were being built, unlike on Saturday when they were freshening up an old home, which will be sold. She said participants Saturday represented many different types of careers and age groups.

Martha Ellis, of Manchester, who along with her husband Davis Ellis, serves on the Habitat board, said Saturday was a community building experience.

“It’s a chance for women to work together, sort of empowering women to taking charge and fixing things up and working for the community,” Ellis said.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]


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