- Associated Press - Monday, May 9, 2016

HAMMOND, Ind. (AP) - Under bright blue skies Thursday, the rhythmic pounding of hammers and the whine of an electric saw resonated along the 700 block of Mulberry Street, signaling the hope of homeownership for a family.

Habitat for Humanity’s National Women Build brought together the female leaders of eight Northwest Indiana nonprofit organizations to construct the interior walls of a 1,250-square-foot home at 734 Mulberry St. The three-bedroom, one-bath home should be completed in September, said Keith Bruxvoort, of Habitat for Humanity of Northwest Indiana, as he and contractor Mike Poe worked with the all-female volunteer crew.

“We’re going to tie all the walls together, and we’re using the big nails today,” Bruxvoort said. “Seven or eight workers are best so everyone fits comfortably, and we can keep everybody busy.”

The empty lot was donated to Habitat and a family will be selected for this home in the near future, said Dawn Michaels, Habitat’s director of development and community relations.

“The cool thing is having women from nonprofits here,” Michaels said. “We have collaborated with nonprofits in Lake County. Now they are giving back to us, and we in turn will give back to them.”

Beth Wrobel, CEO of HealthLinc, said she’s already asked Michaels to present information about this home at the next staff meeting in East Chicago.

“If our patients have a safe place to live - that’s health,” Wrobel said.

Getting outside and spending time with others was important for Wende Burbridge of Lakeshore Public Media.

“Working with your hands and having a chance to do something good - it has a direct impact on the community,” Burbridge said.

The opportunity to work alongside other nonprofit leaders was a way “to hear how others are working in the community, to create a network,” said Lisa Daugherty, president/CEO of the Lake Area United Way.

Although LAUW works with many organizations including Habitat for Humanity, “I’m helping them in an entirely different way today,” Daugherty said before she climbed on a 12-foot ladder to drive nails into a header where roof trusses will be placed by a crane on Friday.

Children in the family who move into this home will attend a neighborhood school, Edison Elementary, just a few blocks south on Calumet Avenue. That’s exciting, said Alesia Pritchett, director of business services with the School City of Hammond.

“This is a way to give back to the community,” Pritchett said about her role in the Habitat build. “Our motto at the School City of Hammond is ‘Excellence in Learning, Success in Life.’”

Providing housing “takes all of us. It’s a circle,” said Ellen DeMartinis, CEO of the Valparaiso-based Opportunity Enterprises, adding that it’s important to teach younger generations to give back by example.

That lesson was visible on some of the lumber used throughout the home, which contained Bible verses and messages of love and support. More than 80 volunteers participated in the April 23 wall panel workshop in the parking lot of Suncrest Church in St. John, decorating that wood with those messages.

“About 30 of the volunteers were kids,” said Kristin Marlow-Kellemen, coordinator of Habitat for Humanity’s A Brush with Kindness program.

“One little boy, who was about 5, asked ‘What am I building?’ We told him it was part of a house for someone who didn’t have one,” Marlow-Kellemen said. “That is something most of us never experience. It was a lesson he learned that day.”

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Source: The (Munster) Times, http://bit.ly/1Tw0V3H

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Information from: The Times, http://www.thetimesonline.com

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