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Women Build Success

For the first time in five years, Habitat-Roanoke held a week long “Women Build” event, which drew nearly 100 women volunteers who contributed more 700 total labor hours toward a house that will soon be home to a large extended family.

“It was an experience that profoundly impacted our team,” said Nadean Carson, owner of Roanoke County based, OYA Construction. Not only did Carson and her team come with an appetite to build, they also came with a sponsorship toward the project’s completion.

“This event empowered our group of women by exposing them to new skills and providing a safe and supportive environment to learn. For many of us, it was the first time engaging in construction work, and the encouragement and camaraderie we felt made it a truly empowering experience,” said Carson.

As did Roanoke-based Branch Group, one of Habitat-Roanoke’s top community partners.

Being a sponsor and participant in the Habitat Women Build event was truly an incredible experience,” said Leah Kinder, Community Engagement Manager for Branch Group.

“Not only did we get the opportunity to contribute to building a home for a deserving family, but we also had the chance to meet the homeowner and bond with other like-minded women at Branch who share our passion for giving back to the community,” said Kinder.

In all, 97% of the volunteers for Women Build were, in fact, women! Which far exceeded the expectations of Habitat-Roanoke Development Director, David Tate.

“Because Habitat-Roanoke does not discriminate, in any way, it was a challenge to structure this event to help ensure the maximum amount of female participation. From how you recruit the volunteers to how you approach community partners with a request of support,” said Tate

The challenge was met, however, as Habitat-Roanoke was also able to use the event to raise $34,000 that will be used to help offset the cost of restoring this century-old home located in the Belmont-Fallon neighborhood of southeast Roanoke.

“This event really hit all of our goals on the head,” Tate added. “We outpaced our realistic fund raising goals and over achieved on our volunteer service goals. Considering this event is designed to help empower women; an event where women could literally come help another woman and her family up into a position where accumulating generational wealth can finally be realized… it is really just awesome.”

The project chosen for the build was specifically planned to ensure the event participants received a true residential construction experience – taking over a project that had been stripped to the studs and was ready for those eager to learn something new.

Not only did the volunteer slots get completely filled, but the homebuyers and their family and friends, contributed 10% of the entire weeks’ work.

“One of the most impactful aspects of the build was working directly with the homeowner. This experience allowed us to connect emotionally with the work we were doing, as we could see firsthand who would be living in the home we were helping to build. This personal connection made the work even more meaningful and reinforced the importance of what we were contributing to the community,” said Carson.

Helen Favor, whose engineering firm, AECOM, was also a day sponsor, agreed.

I’m so proud of this all-women team.  We framed new walls and demoed existing framing while working alongside the new homeowners.  Providing affordable housing for people in our community is a passion of ours and every single woman on the team said they want to come back and do it again next year,” said Favor.


Community gestures not overlooked by the future homebuyers< who know that it is their hard work and community love that will help get this effort to the finish line>

“I just want to thank you. Everyone who participated in Women Build 2024 and worked on my home. My family and I are extremely grateful and we appreciate each and every one of you,” said co-homebuyer Andrea following a long week of work.

Habitat-Roanoke is tentatively planning the next Women Build for May 2025.

Community partners interested in sponsoring and/or participating in Women Build 2025 can reach out to