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FRIDAY, MARCH 2, 2007
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Mostly female crew to build Habitat house in Athens

By Holly Hollman
hhollman@decaturdaily.com 340-2445

ATHENS — A Saturday groundbreaking won't be about excluding men, but about empowering women.

That's what Melissa Barton, president of Athens-Limestone County Affiliate of Habitat for Humanity, said about a ceremony and kickoff for the Women Build project.

The groundbreaking starts at 8:30 a.m. on the south end of Levert
Avenue, and the public is welcome to attend.

The crew will begin construction after the ceremony.

This is the affiliate's 25th house.

It will be the first one that a team primarily of women has built here.

Women Build gives women and girls the chance to make an impact in their community by addressing substandard housing.

Barton said the idea for a Women Build project here began when she and past president Daisy McCormack attended a Habitat conference in Americus, Ga., four years ago.

At an informal local meeting a year ago, Roberta Ress, a certified midwife, learned about the project, Barton
said, and was inspired to spread the word.

Workshops

Lowe's, which is a partner with Habitat, conducted a series of workshops in February for the volunteer team, many of whom had no construction experience.

The team hopes to raise the walls March 10.

Later this month, 10 students, six of them female, from the University of Wisconsin in River Falls plan to spend their spring break helping build the house.

Local volunteers still can sign up. Barton said there are jobs to suit interests and levels of expertise from construction to cleanup to providing snacks and meals for the crew.

There will be an opportunity to sign up at the groundbreaking ceremony, or those interested may call the Habitat office at 230-6001.

Barton said male volunteers are welcome.

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