Ladies with hammers, big hearts needed for Women Build Program

Women Build - Sisters in Brotherhood
WOMEN BUILD: Several Sisters in the Brotherhood of the Carpenter’s District Council of Greater St. Louis and Vicinity take a break from their tools while on site at what would soon be the new Tesson family home on Cheryl Ann Drive in St. Charles County. – Habitat for Humanity of St. Charles County photo



You know that sense of pride you get when you’ve worked hard on a project using new skills and finally see the end result? Well, Habitat for Humanity has a program just for you. It’s called Women Build.

In the program women provide volunteer labor for an entire house build, including everything from raising money for materials to hoisting the first wall to final landscaping touches. The emphasis is to concentrate the talents and resources of women who want to contribute to a meaningful change in their community.

The program, which reaches across boundaries of gender, race and class, supports the efforts of Habitat for Humanity to eliminate substandard housing. It brings together women from all walks of life to address the housing crisis facing millions worldwide. No experience is necessary and on-the-job training is available.


Habitat for Humanity of St. Charles County began its Women Build Program three years ago, said Lauren Grotegeers, the organization’s volunteer and resource development coordinator. Through the program, women build one home each year.

“It’s a great opportunity for women of all skill levels to come together to help a family in need of better housing,” she said. “Even though it’s called Women Build, men also participate in the process. It’s a program meant to empower women, but not exclude men.”

By joining the program, women will encounter:

  • A supportive environment to acquire new skills and discover strengths;
  • A refreshing approach to women’s capabilities, roles and contributions;
  • And opportunities to develop leadership skills and to strengthen relationships.


The UAW Local 2250 Women’s Committee has about 30 to 35 women that help in the Women Build Program, said Becky Schieffer, committee chairwoman. Several other union members from the GM Assembly Plant in Wentzville pitch in as well.

“We’re women, and we want to help out other women,” she said. “It started as a favor to one of our retirees, and then everyone had so much fun, they wanted to do it more and more. We spent one day a month on our last house.”


The Sisters in the Brotherhood (SIB) of the Carpenter’s District Council of Greater St. Louis and Vicinity has been active in the program for the last three years, said Cindy Frank, SIB coordinator. Between 15 and 18 women from the group help with fundraising for the program and build the homes.

“We are tradeswomen, and we like to be able to give back to our community while showcasing our talents,” she said. “So many people are surprised to learn that women do this kind of work, and we want to let them know the trades can be something they can do.”


The Sisters in the Brotherhood is sponsoring trivia night for the 2016 Women Build home in St. Charles County on March 5. The event will be held at 7 p.m. at Larry Elms Training Center, 755 Parr Road in Wentzville. In addition to trivia, the event will also feature 50/50 and prize baskets raffles.

Beer, soda and water will be provided while supplies last. You may also bring your own food and drink. A table of eight is $160. Habitat for Humanity is also in need of donations for baskets from local businesses. To register for the event or to make a donation, call the organization.

For more information on the Women Build Program, contact your local Habitat for Humanity office.



  • Jack and Union counties – 618-457-8480 or;
  • Lewis & Clark (including chapter offices of Alton, Bond County, Collinsville, Edwardsville/Glen Carbon, Highland, O’Fallon and Wood River) – 618-343-0301 or;
  • Sparta area – 618-443-3824 or




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