Guest blog by CJ Fitzsimons, Women Build Regular Volunteer and Women Build Steering Committee Member
Hello, Women Build Supporters! I hope you enjoyed the holidays and are settling into the new year. My name is CJ, and I’m a long-time Women Build Regular volunteer and Women Build Steering Committee Member. I’ll be writing some guest blogs to keep us connected until the next Women Build season officially begins. This first blog is a recap of the past 2022 season, plus a preview of what’s coming in future blogs.
To start, thank you to everyone who supported Women Build 2022 in whatever way you were able! The past year welcomed us back onsite with fewer restrictions and a feeling of normalcy we experienced previously. Masks became optional and hugs were shared. Women Build wrapped up on October 21, 2022, when a team from Blue Cross Blue Shield volunteered on a new site in Minneapolis. Throughout the season, 30 teams volunteered onsite for 55 days. That’s more than 3,500 volunteer hours! We couldn’t do this without you.
This season was unique. Twin Cities Habitat hosted build days throughout the Twin Cities instead of staying at one location for the entire build. This format allowed volunteers to participate on sites closer to their own hometowns. Several volunteers shared that this approach gave them a sense of community pride—they could help those in or near their own neighborhoods.
Other volunteers discovered this format gave them the opportunity to help at different stages of a build. Some volunteers participated during the same time on each build. In 2022, they also had the opportunity to try different tasks or learn something new. There are too many new experiences and build locations to list, but here are some volunteers especially enjoyed:
Volunteers rehabbed a home by removing and replacing flooring, as well as removing and reapplying the popcorn ceiling.
Enjoying the nice weather, volunteers built, stained, and painted the front deck.
There’s nothing like learning something new! These volunteers learned how to put up roof trusses, place soffits, and do landscaping.
All in all, our wonderful volunteers made the past year possible and learned a few new tricks at the same time. Speaking of tricks, let me give you a sneak peek at future blogs. My guest blogs will share fun, nonprofessional tips, tricks, and guidance on topics such as tools and tasks you may encounter as a volunteer. My hope is to give you more insight, helping you feel more comfortable onsite. Plus, you can use what you’ve learned here at home! Stay tuned for my next blog on common tools and tips for the build site. In the meantime, check out the Women Build opportunities throughout the “off season."
Thank you for a wonderful year of Women Build—and see you onsite soon!
Curious about joining CJ on the Women Build Steering Committee? Email Lizzy at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
CJ Fitzsimons is a Women Build Regular volunteer. She also serves on the Women Build Steering Committee.