At most construction sites, most of who you might see are men. Right now, though, women are leading the effort to renovate the homes of other women for Rebuilding Together OKC's annual “She Builds” event.
Heather Crews's home had not seen much improvement since she moved in with her daughter Ryleigh and their two dogs eight years ago.
She said, “We always had sheets covering the couch. Number one, because of the dogs. Number two, because they were ugly.”
The single mom just has not had much time or money to make repairs, especially since her own mother died last year.
“I don’t have as much help, even though she’s a teenager now,” Heather told News 9.
Then a childhood friend nominated her for Rebuilding Together OKC's She Builds project.
Over the course of a week, Crossings Community Church rallied more than 240 volunteers to give Heather's home a complete renovation, with women taking the lead.
Rebuilding Together OKC Executive Director John Bracken said, “I look at their faces and they said, ‘I can do this! I don’t have to rely on somebody else,’ and we’re hopeful that that same power comes through to Heather.”
Heather added, “They did it all, and I had a woman teach me how to use a saw even, and that was awesome.”
This project is proof that empowerment works. Beyond the fresh coat of paint, each room inside has its own new character.
“It’s so pretty!” Heather exclaimed as she entered one room after another.
The building is also better for Heather and Ryleigh's health.
“They took the mold wall out,” Heather said at her bedroom closet. “That was big.”
Additionally, keepsakes like Heather’s grandmother’s old rocking chair are front and center.
Heather explained, “My grandma passed away the day I found out I was pregnant with Ryleigh, so it’s kind of super special that we got to keep that in here.”
Heather said she feels her mom's spirit stronger now than she has in months.
“This is so her,” Heather said. “It’s so Mom. She would love this.”
Heather’s new home now marks the start of a new chapter.
“It’s so clean!” she exclaimed. “I don’t even think it was this clean when we moved in.”
She added, “Still can’t believe this is my house. It’s not my house. It’s crazy.”
To learn more about Rebuilding Together OKC and the She Builds initiative, click here.