BCHS students participate in Habitat’s Women Build

By LARRY C. BOWERS Banner Staff Writer Several young ladies from Bradley Central High School enjoyed a few hours of excitement, and work, as they participated in Habitat for Humanity’s 2016 Women Build project on Saturday.

The students were sponsored by Athens Federal, which paid their $500 pay-to-play fee.

Jay Leggett Jr., Athens Federal’s city president, attended the day’s activities, and presented a check to Habitat Executive Director Chip Willis for the Bearettes’ Women Build team.

Bradley Central Spanish teacher Agnes Colón assisted the young woman, saying the girls were overly excited about their involvement.

“I could have recruited more girls to participate, but it was a first-come, first-serve situation,” she said.

The Bradley Central students included Sky Johnson, Nicole Houk, Shonda Cates, Catherine Chitwood, Zadie Brezna, Gabriela Lagos, Emalee Henson, Bailey West, and Colón’s daughter, Raquel Johnson.

“It all has to do with giving back to the community,” said Colón. “The girls were excited because they realize they will be helping people to have a new home.”

Because of their age, the students all had to provide a waiver to Habitat.

Habitat officials emphasized this won’t be the only student involvement this year in Women Build. Cleveland and Walker Valley high schools are also expected to field a Build team.

The Bradley students said they were happy to be at Saturday’s Women Build session. They’ve already told their Spanish teacher they want to come back next year.

Zadie Brezna said, “I adore doing things for people, and this is very exciting to be helping out two new homeowners.”

Catherine Chitwood agreed with her classmate that it’s exciting to help out other people.

“It’s great to know that we’re helping to give them a better life,” she said.

Saturday was a busy day at this year’s Women Build site, with four separate Women Build teams. Both of this year’s two homes are going to single mothers and their children.

This year’s new homeowners will be Amber Smith, and her 2-year-old daughter, Brylee; and LaTonya Clark, a single mother of three children, Clayshion, 6; Brooklyn, 1; and Brysten, 4 months.

Almost 40 teams of approximately 10 women each are participating this year.

Construction began in late February, and is continuing in the Southgate Hills Subdivision just beyond the highway’s intersection with APD 40.

The initiative unites teams of women of all ages and skill levels to build homes for families in need of the stability a Habitat home.

The opportunity to build a home for a family is satisfying for participants in the annual Women Build. Some of the volunteers are experienced in this type of effort, while others have never used a hammer or a power tool.

Surprisingly, the two students we talked with, Brezna and Chitwood, said they have experience in building things.

The opportunity to assist this year’s two new homeowners is satisfying to the women who participate in the Women Build, and was especially gratifying to the young high school students on Saturday.

Photo: YOUNG LADIES from Bradley Central High School turned out Saturday for a Build session at the 2016 Habitat for Humanity of Cleveland’s Women Build at Southgate Hills Subdivision on South Lee Highway. Athens Federal City President Jay Leggett Jr., right center, presented a $500 check to Habitat Director Chip Willis to pay for the students’ participation. Cleveland and Walker Valley High School students will also participate this year. At Saturday’s presentation were, from left, Raquel Johnson, Shonda Cates, Nicole Houk, Sky Johnson, Willis, Leggett, Zadie Brezna, Bailey West, Emalee Henson, Gabriella Lagos, Catherine Chitwood and Bradley Spanish teacher and chaperone Agnes Colón. BANNER PHOTO, LARRY C. BOWERS

Story by: Cleveland Daily Banner