Celebrating Women- Meet Core Volunteer Karen

“Oh, and there aren’t many construction sites where lunch breaks might consist of women sitting around knitting and chatting but on some of the Women Builds I’ve been on, that’s what we did.”

Karen, originally from California, moved to Colorado in 2003 and once she got settled, she decided to reach out to Habitat Denver. Karen has a love for woodworking, making end tables, work tables, and after improving her skills, she made a gorgeous red oak coffee table. She wanted to be able to give these unique skills back to Habitat Denver to help others. “My first house was on the west side of Fenton Street just north of Colfax in Lakewood. It was a great way to start my Habitat Experience,” shares Karen. Karen is now a Core Construction Volunteer and Electrical Volunteer with Habitat.

In 2006, Karen worked on her first Women Build home. “I met a lot of great women volunteers – some of whom are still with Habitat today. It was a hot, hot summer but lots of fun. Working a Women Build house is a unique experience.” Karen continues, “Many women are hesitant to do something like this. It can be intimidating when you are new and surrounded by guys who seem to be experts at building, but anyone can learn how. We may not all have the same strengths at first, but with practice, everyone gets better.”

In 2006, Karen also was trained and became apart of the core electrical crew. “Over the years, I was able to put in the required number of apprentice hours and finally got my state Residential Wireman’s license.  Now that I’m retired, I enjoy spending a lot of my time working with the Habitat Electrical Crew,” shares Karen.

Karen teaches and encourages all volunteers that work alongside her. “It’s great to work on a site with men and women together but during a Women Build, when you’re surrounded by women with varying degrees of construction experience, there’s a different sense of comradery and support,” shares Karen.

“I really enjoy being a Core Construction and Electrical Volunteer because it’s so satisfying to work alongside other volunteers and especially the homeowners who will benefit from the work we do.  The world is a big place and there are so many people everywhere who need help just to get through the day.  It’s hard to imagine how one person can make an impact but I think that if every individual were to focus on something that’s needed in his or her own community, even just a little bit, that energy would grow and radiate outwards and help to make the whole world a better place.  That’s what Habitat does and why being a Core Volunteer is so important to me.”