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Mercy Home Women Coworkers Step Up With Habitat for Humanity

Mercy Home Women Coworkers Step Up With Habitat for Humanity

A team of Mercy Home coworkers recently volunteered with Habitat for Humanity’s Women Build project, an event that brought together hundreds of Chicago women to advance the construction of homes that will be owned by women. 

Wearing hard hats and armed with power tools, our coworkers helped build permanent and affordable homes for dynamic, woman-led families in the West Pullman neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side. The Women Build initiative helps achieve housing stability for women, who often face limited access to credit and unequal caregiving responsibilities that disproportionately hamper the home-ownership process. 

Team leader Nikki Coffey, Senior Youth Care Worker at our Girls Home, has been volunteering with Habitat for Humanity for 20 years. She first got involved when she volunteered with her college campus chapter. In the past, she’s led three teams of volunteers to build in Anchorage, Alaska – her favorite place to build. But building in Chicago, she says, truly hits home because it offers a take-charge way to connect with her community.  

“Last year I participated in Habitat for Humanity’s Women Build event and I saw teams of coworkers,” she said. “It was so inspiring and I thought to myself it would be so wonderful to do this with Mercy Home coworkers.”

Aside from helping women in the West Pullman neighborhood, Coffey and the rest of the Women Build team hope to set an example for the girls and boys at Mercy Home.  

“I hope that our youth will see that we walk the walk,” she said. “We ask that they do community service during their time here and we do the same. It is important to give back to your community, not just in your youth, but also in adulthood.” 

Amy Schulz, Director of our Girls Home, agrees. 

“We are always talking about service to others as a necessary and enriching experience for our youth,” she said. “Service work is at the heart of what we do here at Mercy Home. I want them to see us volunteering and think about how they can continue to contribute to their community, their city, and their world.” 

Schulz added: “Service work has always been a large part of my life and I think it is really important to give back to others without expecting anything in return. But, I think you often do get something out of it, maybe when you were least expecting it.”

I think it is really important to give back to others without expecting anything in return.

This rewarding feeling is an experience that our boys and girls know quite well. For 15 years, Mercy Home coworkers and youth have been partnering with Habitat for Humanity during summer months via their Collegiate Challenge Program, which has empowered our kids to travel the country while making a real difference in the lives of people in need. They’ve visited job sites in Kentucky, Maine, Ohio – and following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, they travelled to New Orleans numerous times to help those impacted by the devastation. This year, however, our kids were unable to participate in any Habitat for Humanity trips due to the pandemic. 

But our kids’ spirit for community service and helping others shines bright in our coworkers, especially the bold women who participated in this year’s Women Build project: Linda Hendrickson, Dawn Centracchio, Angie Hicks, Tiffany Conners, Bonnie Lee, Angie Womack, Kari Sikich, Christine Sanborn, Gewanda Monroe, Nikki Coffey, and Amy Schulz. 

In total, Chicago’s Women Build project raised $351,214, surpassing the intended goal of $300,000. Each team member agreed to fundraise at least $375 with a team goal of $8,000.

 “At the end of a workday, I like to take a moment to picture the family living in the home when it is completed,” Coffey said. “I pray that everyone who worked in that house leaves a bit of love, which will hug the family forever. This picture inspires and encourages me at the end of my workday.”

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