By Bonnie Adams, Managing Editor
Westborough – Female business leaders from the region gathered at PENTA Communications, Inc. March 8 to commemorate International Women’s Day. The morning’s keynote speaker was Bonnie Biocchi, director of development of the Habitat for Humanity – Metrowest Greater Worcester. Inc. (HFH MWGW) who spoke on the initiative, Women Build 2016.
Women Build 2016 is a program in Habitat for Humanity’s National Women Build Week which aims to empower women in the effort to eliminate poverty by building homes and communities. Volunteer crews will meet at work sites between May 3-14. in Auburn and Wayland to help build new, affordable homes. Habitat for Humanity MWGW has set a goal to have at least a 75 percent female participation at the sites.
“It’s a very gratifying experience to work at one of these sites,” Biocchi said. “Not just because you are helping someone in need but also you are physically doing something. You can look there and actually see what you have accomplished.”
No prior construction experience is needed, she said. All tools and training are supplied by the Habitat work crews.
Through the program, houses are built and then sold to homeowner partners through 0 percent interest mortgages. These homes are then sold to families living within 30 and 60 percent of the Area Median Income who are willing and able to become homeowners, partner with Habitat, and provided 400-500 hours of “sweat equity” working on their homes, or another Habitat project.
In an era where more and more women are responsible for raising families on less and less money, Biocchi said, programs such as this can offer those women a chance to own a home at an affordable price. That will also allow them to save for other things such as continuing or saving for educational opportunities for themselves or their children.
“We help provide them with an opportunity and tools to empower themselves,” she said.
Deborah Penta, CEO of PENTA Communications, Inc., noted that her firm has always been a “steadfast supporter of the economic and educational advancement of women,” but also recognizes that there is a growing number of female heads of households and single mothers.
“Hosting this event gives our firm an opportunity to pay it forward by inspiring others to help a charitable organization that supports women through the creation of homes to build stronger communities,” she said. “We are truly delighted to participate in and look forward to Women Build 2016 and to doing our part, together with our clients and company partners, to make a difference in the lives of others.”
PENTA will sponsor a team of female business leaders to work at a site this May. The team will be led by Penta and Susan Murdock, the firm’s director of client services.
For more information visit http://www.habitatmwgw.org.