Hattie Matthews, Loweâ€™s
Providing a foundation for success
â€śIâ€™ve always felt itâ€™s an absolute honor and privilege to be able to participate in helping to build someoneâ€™s dream,â€ť beams Hattie Matthews, store manager for the home improvement company Loweâ€™s in Buckeye, Arizona. Four years ago, Matthews, who prior to her retail employment was a finish carpenter and licensed builder (a trade she learned in her familyâ€™s construction business starting at age 5),â€‰volunteered as an instructor with Habitat for Humanityâ€™s Women Build program, a faction of the shelter relief organization that helps women develop the skills needed to participate on a Habitat worksite. It was an opening she pursued through Loweâ€™s corporate partnership with the charitable group. Since then she has participated in building 20 homes in Phoenix; Detroit; and Benton Harbor, Michigan.
Matthews often teaches basic construction skills at weekly Women Build clinics to help women overcome feelings of intimidation on the worksite. She believes what women learn from the clinics is not only beneficial for completing tasks on Habitat worksites, but also helpful as they manage challenges in their lives. For instance, one single mother wanted to learn construction skills to repair her home. When the project was finished, the young woman, overwhelmed with emotion, looked at Matthews and cried; she never thought she would be able to complete a task like building a house. â€śYou donâ€™t realize what an impact [this] has on someoneâ€™s life,â€ť says Matthews.
ThisÂ year, the mother of six will participate in Habitatâ€™s 2nd Annual National Women Build Week taking place May 2-10, a nationwide celebration of more than 6,000 women volunteers. Matthews continues to marvel at how a project that begins with nothing more than slab can transform a life seven days later. She explains, â€śWhen you participate with Habitat, you always get back way more than you give and people are often surprised by that.â€ť