Saline County women help build home for friend

By Wayne Bryan Published May 22, 2014 at 12:00 a.m.
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Wayne Bryan

Amy Light of Benton paints a window sill May 10 in a house being built primarily by women volunteers working with Habitat for Humanity of Saline County. The home, in Habitat’s neighborhood, Partnership Village, is being built for Jennifer Koba, who works with Light at the Childcare Network centers in Benton and Bryant.

BENTON — On a Saturday morning, six staff members of the Childcare Network early-childhood-education schools in Benton and Bryant were painting several rooms of a new house under construction.

The women were all volunteers for the National Women Build held by Habitat for Humanity of Saline County, but they had taken brushes and rollers in hand May 10 to help a co-worker.

“We are doing this for Jennifer, one of our teachers,” said Andrea Lee of Bryant, director of the preschool program. We work together, and we all like to paint.”

The house was started in March for Jennifer Koba, who hopes to move into the house by mid-June.

“I talked to someone, and they told me about the Partnership Village and Habitat for Humanity,” Koba said. “I signed up at the end of 2013, and I found out I would [qualify for] a house in January.”

While her co-workers were painting window sills and walls, Koba was on a ladder in a closet painting.

“I am still collecting hours,” she said.

Adults who are eligible have to put in 300 hours of “sweat equity” in the home before they can move in. Koba said she figures she has about 100 hours left to go.

With the house not being finished before the middle of next month, she has plenty of time to get in those hours.

Another Habitat home was scheduled to be dedicated Saturday in the village, which now includes 57 homes built by Habitat for Humanity of Saline County volunteers.

“This is a recycled home,” said Hollie Hughes, volunteer coordinator for Habitat in Benton. “When someone moves out of the home, it is refreshed, and someone new can move in.”

On May 8, women volunteering to work on the house were invited to learn some construction tips during the annual how-to clinic hosted by Lowe’s Home Improvement in Benton.

“We always look forward to National Women Build Week and the opportunity to engage more women in our work,” said Karma Herzfeld, executive director of Habitat of Saline County. “We invited women of all skill levels to join us on the build site.”

Painting a window sill white, Lee said she was ready to work on her friend’s house.

“I’m a mama, a wife and a preschool director,” she said with a laugh. “I can paint and do most anything. We are all pretty creative, but we are using the same white paint on everything.”

Amy Light, an assistant director for Childcare Network, was finishing the paint in one closet, and she was moving to another window sill.

“I love to paint and like to do things together,” she said. “That makes it fun.”

A person looking for a Habitat house makes an application and is screened before being selected as a partner.

The homes are sold to the families for no profit and financed with no-interest loans of around 20 years. The payments are used to support the construction of more homes.

For information about volunteering for a build or applying for a home, call Habitat for Humanity of Saline County at (501) 315-5434.

Staff writer Wayne Bryan can be reached at (501) 244-4460 or wbryan@arkansasonline.com.

Tri-Lakes Edition Writer Wayne Bryan can be reached at 501-244-4460 or wbryan@arkansasonline.com.

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