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Women Build Opening Day Empowers Women to Do More

The back of this year’s Habitat for Humanity of Greater Dayton Women Build shirt says it all: Empowering Women to Build Stronger Communities. Second-year Women Build President Elizabeth Breitenstein shared two goals to better accomplish that through this year’s Women Build project in Trotwood: “The (continued) formation of our committee and the utilization of peer-to-peer fundraising would be big wins this year for sure.”

The now-annual project has started strong this year. In 2023 Dayton Habitat’s Women Build project built two homes in Kettering for single mothers and their families. This year, the focus is organically growing the movement. Through peer-to-peer fundraising and increased social media presence, Dayton Habitat hopes to utilize existing personal relationships to raise the critical financial and volunteer support it takes to build a new home.

Sharon Higgins, who was vice president of operations for CareStar before retiring last year, has caught the vision.

“I can’t think of anything else I would want to do besides this,” she said. “I spent 36 years in corporate America, so I’ve been looking forward to being a part of something like this.”

“I want the satisfaction of helping someone who is willing to help themselves,” she continued. “And for selfish reasons. I want to learn.”

Higgins got her first exposure to Dayton Habitat by helping at the last home built in Trotwood, which was completed earlier this year. She volunteered near the end of the project to help with clean-up duties. After she attended the recent dedication ceremony for that home, she felt a heart tug.

“What an opportunity for that single mother!” she said. “What a way to teach her children what they can accomplish if they try and work hard. Her children had never even seen the finished home until that day. To see their faces … I was hooked.”

Gina Keucher, who works with Wright State students and sororities to grow leadership and community involvement, knows the feeling.

“This is fantastic, especially doing it with students!” she exclaimed. Keucher brought three Wright State students with her to help on the build site.

 “Being together doing something like this makes you feel very powerful,” she continues. “I’ve been involved in programs where you go out as a large group to help out. The little thing we’ve done today didn’t take much effort, but we are saving others a lot of time later.”

She will be working with Dayton Habitat soon to enable Wright State students to do more, and some of her students are already interested. As Kappa Delta sorority member, Jordan Miller, said, “We are trying to be more hands-on. What it all comes down to is women supporting women. It’s different, but different in a different way.”

If you would like to donate to or volunteer for this year’s Women Build, go to or call 937-586-0860.

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