In Scarborough, Habitat for Humanity builds a community of women

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SCARBOROUGH — Armed with tools and smiles, about 50 women participated last week in a Habitat for Humanity Women’s Build Day.

The women worked on two houses during the May 12 Habitat for Humanity of Greater Portland event at Carpenter Court. Some were long-time volunteers; others had never been on a construction site.

“I love, love building. It’s my favorite thing to do. I would do it all day, everyday,” said Kelly Gabloff of North Yarmouth. “Every time you come you get to learn something new.”

Gabloff estimated she has volunteered eight or 10 times for Habitat projects from Scarborough to Freeport. “It’s a great group, very welcoming,” Gabloff said. “It’s always a fun day. I always leave happy.”

Some of the things Gabloff said she has learned include how to install siding and flashing, hanging wall board and building floor trusses.

The build day was held in conjunction with Habitat for Humanity’s 10th annual National Women’s Build Week.

The 13-house project on Carpenter Court began in December 2015. So far, three homes have been completed and two more are on schedule to be finished next month.

Sandy Ward of Gorham has been a regular Habitat volunteer for the past 10 years at the Greater Portland branch and for 7 Rivers Maine Habitat in Topsham. In her spare time, she said, she has built homes with friends and does a lot of remodeling.

When asked what she likes best about volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, she said, “What’s not to like?”

Ward said it is empowering and gratifying to give back. It was her third women’s build day and she said the event “is really empowering for women who have never done this before.”

Volunteers are needed five days a week Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. To volunteer, visit or call 772-2151.

The two Cape Cod-style houses the women worked on at 35 and 39 Carpenter Court are both 1,300 square foot, three-bedroom, two-bathroom homes that are on track to be completed by the fall. The Carpenter Court project also includes a 3-bedroom ranch and a 4-bedroom colonial.

Chad Mullin, construction manager with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Portland, said all the homes in the project are Energy Star certified to keep utility costs down.

According to Laura Duplissis, Habitat’s communications and volunteer manager, “The organization has built 80 homes in southern Maine since 1985, and through its contributions has built homes for another 142 families worldwide.”

Mullin said the houses are simply designed with hardwood floors that are easy to maintain. The houses are also built to universal building standards; everything is on the main floor so, as they age, residents won’t have to climb stairs.

Mullin said all of the homes are being built by Habitat staff and volunteers, but five will be sold at market rate through the Scarborough Housing Alliance.

Second-time volunteer Dawn Leahy of Windham said it’s great that the build was held exclusively for women. She liked “learning new skills, working together and helping people in the community.”

Sandy Woodruff of Saco had no building experience before last Friday, but learned how to install siding. Woodruff said the workers had to be really careful to make sure everything lined up.

If it wasn’t straight, she said with a laugh, “we have to redo it.”

Melanie Sochan can be reached at 781-3661 ext.106 or Follow her on Twitter @melaniesochan.

Kelly Gabloff of North Yarmouth frames a house at 35 Carpenter Court in Scarborough for a Habitat for Humanity of Greater Portland women’s build project May 12.

Kendra Coates of Farmington, at left, and Sandy Ward of Gorham frame a house at 35 Carpenter Court in Scarborough on Habitat for Humanity of Greater Portland’s Women’s Build Day on May 12.

Women help build a house May 12 at 39 Carpenter Court in Scarborough on Habitat for Habitat for Humanity Greater Portland’s Women’s Build Day.