OAKLAND — A lot gets done in numbers.

That remark Saturday by Waterville Area Habitat For Humanity volunteer Hildy Curato of Sidney summed up the experience of about two dozen women who were making over a house on Water Street in Oakland as part of National Women Build Day.

The work involved scraping and painting and getting a house ready for its new owners. It was part of Habitat for Humanity’s National Women Build Week, an annual event during the week leading up to Mother’s Day and created in partnership with Lowe’s home improvement stores, according to the Habitat website.

The program invites women to devote at least one day to help families build strength, stability and independence through housing. The week is meant to spotlight the homeownership challenges faced by women, according to the website.

Dean Dolham, president of the Waterville Habitat’s board, said the house in Oakland was donated to the group so it could fix it up, sell it and use the proceeds to build an affordable home for a qualified family to own.

“We’ve built four total homes. We build one about every three years because that’s how long it takes to … raise the funds up-front,” Dolham said Saturday. “Mostly right now it’s cleaning and painting. We took possession of the house on Monday.”

Lowe’s donates nearly $2 million and volunteer support to National Women Build Week. Hosting the event reinforces the message that every woman can make a difference through learning and using construction skills. More than 98,000 women from all 50 states have volunteered at the nine previous National Women Build Week events, according to the Habitat website.

Dolham said the home, with two bedrooms and two baths, is not well-suited for a typical Habitat family, which usually is a younger couple starting a family. The house sits near the edge of picturesque Messalonskee Stream.

“This is my first time here – I’m a volunteer,” said Donna Cote of Chelsea. “I love it. It’s awesome to think this is going to help somebody out and I’m happy to be able to do it. This is my first time, but I’ll probably do more.”

The two dozen women, most of them dressed in blue T-shirts with white lettering touting National Women Build Week, flashed paint brushes, rollers and scrapers, putting a fresh coat of paint from Valspar, also a contributor to the work, on walls, molding and trim.

Mary Jones of Norridgewock, a member of the Habitat board, said seeing all the busy women Saturday was an inspiration.

“This is wonderful,” Jones said. “So many women want to do this, and once a year we come together on this weekend … and do something positive.”

Jones said that in past years, the women worked on houses that were being built, rather than freshening up an existing home. She said participants Saturday represented many different types of careers and age groups.

Martha Elli, of Manchester, who, along with her husband, Davis Ellis, serves on the Habitat board, said Saturday was a community-building experience.

“It’s a chance for women to work together, sort of empowering women to taking charge and fixing things up and working for the community,” she said.

Doug Harlow can be contacted at 612-2367 or at:

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