Women’s History Month Kicked Off With a Build

By Jennifer L. Warren

NEWBURGH – It’s Women’s History Month, and on its first day, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Newburgh immediately kicked it off with a big property announcement: Their 10th Women’s Build will be happening on 225 Third Street in the City of Newburgh. And there is much more to follow.

Thanks to the altruistic gesture of three property donations by Anthony Papaleo, owner of Papaleo’s Auto Body, Inc. in the City of Newburgh, Third Street will have a trio of beautifully transformed Habitat Women Build homes. Friday’s announcement, served as a lead up for the pivotal female piece of their organization which amps up later this month when International Women’s Build Week takes place, March 13-`16.

Assemblyman, Christopher Eachus, presents a New York State Proclamation to Dr. Michelle Winchester- Vega, Chairperson for Women Build, a cornerstone program- empowering and uniting women while allowing them to apply critical building skills- of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Newburgh.The presentation was part of an official announcement Friday of this year’s first Women Build, 225 Third Street in the City of Newburgh.
Assemblyman, Christopher Eachus, presents a New York State Proclamation to Dr. Michelle Winchester- Vega, Chairperson for Women Build, a cornerstone program- empowering and uniting women while allowing them to apply critical building skills- of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Newburgh.
The presentation was part of an official announcement Friday of this year’s first Women Build, 225 Third Street in the City of Newburgh.

“You might wonder why we identify a part of our organization as Women Build,” posed Jill Marie, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Newburgh, Executive Director. “It’s super important for us, as we really want to identify and empower women to build, as they make up 45 percent of our members, and we encourage all to come out and get involved.”

The 225 location, which will continue to undergo the demolition phase for the next few months, marks the 10th Women’s Build of the Newburgh not-for-profit, which provides families a “hand-up,” directly engaging them with all phases of their house’s building through the process of “sweat equity hours” as well as critical education, involving financing, budgeting, and other components of home ownership. It’s a hands-on, empowering, bonding journey that positively transforms lives forever.

“Our families buy houses from us,” said Jill Marie. “We don’t just give them away.”
That mission impressed- and touched- local Assemblymember, Christopher Eachus, to such an extent that he returned to Albany- after taking part in a recent Habitat event- and persuaded them to recognize their incredible, inspiring efforts. Friday, Eachus was on hand to present an official Proclamation from New York State, recognizing the Newburgh Habitat Chapter for their powerful work and the indelible, positive marks they leave on the communities they bring together.

“I really feel the State needs to recognize all you are doing, and that’s my purpose today,” said Eachus while awarding the Proclamation outside of the present Women Build Home. “I also promise you I am going to do all I can to support you and get you monies.” He added, “Make me earn my money.”

His words were met with radiant smiles and loud, appreciative applause. Among the cheers was the Women Build Chairperson, Dr. Michelle Winchester-Vega.

“Each year I have had this position, I have had an incredible group of women join me in making a difference in the community,” reflected Winchester-Vega about the Habitat role she has had the past four years. “People ask me why I get involved with so many volunteer positions, and my answer to them is always, “Why don’t you?” She continued, “It’s just so incredibly rewarding.”

Financial support for the life-changing Women’s Build program cannot be underestimated. On May 3, 2024, at the Powelton Club, a Women Build Dance is taking place. Contact the 125 Washington Street, Newburgh located, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Newburgh at: https://habitatnewburgh.org or call them at: (845) 568-6035 to learn more about this Dance and- or how to get involved in multiple capacities with this growing, uplifting community organization.

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