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Emotional kickoff for Habitat’s Women Build

Everyone’s still talking about the powerful kickoff for Habit for Humanity’s upcoming Women Build over Mother’s Day weekend.

“The word has gotten out. You put this over the top,” said Habitat v.p. Kari Oeltjen, who emceed and spread the upbeat mood.

Habitat expected 150 “Sisters of the Pink Hard Hat” to show up and sign up to fundraise and build a house. But 260 women arrived at the kickoff to form teams and rally their pals. The local effort for the national Women Build is May 9, 10 and 11.

The committee for Habitat for Humanity’s 2019 Women Build, from left standing, Bonnie Kaye, Alisa Cohen, Bonnie Young, Kari Oeltjen, Georgette Evans, and Danielle Rosse. From left seated: Judith Temple, Pam Begelman, Women Build co-chairs Robyn Raphael-Dynan and Beverly Raphael-Altman, Marcia Tabatchnick and Susan Fixel.

On day one, Habitat raised nearly $95,000 and 102 women builders signed on, Oeltjen announced.

“This is more than bricks and mortar,” Oeltjen said to introduce the two mother-daughter teams most involved in the project.

Hardworking mom Ilomaine and her family put “sweat equity” in the Delray Beach site. They had to qualify for the build.

“My mother left Haiti at 22. She had three girls. When she split from my father, we were homeless for five months,” said her daughter Jesse, an oncology nurse. “Now you’re blessing her with a home of her own.” [Privacy laws preclude last names.]

At the kickoff for 2019 Women Build were home recipient Illomaine, co-chair Beverly Raphael Altman, Habit’s Kari Oeltjen, home recipient Jessie and co-chair Robyn Raphael-Dynan

Construction company mogul Beverly Raphael Altman and her daughter Robyn Raphael-Dynan are co-chairing the build. After her husband died, Altman stepped in and grew the business, now in 33 states.

“Let’s roll up our sleeves and put on a pink hard hat and build a house!” her daughter told the crowd at Royal Palm Yacht & Country Club.

“This is the most successful kickoff we’ve ever had,” said Randy Nobles, president and CEO, Habit for Humanity of South Palm Beach County.

By Marci Shatzman

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