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WeBuild! Camp Inspires And Trains Girls To Be Builders: Faith Based Kindness Puts Tools In Girls' Hands

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Last summer 29 rising 4th-7th graders drilled, sanded, hammered their way into a stool they took home with them and built a chicken coop that was auctioned off to benefit the Rutherford Housing Partnership. Applications for this year's camp are at webui

Girl power will be putting hands on power tools again this July.

WeBuild!, the week long event last year was so inspiring to volunteer Malanie Price that she talked about it with anybody who would listen.

Her untimely passing on February 10 has left many of her friends and family promoting the WeBuild! event, July 20-24 with a memorial fund and lots of enthusiasm. The fund now stands at $1575 and will pay for scholarships for young girls, some of who will get their first exposure to the construction trades.

Donations to the Malanie Price memorial fund can be mailed to Rutherford Housing Partnership, P.O. Box 1525, Rutherfordton, 28139.

The day camp is for girls who are rising 4th-7th graders. Full cost for the camp is $120.

Women Roofers volunteer Jane Alexander Bell, who worked with the girls last year said, of the day camp, "It's fantastic. The first year was hugely successful; and it just keeps growing.

"To see these young girls so confident and so excited using power tools was loads of fun," Bell said. "We have such wonderful, caring people volunteering. And ICC has been a godsend. To have that facility for the camp has been great."

RHP director Nell Bovender said not enough young people are going into the construction trades. One of the goals of the WeBuild! week is to promote young people into the construction trades.

"I've heard from two mothers who said their daughters came home and said, 'I can do this.' One girl built a stool for a family member's Christmas present, using tools her family had at home," Bovender said.

She also said the May 2 Gears and Gables bike ride will also feature a memorial to Price and a t-shirt that will include her name.

"Malanie always sat at one of the rest stop tables, so this year it will be the Malanie Price Memorial Rest Stop," Bovender said.

Information on signing up for the camp is at webuildcamp.com on the web. There is also a dramatic and heart-warming video on the website. The Youtube video link is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KyZW4R3J0_M&feature=youtu.be

Bovender said, "We hope that not only will some of these girls choose the trades or at least continue this kind of work, we also hope some of them will grow up to say, 'Well, I could volunteer. I could go help somebody.'"

In the video one of last year's participants talked about the women roofers who sponsored the camp and who volunteered as supervisors. She said, "They just help so many people. They are so amazing. They are so kind. They will help you with anything you need."

Rutherford Housing Partnership is a local nonprofit founded in 1995 to provide urgently needed repairs to the homes of qualified low-income, elderly and disabled homeowners in Rutherford County, North Carolina. RHP provides materials; volunteers provide labor.

RHP is an alliance among churches and other volunteer groups. It provides urgent housing repairs to low-income, elderly and disabled homeowners.

In previous interviews both Bovender and Isothermal Planning and Development Commission's Scott Dadson have noted that Rutherford County has an aging housing stock. Dadson said the average year-built in Rutherford County is 1987, with much of the housing stock in the county being built many years before that.

Each summer about 400 volunteers come to Rutherford County to work on critical housing needs through Appalachia Service Project, Youth Works and Camp Tekoa.

In a brochure promoting the Malanie Price memorial fund, RHP asked for: Prayers, volunteer laborers, plumbers, electricians or other skilled workers, qualified project leaders to oversee or assess projects, sponsorship or participation as riders or volunteers in the annual Gears and Gables fundraising bike event on May 2, and/or help with pick-ups, sales or other volunteer efforts at the Habitat ReStore, a partnership with RHP.

Bovender has said on more than one occasion that her faith motivates her service to RHP and beyond. She is a Bible-believing Baptist and says her reading of the book has convinced her that helping people in need is critical to her faith journey.

Several years ago, Evangelical pastor Tony Campollo told Saddleback Church's Rev. Rick Warren that the Bible has over 2000 scriptures urging service to and care for the poor. Warren didn't believe him, so Campollo sent Warren a copy of the text with all 2000 verses highlighted in yellow. Warren shifted the focus of much of his ministry to serving the poor. Campollo told that story while delivering the Logan Preaching Mission in Rutherfordton.

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