Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

May 9, 2012

Woman power

Tahlequah Area Habitat for Humanity is participating in its fifth Women Build project this week.

TAHLEQUAH — When a groggy Crystal Coats answered a knock at her door recently, she never expected home ownership would be her reward.

Coats, a single mother of two, is the recipient of Tahlequah Area Habitat for Humanity’s fifth annual Women Build project: A 1,070 square-foot, three-bedroom home.

Of course, she’ll be putting her own elbow grease into the project, since “sweat equity” is part of the agreement involved in the selection process.

“A few months ago, I was notified by Sarah Davidson of Help-In-Crisis that I’d been selected to fill out a Habitat application,” said Coats. “When [TAHFH Executive Director Linda] Cheatham showed up at my door to tell me in person I’d been selected, I was shocked at first, really excited and happy.”

An initiative of Habitat for Humanity’s Women Build program – the fifth annual Women Build Week, sponsored by Lowe’s – challenges women to devote at least one day between May 5-13 to creating affordable housing.

Cheatham said this year, TAHFH held its Women Build event on Saturday, May 5, and had a large delegation of volunteers.

“The Women Build Week runs through Mother’s Day, but we like to have our event on the first weekend, rather than the last, because what would you do if you had bad weather?” asked Cheatham. “We had a lot of women volunteer this year  who had never participated before, and each received a purple, Women Build T-shirt. Our goal for the day was to raise the first wall, which we accomplished.”

This year’s Women Build theme is “The Build Generation,” which reflects the goal to recruit and train women volunteers, as well as welcome the next generation of Habitat women builders – young women, ages 18-24 – to help support Habitat’s mission to create affordable housing.

“Women have the capability and determination necessary to build Habitat for Humanity houses, addressing the problem of substandard housing in a concrete way so that families have safe, decent and affordable homes,” said Cheatham. “Poverty housing is a severe threat to children’s health, growth and potential.”

According to the Census Bureau, in the U.S. more than 12 million children – one out of every six – is living in poverty.

Women volunteers boost Habitat’s capacity to build more houses and serve more families. More than 1,900 Women Build houses have been built since the program began in 1998.

In the run up to Women Build, TAHFH and Lowe’s held classes to prepare women volunteers for the task. In conjunction with Women Build, Lowe’s awarded Tahlequah Area Habitat for Humanity a $5,000 grant, which is provided in the form of a gift card to be used for supplies at the local store.

“As part of the event we, in cooperation with Lowe’s, sponsor classes,” said Cheatham. “This year, participants learned how to frame a house. A Lowe’s employee showed us how to build two walls and join them together. The second class was learning about trim and interior painting. The classes are free, and while we had five or six women participate in each class, we’d really like to have more.”

On Saturday, build day, two shifts of women worked on House No. 19 on Short Street, near Bluff and First. Throughout the morning, the weather threatened to spoil their efforts.

“I was getting reports from Hulbert, where it was raining cats and dogs, and Fort Gibson, where they had hail,” said Cheatham. “Fortunately, all we got here were a few sprinkles.”

According to Cheatham, House No. 19 is slated for a “rapid build,” and volunteers hope to have the project complete by the end of June.

“We begin regular construction May 15, and if the house is certified as occupied by the end of June, we can qualify for a $5,000 grant from Habitat International,” said Cheatham. “We’ll working Tuesdays through Saturdays until the home is complete. Hopefully, since Northeastern State University will be in intersession, we’ll get university volunteers. As the final work progresses in June, we hope to get public school teachers involved, as well as the general public.”

Cheatham said TAHFH accepts volunteers from all skill levels.

“We recommend those interested in volunteering sign up on our website – www.tahlequahhabitat.org – and click on the Volunteer Now tab,” said Cheatham. “We’re also looking for people to help with light meals, and anyone looking to help with that can contact the office at (918) 453-1332.”

Cheatham has been involved with TAHFH for 20 years and has served as executive director for the past four years. She believes the Women Build event helps women gain confidence in their abilities and forges lasting friendships.

“We’ve had groups of friends participate, groups of co-workers, and women who, after working on a home, find things they’d like to do to their own homes,” said Cheatham.

“It’s very empowering.”

Get involved

To learn more about Tahlequah Area Habitat for Humanity, visit www.tahle quahhabitat.org, or call (918) 453-1332.

Text Only
Local News
  • rf-poker-run-main.jpg Poker run

    Fundraiser was in the cards for local philanthropic group

    It was perfect weather, with temperatures in the high 80s Saturday, as boaters filled their vessels with friends for a fun afternoon on Lake Tenkiller. A crowd gathered at Cookson Bend Marina, and folks lined up to support a local charity event.
    As fundraisers go, the Beta Sigma Phi Mu Omega Poker Run last Saturday could be considered huge success, as nearly $9,000 was collected.

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • bilbrey-anthony.jpg Man arrested for blackmailing woman for sex

    Cherokee County sheriff’s deputies put a man behind bars Monday night after he allegedly tried to blackmail a woman by threatening to post nude photos of her on the Internet if she did not meet him for sex.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Peach_photo_2.jpg Peach crop lean, but fruit still available

    Summer is all about peaches in Porter – especially at Livesay Orchard.
    The Livesay Orchard is still busy a week after Porter’s annual peach festival. The orchard’s crop this year was cut in half from what had previously been expected, according to Kent Livesay, one of the owners of the orchard.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • jackson-jaymee.jpg Tot’s injuries prompt abuse charges for two local residents

    A Tahlequah couple was formally charged Tuesday with child neglect and child abuse after an 18-month-old girl was found with a number of injuries.

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • proctor-micah.jpg Pair accused of threatening man

    Two men behind bars at the Cherokee County Detention Center are accused of wielding a knife and gun and assaulting a man at a trailer park on West Keetoowah Sunday afternoon.
    Tahlequah Officer Reed Felts spoke with Reinaldo Flores, who told officers he heard a knock on his door and went to answer it.

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • Reach Higher an innovative approach to college

    The “Reach Higher” degree completion program is helping many Oklahoma students go back to school without drastically changing their lives.
    “This program is designed for working adults,” said Tim McElroy, program coordinator at the NSU- Muskogee campus.

    July 30, 2014

  • City attorney, others questioned chamber use of tourism tax

    Letters written in 2006 by City Attorney Park Medearis to former city councilor and Tahlequah Area Tourism Council board member Jack Spears suggest money from a hotel-motel tax could be disbursed through an agent other than the Chamber of Commerce, without voter approval.

    July 30, 2014

  • Hulbert council discusses Internet service

    During a meeting Tuesday night, members of the Hulbert Town Council discussed the possibility of Lake Region Electric Cooperative’s extending its cable and Internet service.

    July 30, 2014

  • ts-marching-MAIN.jpg Marching in step

    Tahlequah High School Orange Express Marching Band kicks off 2014 season with summer drills.

    The Tahlequah High School Orange Express Marching Band has added 30-35 freshmen to its roster this year, and drills began for the newest members last Thursday.

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • studie-roberta.jpg Woman accused of stealing cash, taking it to casino

    A 35-year-old Tahlequah woman is free on bond after she allegedly took $1,200 from a man who had been jailed for old warrants.
    Cherokee County sheriff’s deputies said they spoke with Jason Jones last week after Jones was arrested by park rangers for the outstanding warrants. Jones said he came to Oklahoma to see family, and when he was arrested, he left his wallet and cash with one of his daughters.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo


Do you believe school administrators and college presidents in Oklahoma are paid too much?

Strongly agree.
Somewhat agree.
Somewhat disagree.
Strongly disagree.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA