Habitat for Humanity of McHenry County hosts Women Build at Wonder Lake home site

Single mother, her children will benefit from rehabbed home

When Gaby Zywiec’s husband died seven years ago, she was left in a tough financial position with her two children, Ally and Emmet. But things may have turned around with the help of Habitat for Humanity of McHenry County.

Teams of volunteers have been working on rehabbing a home in the 7600 block of Lucy Drive in Wonder Lake for the Zywiec family. This weekend was part of the organization’s Women Build event that brought female volunteers and Habitat for Humanity leaders together to help with the project.

“Typically this is a male-dominated industry,” said Sara Davis, the organization’s community outreach coordinator. “A lot of people are intimidated by it. We want to welcome everyone in so they can see what we do and realize its not so scary.”

The build took place Wednesday through Saturday. Crews took down the old siding and installed insulation, drywall and windows, Davis said.

The entire rehab won’t be done by late fall and volunteer opportunities are available, she said. The end result will be a three-bedroom, one bathroom, single-story home with a crawl space, she said.

Zywiec is helping with the construction. Habitat for Humanity requires its benefiting families to contribute 250 hours of volunteer hours an adult and 100 hours a child older than 16, Davis said. The family also is required to pay off the mortgage on the property after it’s theirs, with the payment capped at 30% of their income, Davis said.

“We don’t give away houses,” she said. “That is a big misconception.”

Zywiec said the program would help bring permanency for her family. Stability has been lacking since her husband’s death as she had to move from place to place because of financial struggles, despite being employed.

“A lot has happened, but this is a good place for us,” she said. “We are very excited. It’s exciting to have a place where I am not only raising my kids, but maybe my kids will be able to have their kids.”

Donna White, a volunteer onsite Saturday, said she came from Deer Park specifically to participate in the Women Build event.

“I think it’s great when women can be a bridge for one another,” she said. “We expect men to be able to do all of these kinds of things. But I think when we women can come together, really pitch in and exceed our own supposed limitations, it lifts us all up.”

To volunteer with Habitat for Humanity of McHenry County, visit

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