ELGIN, Ill. - A woman's place is rebuilding a kitchen, bedrooms, bathrooms and more to help a single mother in Illinois live a better life.
This fall, registered nurse and mother of six Joleena Meija learned that through the assistance of Habitat for Humanity and Build Sponsor Underwriters Laboratories, she would be able to move from her crowded three bedroom apartment to a five bedroom restored Victorian home.
"I just can't believe it!” Meija said. "With seven of us, it's been a tight squeeze for a long time. My kids are so excited to have their own rooms."
Women working on the build said this is about so much more than giving Meija and her children more room to grow.
"It's all about empowering women, and it's to help a single mom,” Kim McIver of Habitat for Humanity Northern Fox Valley said.
Friday, in honor of International Women's Day, dozens of women showed up with hammers and drills to help.
"Personally, it means a lot to know we are doing it for a woman who's worked so hard to provide for her children. It makes it all worth it," Barb Gurthrie of Underwriters Laboratories said. Among the women donating their time to help build the home was the sovereign ruler of Medieval Times, Queen Maria Isabella. Her Majesty was there to support women, too.
"We like to do this thing at Medieval Times called 'chivalry in action,' so we give back to the community,” she said. “That I get to be here is an opportunity to do just that.”
The home is expected to be finished for Meija and her children by late May.
"I couldn't help but cry seeing everybody here and helping out. They're all volunteering their time just to help my family have a better home,” she said.