Habitat for Humanity – Women Build!

Emily Chalker Lane, Director of Development, Manatee County Habitat for Humanity, was the featured guest speaker at the LWRWC April 13 General Meeting. As a fourth-generation Floridian, who grew up visiting building sites with her father, a structural engineer, Emily is enthusiastic about helping deserving families build better futures for themselves and their children through affordable home ownership.

Emily began her presentation sharing alarming data indicating that affordable housing is a major ongoing challenge in Manatee County and one of the top concerns for the local business community. Since 1994, Manatee County Habitat for Humanity has helped more than 126 families and 338 children obtain affordable housing and home ownership.

Emily outlined the key factors that make Habitat for Humanity so effective. It begins with careful screening when selecting families by making sure they can qualify for a mortgage and completing a background check. The next important steps include providing financial management training and requiring that the homeowners complete 300 hours of “sweat equity.” Other crucial components include using volunteers to reduce the cost of labor, ensuring that the mortgage payment does not exceed 30% of the monthly expenses; providing down payment assistance as needed; providing interest free mortgage; and providing support for the family through the life of the mortgage.

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Sip and Saddle

Lakewood Ranch Women’s Club members visited Sarasota Manatee Association for Riding Therapy (SMART) on Monday, March 28. The morning site visit began with a hayride to meet Dan, a SMART client who is training for dressage despite being physically challenged from a stroke many years ago that cost him use of his left side. The members were inspired by Dan’s courageous spirit and his goal to compete in the next Paralympics.

After the meeting with Dan, SMART treated the groujp to a light brunch complete with mimosas. After brunch, LWRWC presented SMART with a $150 donation check as well as in-kind donations and treats for the SMART horses.

LWRWC is very proud to sponsor two horses; a horse named Norman, and a beautiful 16-hand bay quarter horse with no eyes named Magic, who learned to function flawlessly despite being blind. Magic helps SMART Riders overcome their own daunting challenges and serves as an inspiration to Autistic children, who often have trouble making eye contact, but find it easy to bond with the horse without eyes.

SMART is located at 4640 CR 675 E. Bradenton, Florida, on a beautiful 23-acre equestrian facility. LWRWC is a proud supporter of SMART, a primarily volunteer 501(c)(3) tax deductible organization since 1987, that fills a crucial need for effective educational and therapeutic programs for children (ages 5 and over) and adults with a wide range of physical, emotional, or cognitive disabilities.