ABOVE: Maria Herrera, lower right, sits with her mother, Estella; and her son Abraham. // SUBMITTED
The gala event will help fund the Women Build program, in which mostly women volunteers build a Habitat for Humanity home.
This year’s build has already started, with volunteers partnering with single mother Maria Herrera to build a three-bedroom home in Fairview.
Maria Herrera emigrated from Colombia 16 years ago, leaving behind a difficult marriage.
“Those days with my ex-husband were emotionally traumatizing, and it has taken me years to recover,” she said. “My hope for the future is that I will live a life of peace and service to others.”
She came to New Jersey without speaking a word of English, so her job prospects were limited. She worked as a waitress and a cook among other jobs that allowed her to care for her young child. She also enrolled in community college to master the English language.
In 2005, Maria; her mother, Estella; and her son, Abraham, relocated to Middle Tennessee to be near her sister.
“It was pretty rough in New Jersey, she explains. “There was a lot of gang activity, and I worried all the time about my son. I love living somewhere safe, but it has been tough to make ends meet in Williamson County. We live in a 2-bedroom apartment, so I share my room with my son. Abraham is ecstatic about having a room of his own.”
Maria works two jobs, one as a cashier at Costco and a second as a part-time administrative assistant at St. Phillip Catholic Church in Franklin, where her reputation of joyful service is well known.
“We are so grateful to everyone at Habitat for Humanity for this opportunity,” she said. “It is a blessing to have the community gather together to help our family. My hope is that my home will extend beyond blessing only my family and that it will become a blessing for others as well.”
Abraham, 16, a budding musician, dreams of attending The Juilliard School of Music.
“I play guitar and I am hopeful that I can begin writing songs as well,” Abraham said. “Having my own room will allow me to practice without disturbing my mom.”
“Because rent in Franklin is so expensive, I have had to work many hours to provide for my family,” Maria Herrera said. “With a stable, affordable mortgage, I know I can devote more time to serving others.”
Every dollar raised at the Hammers and High Heels event will go directly to the bricks and sticks of this year’s Women Build home.
Construction on the Women Build home began on April 11.
6:30 to 11 p.m.
Click here to see all the event information.