“I am a single mom to 17-year-old twins. We had been living in a 400-square-foot cabin about an hour from town when an opportunity came up that would allow me to purchase some land and build my own home closer to town and my kids’ school.
I have always been interested in natural building but I don’t have a carpentry background so I enrolled in the Carpenter Foundation program in Salmon Arm.
I was the only woman in the class and much older than my classmates, so I was a bit nervous at first, but I got over it quickly and really enjoyed the class. The instructor was just amazing, and I always felt like part of the crew even though most of the other students were my kids’ age.
When COVID-19 first hit, we were still in the classroom, and the College got us up and running online with only one missed day. It was very well organized and executed.
Although the onsite portion was delayed a bit, that gave me some extra time to work on my straw bale home, with frequent calls to the instructor as I encountered challenges.
Awards are hugely important. There are a lot of barriers to people who are low income or women entering the field non-traditionally, and the support is what makes it possible. The grants and awards enabled me to take enough time from work to complete the course and support my family; I could not have done it without this support.
I am planning to take what I am learning from building my home and my experience running a business to help other home builders interested in natural building.
It is exciting, challenging and sometimes overwhelming to build my own home. The Carpenter Foundation class taught me to take it one step at a time, and gave me the confidence to keep going.
I think I expanded my boundaries and I did something I was apprehensive about.
I never thought I would find myself going back to school again, but I am glad I took the leap.”