Habitat for Humanity Greater Toronto Area is proud to have Sherry Holmes back as our 2018 Women Build Ambassador!
We couldn’t ask for a better person to represent us at this year’s Women Build. As a woman in construction, Sherry got her start in the trades back in 2008 when she travelled to New Orleans to help build a hurricane- and flood-resistant home for a victim of Hurricane Katrina. Since then she’s been a permanent member of Mike Holmes’ Crew, appearing in Holmes In New Orleans, Holmes Inspection, and Holmes Makes It Right. Up next, Sherry will be starring in the brand new series, Holmes: Next Generation, where she will be joining forces with her brother Mike Holmes Jr. and Dad, Mike Holmes.
We asked Sherry a few questions to learn about her connection to Habitat for Humanity GTA, and what Women Build means to her.
- We know you are a strong advocate for women in trades, how does being a Women Build ambassador help promote your message?
I’m very excited to be a Women Build Ambassador as it gives me an opportunity to support a great cause and to work with a fantastic and inspiring group of women. The power, energy, and feeling of sisterhood we create in building homes for low-income families is truly inspiring. Helping people is really what it’s all about. It’s about caring and supporting your community and about looking beyond our front door. Some of the women I meet at this event are here to lend a hand and to support a good cause, and others are also here to try something new, gain confidence. If me being here helps inspire or encourage just one woman to try a construction related trade and possibly pursue it as a career, not to mention just the act of volunteering your time to help others, then I’ve done my job. I love helping people.
- Habitat for Humanity GTA is all about giving families a hand up, what role does family play in your life?
My family is huge for me. We are all pretty close and it keeps growing. My brother just got married, my sister is married with kids and I’m getting married at the end of this year! And of course, most people know I work really closely with my brother, Michael and of course, my Dad – Mike Holmes. All that “togetherness” plus the fact I’m on television can be challenging but knowing that they are always a phone call away for support is so special. Growing up we didn’t have much and I know how fortunate I am now and that’s why giving back is so important to me.
- Talk to us about your experience building homes in New Orleans… How has it made you into the women you are today? What has it made you realize about the importance of having a decent place to call home?
Wow! New Orleans was such a growing experience for me. Back then I was much younger and shy and lacked the confidence I now have. But the crew was great down there. They challenged me every day but were also hugely supportive and encouraging. I also had the opportunity to meet and work with some amazing women in the trades. Some of these women even had their own businesses. That was really inspiring to me. My dad will tell you I was the hardest working crew member there (he may be a bit biased) but I really felt I had to push myself to prove my worth but in the end, it all paid off. I proved to everyone but more importantly to myself that I had what it takes to be part of a construction crew and to be a leader. I loved it and I’ve never looked back. When I witnessed the devastation that Hurricane Katrina created it was the worst thing I’d seen. To have your entire life and home destroyed made me appreciate what I had at home – I had a family and a support system and a home. After the storm so many of the people from the 9th Ward had nothing. Helping one family get back on their feet was incredibly special to me and now when I have the opportunity to support or lend a helping hand to someone in need I step up.
- What is it about Habitat for Humanity GTA’s work and mission that appeals most to you?
It’s about giving back to the community. It’s about bringing together a group of women who share the same goal of helping a community. It’s about helping local, low-income families build a safe, decent affordable place to call home. Also there are Women Build chapters all across North America. It’s really special to know that women all across North America are coming together to support their communities. It’s so empowering and inspiring. I just wrapped up filming Holmes: Next Generation, where my brother and I help homeowners fix problems created by shoddy construction work. The most rewarding part of the experience was the homeowner’s reaction when they saw their new space. That’s what it’s all about.
- What was the most exciting part of your 2017 Women Build experience?
Being an ambassador for Habitat’s Women Build was truly an honour. When women come together to build each other up, it’s a wonderful thing. Witnessing this kind of camaraderie was so exciting. And getting to spend time with some of the deserving families who have directly benefitted from Habitat’s support and programming, was icing on the cake.
- What are you looking forward to most about Women Build 2018?
Women Build is a great event, for a great cause plus we have tons of fun! I get to meet some amazing women with a shared passion for giving back to the community and helping people. That is truly inspiring and I’m so excited to be a part of it!
It’s also an honour to be the one kicking off the event. I hope to see a great turnout at the event.
- What messages do you have for this year’s Women Build participants?
For a lot of the women here, it is the first time participating in an event like this and I say congratulations to each and every one of you for trying something different. I know it can be really scary trying something new, especially building a house but because you are here you’ve shown that you are brave enough to take a step outside your comfort zone. And I promise you it will change you. I’m hoping it will provide you with the empowerment and inspiration to continue to grow and challenge yourself – all for a good cause, for giving back to the community and for providing shelter and a new start for one family at a time. And the best part, it shows what we can achieve when a group of women join forces and work together to make a difference.
Want to get involved?