LAWRENCE — Dressed in jeans, a sweatshirt, boots, a mask and a hard hat, Roxanna Mota spent the day yesterday laying pink insulation in the attic of what will soon be her new home.

"I'm very excited that I'm going to be moving soon," said Mota, a single mother of three children, ages 6, 10 and 13.

Mota, along with Wilma Maiocchi and Christine Woods, was working on the single-family home on Champlain Avenue as part of Women's Build, a Habitat for Humanity program underwritten by Lowe's where women pick up their hammers, screwdrivers and power tools to help build homes.

In addition to Champlain Avenue, Greater Lawrence Habitat for Humanity had volunteers working at the former St. Patrick Convent at Parker and Market streets, the scene of the devastating fire in 2008 that destroyed half a city block.

The convent at 100 Parker St. has been vacant for two years. The classic architectural facade will remain while the building is converted into 10 homes.

Some of the volunteers came from the Greater Boston Food Bank, while others work as account managers, college professors and publishers.

The women ranged in age from their 30s to their 70s. They did everything from demolition, laying down tiles, painting and installing closet rods.

Susan LaFlamme of North Andover said she wanted to get involved in the community now that her children are grown.

"I can paint and use a screwdriver, and everything else, I'm willing to learn it," said LaFlamme, an account manager at Millipore.

Others, like Nancy Crochiere of Amesbury, always wanted to volunteer for Habitat for Humanity and finally decided to do it after reading an advertisement for Women's Build.

"I thought this would be a great opportunity to start," Crochiere said.

Carol Ann Dalto of Newbury has been volunteering at Women's Build for the past three years.

"It's fun. I get to meet new people and develop new skills," said Dalto, a professor at Merrimack College. "I've learned to do something and make a difference."

Judy Wilkinson of Newbury was cleaning up the front yard at 100 Parker St.

"I know there's a need, and I can do the work," said Wilkinson, who has volunteered with Habitat for more than 20 years.

• • •

Join the discussion. To comment on stories and see what others are saying, log on to

Recommended for you