Shellie Layne is an Alabama Bright Light empowering women

All of us want a reward for our work. We all want to say after the hard work, “It was all worth it.”

That was how Shellie Layne felt when she founded the Women Under Construction Network in 2014. She had seen the need for women to repair their homes. Then she added a life parallel that teaches women to overcome obstacles through repairs and tools.

“I absolutely adore what we do,” Layne said. “Everyone has situations in their lives where they are forced to do things they never thought they could do. My situation, along with many others, was going through a divorce. I have a background in real estate and flipping houses, and I got divorced right as the market crashed, then I crashed as well. So Women Under Construction Network was a natural thing.

“At that time, I didn’t know how to do any kind of home repair. I remember crying in a Walmart aisle because I didn’t know anything about air conditioners.”

Shellie Layne is an Alabama Bright Light repairing homes and restoring lives from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

The Women Under Construction Network aims to repair homes, build up women and change lives. This is accomplished through programs, such as teaching women to be self-sufficient with tools and skills and make their own home repairs.

“Being a single mom, I decided to stop feeling sorry for myself and decided to do something different. I was writing a column for The Birmingham Times at the time called ‘At Home with Shellie,’ where I would explain things like how to fix a toilet or how to check for termites. That’s how Women Under Construction Network was started,” Layne said. “My column was about life and how home repair and tools can parallel life.”

The Women Under Construction Network reaches an audience in 18 states and 62 cities. Layne’s signature program is the Power Tool Socials, where women gather and learn about home repair and life restoration.

“We have a Tool Box Tuesday program where we bring in speakers to talk about things like self-esteem, depression, finances and other life issues,” Layne said. “Then we parallel that with tools and home repair.”

An example is the hard hat. Layne teaches that women have to protect themselves. The threats to single women require protection.

“When you consider social media and everything that’s coming at us as women, we need to have a hard hat. If we were to listen to all of the information coming in, we would get overwhelmed. Things are falling all the time,” Layne said. “The saw is a parallel for cutting things off. Many times women hold on for way too long. The saw is an example of how you have to cut bad things off.”

To accomplish her mission, Layne depends on the generosity of organizations, including the Alabama Power Foundation.

“The support from the Alabama Power Foundation has been tremendous. They are so in tune with helping people change lives in our state,” Layne said. “We hope our relationship with the Alabama Power Foundation continues. Their support enables us to change women’s lives.”

The ultimate for Layne is when she hears positive feedback about her work with Women Under Construction Network.

“When I hear women say things like ‘I was able to unclog my sink’ or ‘I was able to use a drill,’ it makes me so happy,” Layne said. “I know that woman feels empowered. It makes me feel like they aren’t just accomplishing home repair, but life repair. And that makes it all worth it.”

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Shellie Layne is an Alabama Bright Light empowering women

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