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How Women Under Construction Network Plans to Build Momentum in 2022

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Shellie Layne, founder of Women Under Construction Network. (FILE)
By Haley Wilson
The Birmingham Times

Women Under Construction Network (WUCN), a Birmingham-based nonprofit, has announced a new 2022 leadership team with 20 area women from all walks of life who will continue the group’s mission to “repair homes” and “build women.”

“We want to bring new, fresh, and inspiring ideas into our organization,” said Shellie Layne, founder of WUCN.

WUCNetwork is dedicated to women and their children from underserved communities facing critical economic/provisional needs. Past initiatives include support for victims of domestic violence and homelessness.

The 2022 leadership team consists of doctors, women with PhDs, stay-at-home moms and numerous other areas who are part of the I BUILD-University Women’s Leadership Institute and who will help coordinate events.

“We want to be able to capitalize on what every woman does from every walk of life because we believe that we’re helping out some woman somewhere,” Layne said. “This volunteer leadership team is so important because they [the leadership team] come with a with a myriad of skills, talents, and gifts. In many cases, they work full time jobs, or have their own companies or they’re working at home to be with their children…but they’re volunteering to help others, be able to do events and learn additional leadership skill.”

Dr. Kim McCall, Assistant Professor and Biotechnology Regulatory Affairs Specialist for the UAB Department of Clinical and Diagnostic Sciences, said she is excited to serve on WUC’s new leadership board for 2022.

“I’ve been a member for WUC for over two years and the work done within the organization is incredible,” she said. “I get to work with an awesome team of women — in terms of 2022…we will be planning projects that help build women, that help motivate women, and that change lives. We are working to restore and repair and we’re doing it as a team.”

She added, “I’m particularly interested in brining mental health awareness issues to light. That is one of my passions and I plan to utilize my resources at The University of Alabama at Birmingham to make our events and panel discussions engaging and informing.”

Layne points to two planned signature events in 2022:

Building Hope 2022

“Last year, we did 21 days of kindness. This year, we’ll do 22 days of kindness in the. And basically, that is going to allow women to be all over Central Alabama with a concentration in Birmingham. “Building hope allows us to do random and planned acts all throughout Central Alabama, anything from gas cards to women to grocery cards. To flowers to baskets, just anything that is going to help to raise the women’s awareness of who they are and how special they are as women.”

“[In 2021] we did everything from celebrating female police officers to female firefighter firefighters, to folks who are in the medical field to first responders to stay-at-home moms, to elderly women to help women to understand how important they are and how special they are.

“October is breast cancer awareness and domestic violence awareness month. “We capitalize on that because so many of our women are dying. And we don’t just concentrate on breast cancer we concentrate on mental wellness also because that’s something that we just push aside.

Pink is for health issues and breast cancer; purple for domestic violence and orange for women under construction and how ladies rebuild their lives, Layne said.

Initiatives that weekend range from online to panel discussions, she said.

Carlisha Harris, a senior at Miles College and WUC’s social media manager, said last year’s Unbreakable event was a success. “The biggest thing was spreading awareness for women’s health issues and domestic violence… I was able to help someone after that event. It means the world to me to be able to be in a position to help other people.”

Harris said WUC has helped women of all ages. “I know a lot of people who attend my college and may think we can’t serve them. It doesn’t matter how young or how old you are, we can definitely help you.”

Jackie French, who serves as Administration and Outreach coordinator, added, “there are women out there who don’t have anybody to talk to… especially single women. This organization is filled with some loving women, with all sorts of different stories…single, single parent, divorced, widowed, and we are here to help every one to grow spiritually, personally, and professionally.”

For more information on Women Under Construction call (205) 578-8929 or visit www.wucnetwork.org