DIY expert Beth Allen teaches classes at Bucks County Community College


Beth Allen fixed her first faucet when she was 17. Her family never had enough money to hire a professional, her parents argued over how to do the job, and Allen decided she could do it herself.

Years later, Allen has channeled his DIY know-how into a growing business, DIY hip chicksand to empower other women to carry out home improvement projects themselves.

More and more women are doing just that, according to research.

More and more women are getting involved in all aspects of construction and home improvement – ​​women make up around 10% of all construction workers, a figure that is likely to increase by 6% d by 2030, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Lowes and Home Depot report that more than half of their customers are womenand they initiate 80% of home improvement projects.

Among them are Northampton resident Jessica Nyce and her mother, Mary, who recently completed a home improvement course led by Allen.

Nyce said she took the course because she wanted to do repairs and renovations in her home. Learning side-by-side with her mother was a bonus and helped strengthen their relationship, Nyce said.

“My mum and I decided to take Beth’s first introductory DIY class. I had heard about it, thought it was interesting and told my mum about it and she was also from the game,” Nyce said. “So we took this first course which lasted a few weeks.

“Beth taught us how to pick, hold, and use certain tools that would work best for us, and what projects we could handle at home,” Nyce added. “She also taught us what we should leave to the pros, and if we’re going with a pro, Beth taught us how to handle them and what to watch out for as the project (to improve the ‘habitat) continues.”

Allen, who is an author and has appeared on NBC, ABC, PHL, FOX and The Rachael Ray Show, said the women who seek her or her class come from countless backgrounds.

“I find most of the time the women who seek me out are either divorced, single, or have husbands who work full time and don’t have the time or interest” to complete the project, Allen said. . “And they find themselves wanting it done but can’t wait for it. And also, they may not have the income to hire a contractor.

“And some are struggling financially and having to do it economically, which I can relate to,” Allen added. “Everyone wants a home that looks good, but many women end up walking away from the program, more moved by the confidence boost that comes with it.

“They’re thrilled to have saved the money (by doing the home improvement project themselves) and they’re thriving with confidence.”

Allen said his family survived paycheck to paycheck and “DIY was a way of life because we just didn’t have any extra money” to hire people.

“I grew up doing garage sales and then fixing or fixing things to save money,” Allen said. “I always shop at thrift stores looking for something that needs to be kept. DIY is a practical, self-sufficient way of life.”

Allen teaches a five-week home improvement program at Bucks County Community Collegeduring which women learn tools, plumbing, painting and the basics of electricity, as well as weatherization techniques.

“I think Beth is really an inspiration and really knows her stuff,” Nyce said, noting that before she signed up for Allen’s course she had deep doubts if she could make repairs at home. she. “She really gives women the knowledge to do things you think you can’t do and gives you the confidence to do it.”

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Allen started teaching her class at Bucks County Community College in 2016, and interest in DIY, especially among women, has only grown since then, said Donna Kirn, director of continuing education and college community programs.

“Women have taken to the program more; it’s been a bit skewed due to the pandemic,” Kirn said. “These women come from all walks of life. And it was just amazing to watch these women grow every day and see that spark of joining other women, learning from them, and helping them.”

Allen typically enrolls 20 students in each class she teaches.

Kirn herself took Allen’s class and also enrolled in Allen’s Home Improvement Hero Academy. Academy participants receive 10 pre-recorded DIY video tutorials, lifetime access to printable content and resources, an invitation to a private Facebook group, group coaching calls every two weeks, and personal mentoring.

“It’s very empowering to have this knowledge and understanding,” said Florence Kawoczka, executive director of Habitat for Humanity Bucks County. “We don’t want anyone cutting off their electricity, but it also gives them the knowledge that if they need to call an electrician or a plumber, they know what they’re talking about.”

Habitat for Humanity Bucks County also offers several women-centric home improvement courses, and there has been a noticeable increase in the number of women enrolled in the nonprofit’s homeownership program.

You’ll never know what you’ll findA look inside Habitat for Humanity’s new Warminster ReStore

Habitat builds and rehabilitates houses with the help of the future owner. Habitat homes are sold to non-profit partner families and financed with affordable loans. Homeowners’ monthly mortgage payments are used to build more Habitat homes.

“What’s been cool lately — and we’ve been serving families of all shapes and sizes — but lately a string of single moms have been putting in a lot of hours of sweat, usually 100 to 200 hours,” Kawoczka said. “That way they can get a first-hand look at what’s behind the walls, make sure they’re comfortable installing plasterboard, patching holes, and understanding what’s going on with the electricity and plumbing.

This empowerment manifests when current owners make return visits, often showing off additions and improvements to their home.

Kawoczka said Habitat set up a house last June for a single mother with four children. The mum made a purchase from Habitat’s ReStore and excitedly showed off photos of her home and the cabinetry she completed and “was so rightly proud” of what she had achieved.

Kawoczka also noted that at another home dedication in December, this time the recipient being a single mother with two teenagers, one of the children stood up and spoke about her mother’s positive transformation.

“One of the teenage girls got up to speak, and she said she had seen her mother over the past few months working hard not only to make sure her finances were in order, but that her (new) home was also, painting it and doing everything else to make it a home,” Kawoczka said. “The teenager was so proud of her mother.


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