Neighborhood resident Irene Hosford is a partner in her law firm, Hosford & Creasey, P.C. She helps her clients form and manage their own businesses, and has 23 years of experience in commercial real estate and business law.


          But this month, she’ll add one more skill to her resume: home-building.


          That’s because Hosford is chair-elect of the CREW Foundation, the national philanthropic arm of CREW, or Commercial Real Estate Women.


       CREW is a nonprofit organization of commercial real estate professionals who provide opportunities for networking, education, leadership development and civic/philanthropic involvement.


       One of CREW’s latest projects involves working with Girls Incorporated of Metropolitan Dallas, an organization dedicated to improving the lives of girls in disadvantaged homes. In addition to after-school mentoring programs, CREW and Girls Inc. are working with Lowe’s Home Improvement and Habitat For Humanity to build a home for a Girls Inc. family.


          “We saw an opportunity to use our mentoring skills with Girls Inc. to teach them not merely how to build a house, but how to find good jobs and be self-sufficient women,” Hosford says. “We want to show them opportunities, to say: ‘You can hold a hammer in your hand, but you can also be a construction supervisor. You can be a real estate lawyer. You can be a broker.’”


          CREW has contributed $30,000 to the build project, and that contribution was matched by Lowe’s. Over a 10-day period, about 300 volunteers will help construct the house, which will be in the Pinebrook subdivision of South Dallas . The keys will be turned over to a Dana Davis, a single 34-year-old mother of three, on Mother’s Day.


          Hosford, who moved to our neighborhood almost two years ago, says she hopes this project will inspire similar ones both in Dallas and in other parts of the country.


“I get excited when I see programs like this, because women know so clearly the help that other women in this world need,” she says. “And they know so clearly how to go about providing that help.”


          And though she has rarely picks up a hammer, she is looking forward to the process of building the house.


          “It’ll be some great days in the sunshine with the camaraderie of participating with women that I know and respect,” she says. “Most anything you do — whether it’s giving money or time on a committee or board, or spending time out there hammering or painting — you’re feeling good.


“Step by step,” she says, “we are systemically changing lives by doing things like this.”


Click to sign up for the Advocate's weekly news digest and be the first to know what’s happening in Preston Hollow.