VALDOSTA -- With a wood-handled hammer in hand, Jasmine Williams, 10, drove nails into pieces of wood Thursday morning until her arms ached. Within an hour, the South Georgia heat and humidity had defeated the stamina often associated with the young.

"I have been hammering the boards on the bottom," said the rising Southeast Elementary School fifth grader as she wiped the sweat from her brow.

Williams showed off her skills and the small storage shed under construction in the front parking lot of Lowe's on Saint Augustine Road. Her fellow Boys and Girls Club members worked steadily in the background beneath yellow "hard" hats.

A total of 27 nine- and 10-year-old boys and girls participated in the Lowe's Kids Build. It was a first-time joint effort of the company, Valdosta-Lowndes County Habitat for Humanity, and the Boys and Girls Club of Valdosta.

Malik Roberts, 9, said the best part of working on the project was hammering in the nails. The hardest part was picking up the walls, added the rising Southeast Elementary School fourth grader.

Relaxing on a nearby grassy area, 9-year-old Jay McEady said he plans to build a similar structure at home with some help from his father. The rising Moulton-Branch Elementary School fourth grader said he'll make it a clubhouse for boys only.

"There will be no girls allowed," he said, tossing his head back and laughing.

Ronnie Perry, sales manager at Lowe's, hopes to continue offering summer building projects for area children in the future.

He said the effort encourages teamwork and allows the children to create something using their very own hands.

"The kids absolutely get a kick out of this," he added. "They will show this structure off all weekend to family members and friends. They're proud of it."

To contact reporter Jessica Pope, call (229) 244-3400, ext. 255.

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