From April 18th to April 24th Habitat Greater Ottawa is celebrating National Volunteer week, where we will recognize our incredible volunteers for all that they do.
This year’s theme is The Value of One, The Power of Many, which showcases the awe-inspiring acts of kindness by our volunteers and the magic that happens when we come together for a common cause. Stay tuned to learn more about some of our volunteers are and how they help local families every day.
Meet Kristina, Women’s Build Volunteer
“From the moment I was invited to participate with a team for Women’s Build I was instantly intrigued. After working decades in the Real Estate, Property Management and Construction sector, I understood the connection Habitat Greater Ottawa had with the industry.
Participating in Women’s Build was an incredible experience. One of my favourite parts is that it presents a great alternative to a typical networking type of event. It is an opportunity to get out, push yourself a bit, learn new skills while spending quality time with open-minded people and most importantly, providing an opportunity to give back and change the trajectory of local families’ lives.
While you are volunteering on site there are so many hilarious moments that I will forever cherish. One time I had a battle with a stripped drill bit, which caused me to do some harm to a series of wood screws and at the time, I did not understand what the issue was. I was working beside a good friend and we laughed and laughed as I struggled with this tool.
For anyone who is interested in Women’s Build – do not give it a second thought, sign up! No one has to be nervous or concerned about their skill level. From the moment you sign up for Women’s Build to the second you start volunteering on the build site, the process could not be better organized. The professionals who are on site are friendly, knowledgeable and supportive. Your life will undoubtedly be enriched by this experience.”
Meet Lindsay, Volunteer Board Member
“I started volunteering with Habitat Greater Ottawa in 2014 with Women Build. I had such a great time working alongside other passionate volunteers. As I continued volunteering and increasing my involvement with the organization, I asked many questions because I wanted to learn about the impact Habitat had on families and the community. The more I learned, the more I loved the organization. Volunteerism has become a part of my identity; I think it is important that we as citizens of our communities give back in whatever capacity we can.
Currently, I am Chairing the Governance Committee and I have learnt a great deal about the complexity of running a charitable organization. Not only has it been an incredible opportunity for professional development but I get to make an impact for a cause that I am so passionate about.
One of my favorite parts about volunteering with Habitat Greater Ottawa is the range of knowledge that my fellow board members have, which gives us the ability to work on projects together. I am constantly amazed and inspired by the commitment and dedication of the staff and volunteers who have a profound sense of duty for the greater good of our community.
For anyone interested in volunteering with Habitat Greater Ottawa I would say you should be passionate about what we do. Providing families with the opportunity for affordable homeownership can shift an entire family’s future and their physical, emotional and economic well-being for generations to come. If Habitat feels right for you, the best thing you can do is learn more about the organization and reach out to find out where help is needed – we are always looking for more helping hands!”
Meet Fiona, ReStore Volunteer
“I have always shopped at the ReStore, there are so many unique finds there! One day I was at the store shopping and a friendly volunteer went out of her way to help me, this inspired me to begin volunteering at the ReStore in 2018.
While volunteering I have made so many fun memories. Sometimes when items are donated, we have no idea what the item is. There was a day that a wine-bottling kit came in and the cork press looked like a piece of complicated machinery. Since I have previously bottled wine myself, I knew what it was but some of the staff were confused of what it could be. Luckily, I was able to clear up the mystery and we all had a good laugh about it.
I am retired now but I used to work in the technology sector, where I managed various aspects of construction. Truthfully, volunteering at the ReStore is one of the best experiences I have ever had. It is amazing to think that I have already completed 300 volunteer hours to date and I am excited to see those hours grow. At the end of every shift, I am constantly amazed by the level of appreciation the staff show me!”
Meet Bob, ReStore Volunteer
I’m a husband of 50 years, parent, grandparent, and a bonafide world traveller. After spending time in Nova Scotia, South Carolina, China, and Kingston, I found my way to the Belfast ReStore and have been volunteering there since 2017.
I enjoy puttering at electronics and woodworking, so the ReStore was a natural fit for me. It is so satisfying to repair, modify and adjust items which may be discarded otherwise. I also enjoy seeing the creativity of other volunteers who have made art pieces out of odds and ends.
I have believed for all my adult life in the “Three Rs” (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) so that is a natural reward in volunteering here. My advice to others is to “go for it!”.
Meet Robb, Family Selection Committee Volunteer
“A couple years ago, I went on community-building trips to Sri Lanka and Nicaragua with different volunteer organizations. I loved seeing the sparkle in the children’s eyes (as well as their parents) as we worked towards building a place for them to learn, grow and reach their full potential. I did not want that feeling to end. In 2015, I joined the Family Partnering Committee at Habitat Greater Ottawa to continue to experience the amazing feeling of helping others access safe and affordable homes. I eventually became Chair of the Committee and once my term ended, I could not imagine leaving the organization. In late 2019, I transferred to the Family Selection Committee and have been actively participating ever since.
My favourite experience while volunteering on the Family Partner Committee has been observing the families’ journeys along the way to home ownership. It is incredible to see how excited the families get when we share progress pictures of their homes being built. My favourite part of the Family Selection Committee is knowing that I will be helping to select hard-working families enter into the program which will allow them to achieve home ownership.
I encourage anyone who is thinking of volunteering with the Family Selection Committee to do it! You will be joining a supportive team of people that are fun to interact and work with at every meeting. There is no stress involved in this volunteer position. Having the ability to participate in the decision-making process gives you a sense of pride knowing that you have helped families locally achieve their goals. Many people say “shop local”, but this opportunity allows you to “help local”.”
Meet Anne-Marie, Family Selection Committee Volunteer
“I’ve been with Habitat so long that I can’t tell you what it was like before volunteering! I am a Real Estate and Wills/Estates lawyer at Perley-Robertson, Hill & McDougall in downtown Ottawa and have been working with Habitat since I became a lawyer. I have always enjoyed my time with them.
Raised in Ottawa, and now raising my own daughters here, it is great to have an opportunity to give back to other local families. Having a role on the Family Selection Committee has meant I can meet the amazing families – that has been my favourite part! When sharing with the newest families what it means to own a condo, I found them engaged and excited and it was a wonderful experience! As a member of the committee, learning more about the rigorous process the families have to go through to be selected has also put my own life into perspective. It is definitely worthwhile to volunteer and I recommend it to anyone!
Through COVID, I’ve been grateful to be able to maintain an active life with my husband, teenage daughters, and pets.”
Meet Kim, Build Site Volunteer
“Out of school I earned my Masters in mechanical Engineering, it was a lot of work but I am happy I got it. I ended up not working in my field of study and instead focused on homeschooling my two children from kindergarten to graduation. Once my two children were done with school, I was looking for something to do in my newly found spare time. In 2018, my friend Andrea invited me to come volunteer with Habitat Greater Ottawa on the build site.
Volunteering was one of the best choices I have made. Habitat Greater Ottawa is such an incredible organization to be involved with. Whether it is staff or other volunteers, everyone on the build site is so happy which makes a fun atmosphere to volunteer in. When I first started, I never had a construction background but when I got to the build site I quickly learned that everyone creates a space where you can learn and grow. Everyone was willing to help me build my skills along the way.
I also really enjoyed working alongside future Habitat homeowners. Through the course of a build cycle, I actually became friends with one of the homeowners. When it came time for their Key Ceremony, there was not a dry eye in the room and that is when I finally realized that I was a part of something special.
I would have never thought that I would have a favourite tool, but after volunteering, I can officially say it is the ladder. The reason being is that all this time I have spent on the build sites has given me an opportunity to get over my fear of heights. If you do not keep expanding your boundaries, they close in on you!”