Sunday, February 12, 2012

Testimonials by the house recipients 2012


Habitat for Humanity Muskoka Testimonial: 
The Gillmore Family
Why have you chosen to apply for a Habitat for Humanity House?
We chose to apply for a Habitat for Humanity house for three reasons….
1/ We had heard so many wonderful things about being a partner family with Habitat Muskoka.
2/ We were growing increasingly scared, frustrated and upset by our current living conditions.
3/ Opportunity – They were advertising the new build in Muskoka and were accepting applications so we decided to take a chance and apply. 

What have been the unexpected joys of this experience ?
Tom : The unexpected joys of this experience for me have all centered around my volunteering with Habitat for Humanity as the Social Media Volunteer. When I started off I was “just going to put in my sweat hours and then I’m done!” Well, that QUICKLY changed into “I want to DO MORE than just put in my sweat hours, how else can I help?” I am very passionate about the work I do for Habitat and I believe so strongly in what they do that I made a long term commitment to volunteer with this organization and help to make the dream of home ownership possible for many future families.

Another unexpected joy for me has been seeing how involved my 6 year old daughter Makenna was in the build process and how passionate she is about the organization as well. She has decorated a bird house for a Habitat fundraising event, baked cookies and other goodies for the volunteers at the build site, she came with us to help paint some trim a few weeks ago…she even proudly wears her Habitat Muskoka volunteer ball cap and t-shirt every chance she gets! To this day she still asks Jenn and I on an almost daily basis “Can I please do something else for Habitat?” 
“Can we bake more cookies for the builders today Daddy?” 
“Mommy, can we go and visit the volunteers today and say HI?” 

Jenn : The unexpected joys of this experience for me has been to help with organizing the food for all the volunteers to ensure that they get to eat some yummy food  . Another amazing joy was to meet all the wonderful volunteers working on our house and to see their dedication and joy on their faces and to get to talk to them when I would come on the build site. As Tom said also to see the joy in our daughter face and voice when she would talk about Habitat and wanting to always do something for the volunteers ! Just being able to make a connection and make friends with everyone at Habitat for Humanity is a true JOY 
What have been the challenges?
Tom : For me, the challenges have been working through my disability to be able to fulfill my sweat hour requirement. Thankfully due to the amazingly supportive staff of Habitat Muskoka, I have been able to contribute in many meaningful ways while still logging the required hours. The staff chose to look at my unique health challenges and found a way to work with my strengths rather than focus on my weaknesses. When I walk in to the ReStore or the Habitat for Humanity Muskoka offices I have always been treated with dignity and respect which is something that I am so thankful for and to me speaks volumes about what a classy organization Habitat Muskoka is.

Jenn : The challenges for me were being pregnant when the process started and trying to work as many hours at my 2 call-in jobs to be able to qualify for my unemployment, taking our daughter to her numerous appointments along with my appointments for my pregnancy. Then, when our son was born he had 2 hospital admissions as he had been fairly sick. All the while worrying how am I going to be able to do my part of the sweat hours. This is what warmed my heart about how amazing the people are at Habitat for Humanity are because they worked with me to find ways for me to be able to obtain my portion of the hours.
What will owning a home mean for your family?
Wow, I’m not sure I can even put in to words how much of a positive, life changing effect having a safe, affordable home will mean to our family! It will mean the achievement of a dream for Jennifer and I, the dream of having a home where our kids can be safe and healthy, an environment where everyone can heal, grow and prosper. After living in substandard housing for so long, we eagerly anticipate the safety and security that a new Habitat Muskoka home will provide us. 
What does “a hand up, not a hand out” mean to you?
What it means to us is that we weren’t just given a house, we were afforded an opportunity to own a home! This isn’t Extreme Makeover: Home Edition…we worked hard to be able to contribute to the building of our home and the feeling of pride that comes with not only building but paying for our own house is tremendous!

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