Friday, December 11, 2015

HFH Gateway North News 12.11.2015

A Visit from Alfred Nikolai

Alfred Nikolai (standing, right), President & CEO of HFH Edmonton, shared stories, words of wisdom and more with Habitat for Humanity Ontario Gateway North staff, volunteers and Board of Directors on Saturday, December 5th. Alfred has served as the President & CEO of Habitat Edmonton since 2005.
Orillia/Lake Country Edition
Orillia ReStore Update

Randy Pauk, Orillia ReStore Manager (top photo, left) chats with David Morris, CEO (top photo, right). Randy has been working at out Orillia location for over 3 months and is now stepping into the ReStore Manager role. While there is lots to learn, Randy is ready to meet the challenge with a joke and a helping hand. If you haven't stopped by recently, Randy is hard at work with the help of many volunteers to have great products out on the floor. Like all of our Habitat Gateway North ReStore locations, the Orillia ReStore is full of great finds!
What Is A ReStore?

After spending a few days helping at the Orillia ReStore, I was surprised to note how few people know what a ReStore is. Why shop at a ReStore? ReStores are not just about home building items. You can get great budget friendly deals on everything from a couch to the kitchen sink, and everything in between! Even better, all purchases are tax free and the money you spend at a ReStore is a donation to help build homes in your area. Everything is donated and all products are sold at 50 to 80% off their original price. While I know how great ReStores are, I didn't realize how many more people we still need to tell! If you haven't found something great at your local ReStore yet, I know you will!

Carmen Agius
Fundraising Chair
Orillia Lake Country Chapter
Espanola Update

The first major hurdle is passed! After breaking ground on November 28th, the footings are in place on our Adelaide St. Build Site. Soon we will have a pressure treated wood foundation and we'll have nowhere to go but up from here! No wonder Jeff Lapierre’s build crew are so happy!
In This Issue:
* A Visit from Alfred Nikolai
* Orillia ReStore Update
* What is a ReStore?
* Espanola Update
* Christmas Party
* From the CEO's Desk
* Green Terra Homes Tour
* Bracebridge Santa Claus Parade
* Quote of the Week
The Newsreel: Quick Facts to Keep You Informed!
* Our ReStores will be closed on Christmas Day (December 25th), Boxing Day (December 26th) and New Year's Day (January 1st). All other days are regular hours.
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Hello Habitat Gateway North!

Last week it was exceptionally special to have Alfred Nikolai, President & CEO of HFH Edmonton, join us for our staff & volunteer Christmas party, as well as our Board of Directors meeting.

While Alfred's presence, support and experience were incredibly valuable to us all (HFH Edmonton was in a similar place in 2005 when Alfred took the helm), I found it just as wonderful for Alfred to be learning new efficiencies and gaining ideas from our ReStore and administrative staff. Alfred took a tour around our Bracebridge ReStore and I could see the enthusiasm from our staff and volunteers reflected in his excitement to learn fresh ideas and take them back to Edmonton. As I chatted with Alfred last Friday afternoon he commented, "It really is the best part of my job. I've been to ReStores and affiliates all across Canada and I always come home with just as many ideas as I think I've given out." There is, and always should be, room to grow and more learn.

"Forgive yourself for not knowing what you didn't know before you learned it." - Doe Zantamata

As we are now a year into operating as a regional affiliate, I have seen Habitat Gateway North grow in leaps and bounds. While at times there has been the feeling of one step forward, two steps back, we would not be at the point we now are without those experiences.

With 2016 almost upon us (three weeks from today!), I am looking back on 2015 in both professional and personal capacities to see what I've learned and how I've grown. For Habitat Gateway North as a whole, I think 2016 holds many exciting opportunities. Let's learn together, from each other, and make great things happen.

Be well, do good deeds and keep in touch,

Volunteer & Staff Christmas Party

HFH Edmonton CEO Alfred Nikolai (centre) shared Christmas cheer with Bracebridge ReStore Manager Jessica Kozack and her husband John at last week's staff and volunteer Christmas get-together. 
From the CEO's Desk

I’m not sure what phrase I repeat more often: “It’s been a great week” or “I can’t believe how fast things are moving.” Both are applicable in equal measure to the last seven days – a week that has had three main streams of activity.

Last Friday afternoon, I picked up Alfred Nikolai, CEO of HFH Edmonton, in Toronto. Alfred and Sandy Hopkins, CEO of HFH Manitoba, were in town, meeting with Habitat Canada CEO Mark Rodgers and representatives of Habitat International on the early-stage planning of the 2017 Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Build in Canada.

Alfred joined us for our staff and volunteer Christmas celebration Friday evening in Bracebridge, before spending much of Saturday huddled with our Board of Directors in our Orillia offices. HFHOGN is remarkably similar to HFH Edmonton when Alfred took charge in 2005. He was able to trace his affiliate’s progression from serving three or four families per year to now having the capacity to serve over 100. Suffice to say, for the moment, that I expect we’ll someday look back on Alfred’s visit as a watershed moment in HFHOGN’s history.

There’s something just so inherently “right” about stick-building a house from the ground up. And it doesn’t get any more right than when the stick-building is being done by Habitat volunteers, committed to providing safe, decent housing for their neighbours. But the fact of the matter is, if we’re to move beyond a half-dozen or so families served in a year, we have to build in a manner that spares our volunteers an unfair, unreasonable burden.

On Thursday evening in Toronto, Construction Director John McKee, Project Coordinator Alan Van Clieaf and I met with Terry Petkau, Habitat Canada’s Director of Safety and Build Programs, following the annual Homebuilders & Renovators Expo at the Convention Centre. Much of the discussion focused on prefabrication of building components and modular housing.

That conversation continued on Tuesday morning as 18 HFH ED/CEOs and construction leaders toured the Green Terra plant in Trenton. Green Terra is the first approved Canadian builder of steel-framed modular homes and construction panels. After a tour of the shop floor, we were invited to sit and watch as a Green Terra crew assembled (framed) a modular home in less than an hour. Needless to say, we came home with possibilities dancing in our heads.

The week’s third stream of activity was ReStore related. As the week draws to a close, we are on the cusp of submitting an offer to lease on a new Orillia ReStore location that is in town, larger than our current store, and again has possibilities dancing in our heads.

Mid-week, John McKee and I were in North Bay to tour a prospective location for what will be our sixth ReStore outlet with John Humble, our entirely amazing North Bay & Blue Sky Chapter Chair and Board of Directors representative. It’s absolutely premature to count chickens at this point, of course, but we’re excited at finding a very workable location and a landlord who’s entirely enamoured with Habitat for Humanity. Our fingers are crossed for an early 2016 opening!

Now, just a new location for our Sudbury ReStore….

It’s been a great week. I can’t believe how fast things are moving. But I might have already mentioned that.

Have a great week,

Green Terra Homes Tour

HFHOGN Project Coordinator Alan Van Clieaf (right) and HFH Prince Edward Hastings Board member Gary Sopaz look on as the Green Terra crew assemble a modular home.
Bracebridge Santa Claus Parade

Our ReStore Team had so much fun decorating their float for the Bracebridge Santa Claus Parade on Sunday, December 6th! Special thanks to Collin from Muskoka Stonescape Inc. for donating his time, his truck and his trailer for our float. A huge thank you to Jessie, Aura, Hilary and all of our volunteers for their dedication to making this an amazing float and a lot of holiday fun!
Quote of the Week

"Success isn't about how much money you make, it's about the difference you make in people's lives." - Michelle Obama
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