Friday, November 27, 2015

HFH Gateway North News 11.27.2015

On Tuesday of this past week, Muskoka-area realtor Karen Acton dropped into the Bracebridge ReStore to deliver the final installment on her $85,000 pledge to Habitat for Humanity. It was a pledge Karen first made in 2008 and to which she has made a contribution every year since. Karen's generosity ensures a 2016 "Acton Build," which we expect will also be Gateway North's first "Women Build." Many thanks are extended to Karen for her financial generosity and for the generosity of spirit that kept her to her goal over the last seven years. Pictured (L-R) are Johanne Hills, David Morris, Karen Acton, Donna Godfrey, Linda Acton-Riddle and John McKee.
Sudbury District Edition
Sudbury ReStore Revamped!

Over the past few weeks, our Sudbury ReStore has been cleaned up, re-merchandised and  transformed into a top-notch ReStore. Congratulations to all Sudbury Staff and Volunteers who continue to demonstrate excellence on the sales and distribution floors! 
Meet the Sudbury ReStore Staff

Stephanie Long joined the Sudbury ReStore team in late summer and in mid-November was promoted to Acting ReStore Manager. Congratulations Stephanie!

Candace Anwhatin joined the Sudbury team on November 20th as a full-time Sales Associate. We are happy to have her aboard the Sudbury ReStore Team! 
In This Issue:
* From the CEO's Desk
* North Simcoe Home Dedication
* Parry Sound Home Dedication
* North Bay Home Dedication
* Quote of the Week
The Newsreel: Quick Facts to Keep You Informed!
* Winter Wear Drive continues at the Bracebridge ReStore. Until Monday December 7th, we will be accepting donations of gently used or new hats, coats, scarves and mitts. All of these donations will be given to Free Stuff 4 Daily Needs in Gravenhurst. 
Know someone who'd like to be involved with Habitat? Share the newsletter with them! Anyone who is interested in staying in touch can sign up for the weekly newsletterhere!
Hello Habitat Gateway North

As the cold weather sets in, snow falls and we begin to prepare for the holidays, many of us will take for granted that we can simply turn on the heat or throw another log on the fire. For many families throughout our region, that isn't reality.

Many families spend so much on housing alone, it becomes difficult to decide on the "extras" each month. Based on statistics from the Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association, one in every five households in Ontario spends more than 50% of their income on housing costs. In 2014, the number of households using food banks for the first time, increased by 20%. If you were faced with the decision between groceries for the week or being able to turn up the heat, which would you choose?

"As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, and the other for helping others." - Audrey Hepburn

I have always admired Audrey Hepburn's humanitarian work, and as I grow older, I discover just how correct she is. It does not necessarily matter how you help others, whether it's opening doors, spending time putting together food baskets or making monetary donations. What does matter, is that you help how you can.

As the holiday season approaches, there are as many charities looking to make a difference as there are ways to help others in your community. Much like thisTeam Generous video for Habitat for Humanity, our community benefits when we each bring something to the table. Alone, we can make do, but together we can do so much more.

No matter how you choose to make a difference, every helping hand counts.

Be well, do good deeds and keep in touch,

North Simcoe Home Dedication

This past Saturday, North Simcoe Chapter volunteers and supporters gathered with local officials to welcome Winter King and Josh Smith and their two children into their new home on Sheridan Street in Penetanguishene.
Parry Sound District Home Dedication

Saturday afternoon's second dedication service was on Lake Jospeph Road in Seguin Township. The Parry Sound Chapter and local dignitaries welcomed Jennifer and Ryan Bernas and their four children into their Habitat home.
North Bay and Blue Sky Region Home Dedication

Lucky number three! On Sundayafternoon, our North Bay & Blue Sky Chapter and guests welcomed Cyrstal Daly and her four children to their new home.
From the CEO's Desk

To quote Ecclesiastes, via King James or the Byrds: “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.”

I wrote my note last week at the mid-point of Habitat’s annual national leadership retreat in Niagara-on-the-Lake – an opportunity to huddle with Habitat leaders from across the country and national office. The discussions, networking and collective noodling over strategic direction were invaluable, but after two days of sitting in a conference centre, there was kinesthetic relief in hitting the road late Friday afternoon.

I picked up Marian at our youngest son’s new apartment in downtown Toronto. It’s the most basic (i.e. illegal) of basement units, and yet I know there’ll forever more be a special place in his and his girlfriend’s hearts for their first home together, regardless of the jockeying they’ll do this winter around a space heater!

I’m not sure there could be a more perfect follow-on to the national leadership conference discussions and thoughts of young people and “home” than the three house dedication services that were held across our region over the weekend.

Early Saturday afternoon, we joined our North Simcoe Chapter in Penetanguishene as it welcomed Winter, Josh and their two boys to their new home. A quick dash across the snowy countryside landed us in Seguin Township, just in time to join our Parry Sound Chapter as it officially welcomed Jennifer, Ryan and their four children to theirs. On Sunday morning, we were back on the road, checking out a potential build site before joining our North Bay and Blue Sky Chapter as it welcomed Crystal and her four children to their new home.

On Tuesday of this week, we had the opportunity to take part in a different but equally moving ceremony. Muskoka-area realtor Karen Acton joined us in the Bracebridge ReStore to deliver the final installment on her remarkable donation of $85,000.

 In 2008, Karen came out of retirement to join the real estate world. Without initially recognizing the full magnitude of the commitment, she confessed, she committed herself to fund a Habitat house out of essentially a tithe on her commissions. At the time, $75,000 was the goal. Over the years, as her annual installments grew apace her success in the industry, she pushed the goal to $80,000 to allow for inflation, and finally to $85,000.

 This week has been a time of celebration: three families taking up residence in the save, decent – and attractive – housing that’s Habitat’s promise; money in the bank that promises another family the same in 2016.

But as moving as the celebrations were, and they truly were, what lingers for me is my awe and profound respect for people like Karen Acton and our Chapter leadership and volunteers. Only through their seasons of commitment are we able to celebrate.           
Have a great week.

Quote of the Week

"Progress is impossible without change and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything." - George Bernard Shaw
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Friday, November 20, 2015

HFH Gateway North NEWS: North Bay and Blue Sky Region Edition

Thank You North Bay Community

The North Bay and Blue Sky Region Chapter has ramped up its efforts to complete the Feronia Build at 6230 Highway 63 over the past several weeks so Crystal Daly and her family can move in prior to Christmas. It is heartwarming to see the dedication of our volunteers and our contractors. Often, you will see Lacourse Construction on site until10:30 at night as well as on Saturdays. Thank you Jake Lacourse, Rolly Sicard and Richard Lacourse for your hard work.

We would like to acknowledge the ongoing commitment of Jane Haddow and Steve Beck who have put in several Saturdays in the past few weeks mudding, sanding drywall, painting  and installing kitchen cabinets. This week Josh, an electrician, volunteered 14 hours to finish electrical connections.

We were also the beneficiaries of the USAF members posted in North Bay. Thank you Captain Josh Tannehill, Sgt. Michael Stodeur and Sgt. Curtis Hunter, Jr. for volunteering on site for the past couple of weeks as part of your community outreach program.

We are readying the house for the Home Dedication this Sunday November 22, at which point attendees will be able to see what the final house will look like. We are awaiting some finishing touches such as countertops, interior door and trim installation and landscaping but the majority of the work has been completed. We are so grateful for everyone who has been involved in this build. We hope to see you on Sunday to celebrate the work of each and every person who has helped!

John Humble
Chapter Committee Chair
North Bay and Blue Sky Region Chapter
North Bay Build 2015 - Humble House

As we finish our home build project in Feronia and dedicate it this weekend, we have a chance to look back on the project and see the fruits of our labour. This home, in honour of our pre-amalgamation Board Chair and post-amalgamation Chapter Chair John Humble, is being dedicated as the "Humble House".

In 2011, after a large portion of board and long-time volunteers departed from our organization, John was faced with the unenviable task of holding the affiliate together.
Finding himself elevated to the position of Board Chair, John was able to not only 'hold together' the affiliate, but also spearhead our part in the regional amalgamation, the construction of our 4th house parternering with our 5th family, reconnect with some of the departed volunteers (including a founder), begin the process of establishing a ReStore in North Bay, and contribute uncountable hours to our organization even though he is a new grandfather and dedicated husband.

We would be in a much worse position organizationally and our community would be much poorer without his efforts over the past four years. John Humble lives up to his name in all his activities; Habitat-related and otherwise. We wish for him to be forever associated with this tangible reminder of the good Habitat does, and the way in which we do it; the Humble House.

BJ Szabicot
Publicity & Volunteer Coordinator
North Bay and Blue Sky Region Chapter
In This Issue:
* From the CEO's Desk
* National Leadership Conference 2015
* Home Dedication Details
* New Faces
* Community Partnership
* From the Community
* Quote of the Week
The Newsreel: Quick Facts to Keep You Informed!
* North Bay and Blue Sky Region Chapter will be hosting a Snowmobile Poker Ride this coming February 2016, with all proceeds (of course) going to Habitat. Stay tuned for more details.
* Winter Wear Drive continues at the Bracebridge ReStore. Until Monday December 7th, we will be accepting donations of gently used or new hats, coats, scarves and mitts. All of these donations will be given to Free Stuff 4 Daily Needs in Gravenhurst. 
Know someone who'd like to be involved with Habitat? Share the newsletter with them! Anyone who is interested in staying in touch can sign up for the weekly newsletterhere!
Hello Habitat Gateway North!

This weekend, we welcome three new partner families into Habitat for Humanity homeownership. OnSaturday, November 21st, we are presenting keys to families in Penetanguishene and Seguin Township. OnSunday, November 22nd, we'll be presenting keys to a family in North Bay.

Home dedications are an achievement for the family, the chapter and Habitat for Humanity Ontario Gateway North. Key ceremonies are the culmination of hard work from so many individuals. The mission of Habitat for Humanity is evident in every person who attends a home dedication.

The area Habitat for Humanity Ontario Gateway North serves is large, with many communities, each facing different economic conditions. In the grand scheme of things, three families may not seem like a big deal. For those three families, it's a complete change.

To give some perspective here are a few statistics from the Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association and Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) Fall 2014 survey.  In North Bay, the average market rent for a 2-bedroom apartment is $878/month. In order to afford the apartment the household must earn $35,120 per year or $16.88 per hour. Minimum wage earnings for a year, based on $11/hour, is $22,880.

The numbers show the gap between income and affordability. The sentiments from a Habitat partner family at our Gravenhurst home dedication in March tell the human side of the story: “I don’t think that anything we could say is going to be enough to express how we feel. The love and support we’ve seen from the community has been amazing and it makes us proud to be a part of it. It means the world to us to partner with Habitat and have a safe and healthy home for our children to grow in. And so for everyone that had a hand in helping make this house and this dream become reality, I just want to say thank you.”

With three more families receiving keys to their new Habitat homes this weekend, Habitat for Humanity Ontario Gateway North will finish 2015 partnering with 42 families across our region. Forty-two families and we're gearing-up to serve more each year. Each and every one of you make it possible for us to partner with families, build homes and change lives.

Be well, do good deeds and keep in touch,

From the CEO's Desk

I cut out of the office early Wednesday afternoon of this week to attend Habitat’s 2016 National Leadership Retreat in Niagara-on-the-Lake. The Thursday and Friday conference unofficially kicked off with a private dinner Wednesday evening – the type of get-together that can be instrumental in setting a relaxed, collegial tone for the subsequent official program. And it did.

I write this Thursday evening after a full day of exhaustive discussions around the Canadian Habitat federation’s emerging strategic direction: Who are we serving? How can we better serve them? How can we make building easier, faster? How do we bolster our leadership abilities? How do we outfit affiliates with required tools?

In between the scheduled sessions, there are, of course, the invaluable opportunities to catch up with fellow ED/CEOs and attending board members, and to exchange notes on issues and solutions. At the half-way point of the retreat, I’m so very pleased to know I’ll go back to the office with a list of resources on which we can lean for support, and, equally, that HFHOGN has the opportunity to provide support to a few of our neighbouring affiliates. Without question, we’re stronger together.

Many thanks and congratulations to our North Simcoe, Parry Sound and North Bay Chapters that will each host dedications services this weekend – North Simcoe and Parry Sound on Saturday, North Bay on Sunday. The dedication service symbolizes so much, not the least of which is the extraordinary commitment of our volunteers.

Have a great week,

Habitat for Humanity CEO and President Mark Rodgers was the opening keynote speaker at the 2015 National Leadership Retreat hosted this week in Niagara-on-the-Lake. The retreat was focused on further refining HFH's strategic direction in the interest of serving more families each year.
Home Dedication Details

North Simcoe - Saturday November 21
Join our North Simcoe Chapter in welcoming Winter King, Josh Smith and their two children into the Habitat family. The dedication will take place at their new home at 38 Sheridan St. in Penetanguishene at 1 p.m. with a reception to follow.

Parry Sound – Saturday November 21
Our Parry Sound District Chapter is eager to welcome Jennifer & Ryan Bernas and their four children into their newly renovated home at 1155 Lake Joseph Rd. in Seguin Township. The ceremony will begin at 3 p.m. This home and property was generously donated to Habitat for Humanity by Walter & Maria Schneider.

North Bay – Sunday November 22
North Bay and Blue Sky Region Chapter is excited to dedicate the "Humble House" and welcome Crystal Daly and her four children into their new home. The festivities begin at2 p.m. at 6230 Hwy 63 in North Bay.
New Faces

Justin Pritchard joins the Habitat for Humanity team as ReStore Manager in Huntsville. With years of management experience with Walmart Canada in multiple roles, we're excited to have Justin's fresh perspective take the lead in Huntsville.
New Faces

Zak Keating completes our truck crew in Huntsville! Zak has volunteered with the Huntsville ReStore in recent months and we are thrilled to welcome him to Habitat as a Driver/ Warehouse Associate. If you're in Huntsville, stop in to say hello or wave as you see the truck out and about.
New Faces

Aura Devy (right) is our new face behind the counter at the Bracebridge ReStore. Whether you're registering for the silent auction or hunting for deals, say hello to Aura and we're sure you'll get a smile back!

Dave Woodcox is our new Receiver at the Bracebridge ReStore. As Bobby is now the Distribution Centre Manager, he is in charge of coordinating product to all ReStores. Dave will be the man making sure items are clean, priced and out on the sales floor in Bracebridge. 
New Faces

Nick Kimball joins Paul on our Bracebridge truck. Nick has years of experience driving, moving and hauling and is already a hard worker, jumping right into things. Welcome to the team Nick!
Community Partnership

Last week while attending the Orillia Winter Carnival meeting, the OWC Committee unanimously agreed the benefactor of the Polar Bear Dip would be the Orillia/Lake Country Chapter of Habitat for Humanity Ontario Gateway North. The Annual Polar Bear Dip is to be held February 13th, 2016.

The OWC Committee asked that all money donated to Habitat be used to purchase specific items such as a furnace “so the occupants will never be cold”. Depending on the funds raised , more than one item could be purchased for the family’s home.

We would like to say “many thanks” to the Orillia Winter Carnival committee for their generosity and support!

Marg Phillips
Family Selection Committee Chair
Habitat for Humanity Ontario Gateway North
Orillia/Lake Country Chapter
From the Community

Our semi-detached in Gravenhurst is truly 100% finished! Last week a local stonemason assisted in finishing the lower portion of the semi-detached homes with stonework. We might be biased, but we think it looks pretty amazing!

A big thank you to Alan VanClieaf for all of your work in coordinating the final steps over the past few months.
Quote of the Week

"The only way to do great work is to love what you do." - Steve Jobs

Saturday, November 14, 2015

HFH Gateway North News 11.13.2015

Parry Sound Edition
Build Site Update

On Wednesday November 11th, volunteers were on the Seguin Township build site constructing a storage shed. The crew also added insulation to the attic, painted steps and a few other small finishing jobs. Pictured from left to right - Mike Bernas, Don Brisbane and site supervisor Doug MacDonald.
Affordable Housing Forum

Peter Daleman, board member and Parry Sound Chapter member, discussed Habitat for Humanity homeownership at the Parry Sound District Affordable Housing Forum on Monday, November 9th. 
In This Issue:
* From the CEO's Desk
* Espanola is a GO!
* Winter Wear Drive
* From the Community
* Watch Our Family Grow
* Quote of the Week
The Newsreel: Quick Facts to Keep You Informed!
* We have THREEupcoming home dedications!November 21st in Penetanguishene and Parry Sound andNovember 22nd in North Bay. By the end of 2015, HFH Ontario Gateway North will be serving 42 families across the region.
Know someone who'd like to be involved with Habitat? Share the newsletter with them! Anyone who is interested in staying in touch can sign up for the weekly newsletterhere!
Hello Habitat Gateway North!

It's likely no one will appreciate my mentioning this, however, in a conversation earlier this week I heard myself say "there are only 7 weeks left in the year...". I was quickly told not to talk like that! As people typically do, I immediately began to think "what have I accomplished this year?" We want to have something to show for the time passing.

Working with Habitat for Humanity, I find there are milestones that are quite easy to mark. Successful events like golf tournaments, walk-a-thons and Biking for Builds. Groundbreaking ceremonies. Partner family announcements. Key ceremonies and home dedications. Achievements are quite often visible and tangible, which in many lines of work, that is not the case.

What really strikes me, is the human element of these tangible milestones - the people involved in making these achievements possible. Listening to a family share their story at a key ceremony is moving. Hearing volunteers chat on a build site (particularly at lunch time!) is always filled with enthusiasm. ReStore staff expressing their optimism with customers and coworkers. Participating in meetings with Habitat Canada and other Habitat affiliates is enlightening.

“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” - Maya Angelou

The opportunity to be a part of the Habitat for Humanity mission means I am regularly able to see people at their best - when they are helping others because they can. As I look back on the year, I can see those milestones. As I look forward, I know we have so many more success stories in our future.

Be well, do good deeds and keep in touch,

From the CEO's Desk

The musician in me has always wanted to experience the sort of rousing Afro-American gospel church service one sees on TV and in movies. Before heading off to the Big Easy last week on our Habitat Global Village trip, I contacted Jim Pate, executive director of the New Orleans affiliate, asking him to either dispel my media-fed mental image or recommend such a church near our lodgings in the French Quarter.

Jim’s response was immediate and enthusiastic. He offered a number of recommendations, but his first was Household of Faith Family Worship Church International, led by Pastor Antoine Barriere, a member of Jim’s Board of Directors. After making contact with the Pastor by email, on our first Sunday in New Orleans, a portion of our team opted to worship the Saints at the Superdome, the rest of us headed to church.

Our welcome was as warm as it was unreserved (one of our members commented afterwards he had never before been hugged by so many unfamiliar women). The music as we entered the main worship hall was heavenly and exactly as I hoped it would be. A young woman fronted the choir in an initial warm-up of the congregation before passing the mic to a young guy with an amazing John Legend-like voice. He continued the warm-up, while teaching the congregation the gospel tune that became the musical backdrop for the rest of the service.

Pastor Antoine Barriere (centre) with Global Village builders (L-R) Rob Crew, David Morris, Marian Burdsall and Cathy Borowec.

However amazing and soul-nourishing the music, it was outdone by Pastor Barriere. As it happens, his congregation and Trinity Episcopal Church, a church with a markedly different “complexion,” had joined together in early October to do an interracial blitz build (10 days) of a Habitat house.

After asking us to stand to be acknowledged by his congregation, Pastor Barriere spun – because he is truly a master communicator – his sermon around his experience of the organization and sequencing of the Habitat blitz build and Corinthians 2:9, the gospel lesson for the day - a passage that references “…the things that God has prepared for those who love him.”

It was a brilliant sermon and a brilliant reminder, whether we’re swinging a hammer on build site, near or afar, or working a ReStore, or shuffling paper behind a desk in Bracebridge, Habitat offers us the opportunity to connect with others at a deep-rooted, pragmatic level of spirituality. I can’t imagine a better kick-off to a Global Village build week.

On a staffing note, Jane Bissonette has left the HFHOGN organization. Jane was instrumental in opening our Huntsville ReStore location in 2012 and has been a mainstay in the store since, serving as Assistant Manager and more recently as Acting Manager. She is owed our thanks for her contribution to Habitat for Humanity.  

In addition, we wish Wayne Bennett, one of our Muskoka truck drivers, a happy retirement. Wayne has worked with Habitat for Humanity in Muskoka for over 7 years and has done more than his fair share of heavy lifting at the Bracebridge ReStore. We thank you for your hard work and dedication Wayne.

Have a great week.

Espanola is a GO!

As previously reported, in late October, Espanola Council reversed its original rejection of our Sudbury District Chapter’s application to build a duplex on Adelaide Street. Council’s rejection of the proposal prompted our appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB). Thanks to the work of Chapter Build Chair Jeff Lapierre, we found a diplomatic alternative to the OMB that concluded with Council giving the project its blessing. This week, we cleared the statutory 20-day period in which Council’s approval could have been appealed. Jeff’s build committee met on Thursday evening of this week and the plan is to break ground before the snow flies. Congratulations to Jeff and the Sudbury District team!
Winter Wear Drive

With the holidays (and winter weather) quickly approaching, the Bracebridge ReStore has decided to connect with our community by hosting a Winter Wear Drive. From Monday November 9th to Monday December 7th, we will be accepting donations of gently used or new hats, coats, scarves and mitts. All of these donations will be given to Free Stuff 4 Daily Needs in Gravenhurst. Free Stuff 4 Daily Needs supplies less fortunate families with various clothing and household items to meet their daily needs. If you would like to donate items please visit the Bracebridge ReStore or if you have any questions, please contact Hilary at (705)-646-0106 Ext 205
From the Community

Larry Carter, Build Chair for our Orillia/Lake Country Chapter, attended a volunteer fair at Georgian College, Orillia Campus this past week. Larry, along with Fundraising Chair Carmen Agius, handed out lots of business cards and made some great local connections with Georgian College students.
From the Community

John McKee, Director of Construction and Alan VanClieaf, Project Coordinator attended an open house for prospective students at Georgian College, Muskoka Campus on Saturday, November 7th. 
Watch Our Family Grow

Keep your eyes open for signs across the region identifying our future build sites! We have signs, like the ones below, popping up in all of the communities we currently hold land in. If you think you might have land for us to build on, from North Simcoe to Sudbury, get in touch toll-free at 1-855-646-0106.
Quote of the Week

"Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going." - Jim Rohn
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