Thursday, December 24, 2015

HFH Gateway North News 12.25.2015



From the CEO's Desk

It struck me as harsh the Christmas my father suggested we five children - all of us advanced beyond childhood at that point - think about establishing our own seasonal traditions. Having never imposed on my parents for a push from the nest, being offered one at Christmas was well, unsettling. 

Living in Kingston for almost 20 years, my holiday tradition evolved around busking in the downtown core in the lead up to Christmas. Even in my hands, a flugelhorn is a beautiful instrument for open-air Christmas carols. The local food bank provided a festive sign to prop up in my open horn case, and my annual fundraising campaign became a soothing balm to the passing consumer frenzy. 

"We heard the horn," friends would say they stopped by. "We knew it was you." The roving Victorian Caroler Quartette, another downtown tradition, would also stop by, adding heavenly four-part vocal harmony to the horn. 

I'd watch as little kids were initiated into the practice of dropping money into the music case of an oddly behaving stranger. The person who'd say, "I'll get you on the way back," almost always would. And only occasionally, would a complete stranger, evidently as judgmental as I, dismiss me as street trash. 

Mini dramas would play out all afternoon long: The suited business man who clearly doesn't want to be seen leaving the $50 bill he just left; The indigent woman who carefully sets aside exact bus fare before triumphantly donating every penny of her remaining $1.35; the hand that pushes $20 directly into my jacket pocket with the admonishment, "Get yourself a hot meal." 

Out of necessity, I set aside my busking tradition this year. Instead, I find myself welcoming the prospect of a new tradition emerging - one centred in the wonderful HFHOGN community in which I find myself. Not for the first time, I give thanks to my father - departed now, like the Christmases of my childhood - for teaching me to relish, not hoard, tradition. 

Best wishes to you, your families and your loved ones for a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year. 

Have a great couple of weeks, 

David
In This Issue:
* From the CEO's Desk
* Year In Review
* 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. Wishing everyone joy and good cheer for the holidays!
* Habitat Canada has launched the Brick for Brick Campaign. 1 in 5 Canadian families are living in unstable homes. But little by little, a brick for brick, you can help bring stability to the lives of many children from low income families. Because you're not just helping us put a roof over their head, you're helping us put the ground beneath their feet. For full details on the campaign visithabitat.ca/brickforbrick
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 newsletter here!
Note: In the spirit of the holidays, we're taking a week off from our weekly newsletter! Look for our next issue (and some exciting news!) on January 8, 2016.
Happy Christmas Habitat Gateway North!

I thought this would be the time to share a few photos of Habitat for Humanity Ontario Gateway North's Year in Review. We've had a great 2015 and we can't wait to see what 2016 brings!


Marty Scarlett and his class from St. Dominic Catholic Secondary School helped paint at our Gravenhurst 2015 build.


Home dedications are always full of smiles! The Kennys and the Hudsons were thrilled to join the Habitat family in March 2015 and move into their homes in Gravenhurst.


Our ReStores in Midland, Orillia, Bracebridge, Huntsville and Sudbury had some great donations from all across our region in 2015! Thank you to all of our donors, shoppers and volunteers for supporting ReStore.


Our Parry Sound District Chapter held their 4th Annual Golf Tournament at Rocky Crest Golf Club and raised over $18,000.


Our 2nd Annual Biking for Builds Fall Ride took off (with great weather!) on the last Sunday of September. The event raised over $10,000 to help build homes.


An RBC team helped out on our Feronia Build in 2015.


Dave Wright, President of Maacon Construction Ltd in Penetanguishene sponsored a golf tournament for HFHOGN North Simcoe Chapter in September 2015. The trounament raised $9,000 to support Habitat build projects.


Winter King, Josh Smith and their two children received keys to their home in Penetanguishene in November 2015.


Jennifer and Ryan Bernas and their four children joined the Habitat family officially in November 2015. Their home was doanted to Habitat by Walter and Maria Schneider and was renovated during the year.


The Humble House in Feronia was dedicated in November 2015. Crystal Daly and her four children were excited to have a new home for Christmas.


Karen Acton, Muskoka real estate agent, donated $10,000 in November 2015, bringing her total donation to $85,000. Thank you Karen for all of your support!


Our Sudbury District Chapter broke ground on a semi-detached in Espanola on the last weekend of November 2015.


Alfred Nikolai, President and CEO of HFH Edmonton, joined us in December to share Habitat Edmonton's stories and wisdom.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Be well, do good deeds and keep in touch,

Meghan
Quote of the Week

“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!”  - Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
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Friday, December 18, 2015

HFH Gateway North News 12.18.2015



Santa Claus at the ReStore

Santa Claus dropped by for photos last Saturday December 12th and took a moment to pose with (top photo) Administrative Assistant Hilary Kellam, ReStore Manager Jessie Kozack and Community Development Officer Kevin Manley. ReStore Manager Jessie also got some love from Charms (below, right) while Sales Associate Darlene Cushman chatted with Santa.

Thanks to Jessie, Hilary and the Bracebridge ReStore Team for getting everything setup and ready for Santa! Special thanks to Santa for making time in his busy schedule to stop by the ReStore.


In This Issue:
* Santa Claus at the ReStore
* From the CEO's Desk
* Volunteers Wanted
* Donating to the ReStore

* Christmas Gift Wrapping
* 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. Wishing everyone joy and good cheer for the holidays!
* Habitat Canada has launched the Brick for Brick Campaign. 1 in 5 Canadian families are living in unstable homes. But little by little, a brick for brick, you can help bring stability to the lives of many children from low income families. Because you're not just helping us put a roof over their head, you're helping us put the ground beneath their feet. For full details on the campaign visithabitat.ca/brickforbrick
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!

With the release of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, I have to admit I've spent the past week and a half rewatching the first six episodes in my spare time. What can I say? I like to be prepared and do my research. As I spent many hours rewatching the saga (I multi-tasked and wrapped Christmas presents at the same time - go me!) I noticed the multiple layers of messages in each film (and some cheesy moments but we'll forgive that).

I know I'm not the first to think this, but how does an epic space opera have valuable lessons for our current world? Well, there are quite a few actually, but I'll focus on the top three.

1. I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends.
Throughout the saga, all of the characters take turns putting themselves on the line to help each other. They trust each other, and they believe in each other, so they are more than willing to step up when the time comes. Even further than that, they're a team and they work together to save the galaxy.

At Habitat we are always mentioning the benefits of building and maintaining partnerships and relationships with volunteers, donors and supporters. Our partners make it possible for us to build homes and run ReStores. No one person is greater than the rest of the team because we are all needed to break the cycle of poverty (or defeat the dark side if you're a Jedi Knight).

2. Know The Plan.
While there is always an element of surprise (luck, uncertainty, whatever you want to call it), it is critical to have a strategy in place before you can begin. It took a lot of planning to blow up the Death Star, and even though they maybe didn't get it right the first time, they regrouped and worked as a team (using The Force) to achieve their goal. Planning is definitely not a one-time task but it's important to know what success looks like as you move forward.

3. "Much to learn you still have." - Yoda
Whether you're a Jedi Padawan or a Jedi Master, the universe is constantly changing and there will always be new things on the horizon. Much the same, we all need to remember there is something to learn from everyone, no matter their age, gender, religion. You can learn just as much from a 10 year old as you can from a 90 year old, as long as you're willing to listen. Knowledge goes both ways - your developed skills are just the skills someone else is trying to hone. Sharing your skills and knowledge is a must!

Well be, good deeds do and in touch keep,

Meghan
From the CEO's Desk

The outset of the Christmas season often makes me think back to doing the Dale Carnegie public speaking course in Ottawa in the mid-‘80s. I was in a group of about 40 people, each of whom would stand twice and speak for two minutes during each session.

The program didn’t really teach much about public speaking - as I continue to so adroitly demonstrate - but over the course of 14 weeks, it exposed you to something in the neighbourhood of 1,100 glimpses into the personal lives of your classmates. It was the dawning realization that, at our core, we’re all the same – the same aspirations, fears, desires – that made it easier every week to take one’s turns at the front of the room.

But there was a little bit more to it than that.

The first time we were called on to speak, it was to introduce the person sitting next to us. The subject was just about as safe as it could be. Thereafter, the topics grew more rawly personal with each passing week. It was their sequencing that still fascinates me.

One week, we had to slam the podium with rolled-up newspapers while we spoke of something that made us angry (of course, the theatrics diluted any real anger). Only later, were we asked to speak of something that made us feel sad. And only after that, and only at the end of the course, were we called on to say something positive about a subset of our classmates.

Who da’ thunk the most courageous form of public speaking is speaking publically and positively about others?

I think part of what we call the Christmas spirit is an unfortunately fleeting societal reconnection with that courage: the courage to greet each other with a smile, to hold a door for the person behind, to yield the right-of-way to the other driver.

 “There are a million stories in the big city,” an older friend of mine likes to say, quoting the intro to the classic Dragnet TV show. I think Christmas gives us the courage to remember there’s really only one.

Have a great week,

David      
Volunteering at ReStore is an exciting and rewarding way to help local families in your community. What will you experience at ReStore? You'll meet new people, use your skills and have fun doing it!

ReStore volunteers help customers find treasures, stock shelves, accept donations, fix items and more. All of our ReStore lcoations are currently searching for volunteers!

Volunteer with us in:

  • Bracebridge/Gravenhurst - 1964 Muskoka Beach Rd.
  • Huntsville - 3 Crescent Rd.
  • Midland - 253 Whitfield Cres.
  • Orillia - 1-3835 Campbell Rd.
  • Sudbury - 444 Barrydowne Rd.

If you'd like to get involved, contact us today.
Donating to 







Do you have new or gently used building materials or home improvement items that you want to part with? If you have items you're willing to donate, please consider ReStore. Proceeds cover Habitat for Humanity's fundraising administration costs, so that every dollar donated to the charity goes directly towards building homes and serving families.

Can't drop off items? We can pick up items from your home or business. Contact us to arrange a pickup.

We regularly pick up donations in:
Bracebridge |  Gravenhurst  |  Huntsville  |  Orillia  |  Midland  |  Sudbury

We periodically pick up donations in:
North Bay  |  Parry Sound  |  Espanola

Items we can accept as donations:
  • Appliances: washers, dryers, stoves, fridges (9 years old or under)
  • Antiques
  • Bathtubs: claw foot, acrylic (we cannot accept rusted tubs)
  • Cabinets
  • Flooring (we can only accept new flooring)
  • Doors
  • Windows
  • Lighting fixtures
  • Kitchen sinks
  • Lumber: clean with no nails
  • Moldings
  • Plumbing fixtures (no toilets please)
  • Furniture: dressers, tables, kitchen chairs, etc.
  • Tools (hand & powered)
Christmas Gift Wrapping

On Wednesday December 23rd Staff and Volunteers from HFH Ontario Gateway North will be wrapping presents for donations for our local build projects! We'll be at the Huntsville Place Mall from 1pm until 9pm. For those of you who don't like wrapping presents or are last minute shoppers, this is the perfect opportunity for you!

We would also like to extend a big thank you to our business and community partners, Rexall Pharma Plus - Bracebridge, Canadian Tire - Bracebridge, Home Depot - Bracebridge and Home Depot - Huntsville for donating many rolls of wrapping paper.
Quote of the Week

"Surround yourself with the dreamers and the doers, the believers and thinkers, but most of all surround yourself with those who see greatness within you." - Jim Rohn
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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.
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!

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,

Meghan
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,

David
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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