Friday, January 8, 2016

HFH Gateway North News 08.01.2016

Serving Orillia Lake Country, North Simcoe, District of Muskoka, Parry Sound District, North Bay and Blue Sky Region and Sudbury District
In This Issue:
* From the CEO's Desk
* Welcome Greg Cowan
* Espanola Update
* Meet Christina
* Midland ReStore Update
* Fundraising with Donna
* Quote of the Week
The Newsreel: Quick Facts to Keep You Informed!
* On New Year's Day, a group of brave fundraisers took part in the annual Huntsville Polar Bear Dip. To view photos, check out the Facebook page. To donate to the brave souls who took the plunge, visit the online fundraising page.  Start practicing now and prepare to take part in next year's dip!
* 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!
Welcome to 2016 Habitat Gateway North!

As we take our first few steps into 2016, I hope everyone had a chance to stop and enjoy time with family over the holidays. Although typically holidays are a flurry of activity and travel, I always like to appreciate the little moments of calm and joy - the quiet before the storm of the new year, so to speak.

I spent some of my quiet time over the holidays having a yearly review of 2015; going through experiences I'd had, accomplishments, places I'd been. I'm not really a resolution-setter. If you want to make a change, you have to want it, whether it's January 1st or any other day of the year. If you are not willing to dedicate yourself to a change, small or large, it won't happen. So I didn't set a resolution... other than a promise to take each day as it comes.

While going through my "annual review" it came to mind that starting January 4th, we would have a full-time Communications Officer in Greg Cowan. Having Greg join our team speaks to where we are at as an organization and also where we are headed.

For me, it's also a point at which I will be handing off one of my hats, which feels freeing and yet also unusual. Since I started with Habitat for Humanity I have played a role in communications (I'm still writing this newsletter though... so I guess I'm not completely out of it!). Starting the new year with a new focus is exciting, intriguing and mildly nerve-racking. I'm out of my comfort zone, as it were, and a whole new set of tasks to complete and questions to answer are beginning to come forward.



Whether you're resolution driven or routine-focussed, ask yourself, when was the last time you did something for the first time? Let's make 2016 a year to remember! Habitat Gateway North has a few more "firsts" planned and we will be delighted to share them with you in the coming weeks.

Be well, do good deeds and keep in touch,

Meghan
From the CEO's Desk

This time last year, I was up to my brain cells in a project for Habitat Canada. CEO Mark Rodgers had asked me to develop a whitepaper – essentially a state-of-the-union – on “national realignment,” a.k.a.  “regionalization” within the Canadian Habitat federation. HFH Ontario Gateway North is, of course, a product of that regionalization initiative.

In the research phase of the project, I phone-interviewed a sampling of Habitat ED/CEOs across the country. There was something immediately peculiar about the interviews, which took me awhile to identify and even longer to articulate. In the background to the answers to my interview questions, I was hearing strikingly different versions of the Habitat story.

Stories are remarkably powerful, and none more powerful than the one that quietly loops in our head day in, day out, colouring our every sense of the outside world. In organizations, the predominant stories told and heard are reflected in the organization’s culture, which, like the voice in our heads, becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

In the final version of the whitepaper, I identified four archetypical Habitat stories, ranging from those affiliates who see themselves forever more serving one family every two or three years, to those like HFH Edmonton and Manitoba that are determined to change, if not the world, then at least the sliver of it in which they operate. The key observation offered in the whitepaper was that transformative change within the HFH federation will be challenging unless and until affiliate members are drawn to a common story.

When I stepped in as interim CEO of HFHOGN in mid-July, I knew little of the affiliate, but I walked in the door with two priorities. The first was to extinguish any “forest fires” (there weren’t many) and the second was to dominate story-telling.  

Thanks to our always amazing editor Meghan Smith, this newsletter appeared within two weeks, not because newsletters are nice to have, but because drawing the HFHOGN community to a common story was critical to overcoming the challenges we were facing at that time, critical to our realizing the full benefits of the “realignment” that created HFHOGN, and will remain critical in the years to come as we achieve our potential as a major contributor to Habitat’s mission in Canada.

I mention all of this because we took another major and exciting strategic step forward this week with the recruitment of Greg Cowan, introduced elsewhere in this issue, as our full-time story-teller (okay, his formal title is Communications Officer).

Internally, Greg will take the lead in telling the stories that will foster an organizational culture of which we can stand proud. Across the region, Greg’s multi-media telling of the Habitat story, from a regional and local chapter perspective, will be the foundation upon which we mobilize community fundraising, friendraising, and volunteer recruitment.

Stay tuned. It’s going to be a page-turner!

Have a great week,

David 
Welcome Greg Cowan

David Morris, CEO of Habitat for Humanity Ontario Gateway North, announced today the appointment of Greg Cowan as the regional organization’s Communications Officer. Cowan formerly served as the editor of the Pincher Creek Echo in Southern Alberta.

Morris said he is excited to welcome Greg into the fold at Gateway North while the organization continues to gear-up its capacity to serve more families each year. The role of communications officer will be essential in helping to share the great stories which arise from the dedicated work of the volunteers, builders, donors, and partner families in the region.

“Habitat for Humanity is recognized worldwide,” said Cowan. “It is important the work we do in our own backyard is equally recognized and understood.”

Cowan said he is looking forward to partnering with local media and community members in an effort to help promote  the organization's exciting plans for 2016.
Espanola Update

The floor is in and the walls are on their way up at our Espanola Build!

As you can see the basement, and floor fame are complete. The basement is made of pressure treated wood. If you think it looks a little high, you would be correct. When spring arrives we will be able to backfill and complete the grades to the proper level.

The party wall, (tall framing structure in the center) will divide the two homes. The perimeter framing will be completed early next week. Then, Jeff and his team will move on to roof truss installation, fly rafters and sheeting.

We are receiving great support from the community and we are delighted. One day there were ten volunteers on the build site! Thank you to everyone who has joined our efforts so far. We look forward to many more great days to come! 

 
Meet Christina 

Working within a community based foundation is truly an honour.

Growing up in a single parent home, my family and I were blessed by a foundation similar to Habitat for Humanity. Not only did it allow for us to grow up in a safe and healthy home; it enabled my Mom to provide my brother and I opportunities we may not have had otherwise.

I am looking forward to this new adventure and being involved with Habitat for Humanity and the ReStore. Stop by and say hello any time!

Christina Micallef
Sales Associate
Orillia ReStore
Midland ReStore Update

The Midland ReStore would like to extend a warm welcome to Tom Dion. Tom comes to us with a wide range of experience that will be a great benefit not only to our shipping and receiving department but for our clients as well. Welcome to the team Tom!

Renovations are under way. We are very excited about all of our changes and having fun while cleaning things up. A big, huge shout out to all of the staff and volunteers who are giving their all to make this happen!! See Lori and Lisa (pictured below) having some fun while we renovate.

We look forward to reopening on January 18th with more floor space and a new look to better serve our customers.

Marg Hamelin
ReStore Manager
Midland ReStore
Fundraising with Donna

Believe it or not but I’ve had a request from one of you out there to do a regular fundraising column.  In fact it was a particular person in one of our Chapters… in fact, it was north of Bracebridge … that’s all I’m saying!  So, now that you’ve asked for it, you’ve got it!  I will bring you fundraising news and updates from Ontario Gateway North including any highlights of fundraising efforts within our Chapters.  Or, I may share a fundraising idea or story. 

In order to do this, I will need your help. Send me your fundraising plans, ideas, suggestions and questions.  If you have a Chapter fundraising event, let me know how it went.  My hope is to share ideas with everybody.

Stay tuned for my next update the last Friday of every month!

Donna
Quote of the Week

"And now we welcome the new year, full of things that have never been." - Rainer Maria Rilke

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