Friday, September 23, 2016

HFH Gateway North News 09.23.2016

Serving Orillia Lake Country, North Simcoe, District of Muskoka, Parry Sound District, North Bay and Blue Sky Region and Sudbury District
Musician Glen Reid to play at South Almaguin Fundraiser
SOUTH RIVER, ON – On October 15, Habitat for Humanity and friends will bring the house down at the Highlander Brew Co. in an effort to build a new, safe, and decent home for a hardworking local family.

The South Almaguin Adopt-a-Home project is hosting a dinner, provided by popular Sundridge eatery Michael’s on Main, as part of their fundraising effort to build an affordable home for a local hardworking family. The dinner will feature live music from local artist Glen Reid, a live auction, and much more.

The multi-talented Glen Reid (musician, craftsman, and luthier) will perform his unique brand of locally inspired songs, many of which he wrote at his ancestral farm in Burk’s Falls, and have been featured on the albumsHeritage RiverWildcats Howlin’, and Dusty ol’ Denim.

At its core, Habitat for Humanity has always been a grassroots community initiative to help re-engage families out of the isolation which is so often the unintended cost of poverty. Habitat also aims to connect with neighbours in a meaningful, lasting and impactful community project.

“I believe it’s a basic human right,” said Habitat homeowner Wendy Martin. “It’s our right as humans to have that safety, and that place where you come home at the end of the day.”

Since becoming a Habitat Homeowner in 2013, Martin has become a successful business owner, and been active in the community with her husband. Two of her children have moved on to post-secondary school.

“I’m thriving, my family is thriving,” Martin said. “This has been the most pivotal opportunity I’ve had in my life to succeed.”

Habitat homeowners pay fair-market value for their homes through a geared-to-income and interest-free mortgage. Those mortgage payments become the partner family’s contribution to the Fund for Humanity which is used to help build more affordable local homes for area families. To date, Habitat for Humanity Ontario Gateway North has partnered with Region communities to provide affordable homeownership for 42 families.

Tickets to the dinner are a $100 donation to Habitat with a $75 tax receipt available. Contact Britta Gerwin, Director of Development and Communications at (705) 646-0106 ext. 205, or email at
In This Issue:
* Glen Reid!
* Safety Tip
* Volunteers Needed
* ReStore Round-Up
* Two Doors Down
* Meaning of Home
* Salvage Crew Members Wanted
* SA Fundraising Dinner
* Amazing Race
* Bonus Photo
* Save the Dates
* Quote of the Week
The Newsreel: Quick Facts to Keep You Informed!
* Support our 2016 build projects across the region by donating online at
* Our Espanola Build rolls on! Stay up to date with photos and more at the Habitat for Humanity - Espanola Build Facebook Page.
* 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 Brick for Brick campaign
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!
Hi Habitat Gateway North Team!
I am truly amazed at the difference a year can make.

This week I had the pleasure of joining our ReStore Managers on their regular conference call. Geographically, our managers have the disadvantage of being miles apart. It’s not easy to just drop by another location and see what’s new. It’s the same challenge we face with our Chapters: how do you build a supportive team environment, with everyone reaching for the same goal, while covering over 200,000 square-kilometres?

This past winter, most of our managers were either new to Habitat ReStores or new to the title of manager. As happens when you’re new, you look for a way to share experiences and build on wisdom, without having to make every mistake yourself. So, our managers began regular conference calls.

These calls are a chance for the five managers to share what’s new, what’s working, what definitely isn’t and ask questions of each other. It’s a forum that connects them, in spite of the distance between them. It would be incredibly easy for each of them to say “it’s my store and I know what’s best”. However, after joining the call this week, I know that isn’t how they operate.

“Differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open.” – Albus Dumbledore

After a year of these chats, the managers have prudent questions, innovative ideas and thoughtful discussion. They want to be kept informed and want to keep their team informed. They share their best practices and have unified, on a number of fronts, the basic operations of a Habitat Gateway North ReStore. It’s incredible to see the development of each individual manager, learning to play to their strengths, as well as the development of the ReStore management team.

While we’re still on the learning curve it’s gratifying to look back and see how far we’ve come. There will always be new challenges to face. To me, that’s the exciting part. Exploring a new challenge, having our team find a way to navigate through it and keeping our eyes on the goal: serving more families.

As HFH Canada President & CEO Mark Rodgers repeats like a mantra: Always Thinking Families First!

Health & Safety tip of the week: What to do when you break down

One of the more potentially dangerous operations at Habitat for Humanity is the role of the truck driver. Aside from driving safely and staying healthy while lifting heavy and loading the truck, sometimes things just go wrong. So, here's what to do if/when the truck breaks down, to make sure the driver and passenger get home safe. 

Do not get out! If the engine breaks down and the driver can not safely maneuver the truck to the side of the roadway, do not get out of the vehicle! Sitting in a dead vehicle with traffic moving around may be uncomfortable, but catastrophic injuries can occur when trying to exit a broken down vehicle. Put the four-way lights on and wait for help.

Stop the vehicle immediately if the tire has blown, or for any other scenario where safe operation of the vehicle is no longer possible. However, if the vehicle can be driven safely, try to bring it to a stop on a straight section of road with a wide shoulder. 

If you manage to get the vehicle to the side of the road, place your safety markers on the roadway to indicate you've broken down and for passing motorists to give a wide berth. Never work on the vehicle from the side of oncoming traffic. If it's not an easy fix, it's best to wait for the roadside-service from inside the vehicle with your seat belt on.

Call roadside assistance, notify your supervisor, and sit tight! 

Most importantly, before any of this happens it's important to have a plan. Plan for the break-down. Who are you going to call? Where can you get the vehicle towed? Is the safety equipment fully-stocked in the vehicle? Is your phone charged? Will you be travelling somewhere out of cell-range? Be prepared for all of the outcomes. Be prepared to get home safely.

- Brian Ingram, Health & Safety Coordinator 
Fund Development with Britta

It is hard to imagine that fall is officially here. I have always looked forward to the changing of the season in Muskoka. Each year the canopy of the wilderness around us turns incredible colours that bring tourists from around the world to see them. The leaves turn from their summer green due to the changes in the length of daylight and temperature. Light, water supply and crisp evenings all are factors that affect the intensity of the fall colours. Fall for Habitat for Humanity Ontario Gateway North promises to be brilliant with many key events and campaigns carrying us into the season.

The Genworth Meaning of Home campaign is a incredible opportunity for our various regions and Chapters to become involved. The contest is a great way to encourage independent and critical thought while promoting creative writing, and increasing awareness around social issues while supporting our communities. For each essay that is submitted Genworth Canada will generously donate $10 per essay. We are seeking volunteers to assist with follow up calls and in classroom presentations throughout Ontario Gateway North. If even 80% of the schools participate the children will have raised enough money to build a home for one of our partner families.

Our Sudbury ReStore will be relocating as we require a larger space. We are taking to the online community to help launch our Aviva Community Fund submission for a new location. Voting will begin on October the 11th through to October 28th. People may vote once a day throughout the contest. Please help spread the word and vote daily so that we can make this relocation a reality.

North Bay will be hosting its Amazing Race Fundraiser on Saturday October 1st to help support a future build. There are some spots still available to take part in this fun filled day. Please email to register. We hope to see you there!

The South Almaguin’s Adopt-A-Home Fundraiser will be held on Saturday October 15thwith a gourmet dinner and fabulous entertainment by Glen Reid. The event is only $100 per person and will be an elegant evening out. Attendees will receive a $75 tax receipt. Please contact Val Scheekey to secure your ticket at

With so many events and activities fall promises to be brilliant throughout Ontario Gateway North!

Britta Gerwin
Director of Development and Communications
ReStore Round Up
Julie Briggs is a DIYer and interior-decorating blogger from New York State. She recently started her ReStore Round-Up series where she "up-cycles" great finds at her local Habitat for Humanity ReStore. Check out some of Julie's inspiring creations! 
Come Volunteer at a Habitat for Humanity ReStore
Are you looking for a fun way to get some community involvement hours? The Habitat for Humanity ReStores are open six or seven days-a-week and offer flexible shifts. 
  • Get valuable work experience that can lead to written recommendations and references for work elsewhere and for post-secondary education.
  • Learn skills in fundraising or event planning.
  • Gain valuable customer service skills at the ReStore.
  • Help build affordable homes for hardworking families! 
Students must be at least 16 years of age. A parent or legal guardian must sign a release for students under 18 years old.
Student-volunteers will need to bring safety footwear approved by the Canadian Standards Association. CSA-approved footwear has a solid green triangular patch on the upper of the boot or shoe. Some extra CSA-Approved footwear is available in-store. 
Two doors down . . .

Homeownership is unrealistic. That's a reality for so many young families today. Even families who have two working parents. Saving a down payment while paying for rent, utilities, medicine, child-care costs, and the day-to-day necessities is often a non-starter.

Families have resigned to renting, or living with family members. The cost of homeownership is deterring families and delaying their economic progress. So why should we care?

There are many economic benefits to owning a home. Families begin to build equity and plan for the future. Stability is provided. Money is being used to earn rather than buy. But, perhaps even more importantly, there are genuine social benefits provided to homeowners. These benefits include, increased employment quality and income, improved health behaviours, greater engagement in the community and society, and a better educational outlook. The bottom-line is homeowners create stronger communities.

A family buying their first home is a big transition. Habitat partner families move from the rental market to the traditional real estate market once they move into their homes. Rarely, will homeowners return to renting.

Unfortunately, young families are unqualified to enter this market on their own. Or, it's simply a bad investment. Living paycheque-to-paycheque means the money is going towards food, shelter, and bills. The savings account is for emergencies. These families are forced to think day-to-day. So we, their community, neighbours, friends, and government should be looking out for their tomorrow.

Help Us Spread the Word!
We just need 80% of the eligible students to enter and we'll build a home!
By now, hopefully you will have heard about Genworth Canada's 2016 Meaning of Home contest. This toolkit will ensure that's the case for your surrounding communities. Please help spread the word. Remember, even if 80% of the eligible students in the Habitat OGN Region enter this contest we will have raised enough money to build a house. 

Reach out to us on twitter @HFHGatewayNorth to start the conversation! #MeaningofHome
BONUS PASSAGE | Thanks for reading! 
When we hit our forties, Marian and I decided we should periodically take deliberate steps to shake off life's accumulated dust. Beginning on October 2, the day before our 35th wedding anniversary, we're going to take the first of what will be innumerable steps along the ancient pilgrimage of Camino Frances in northern Spain. We're allowing five weeks to make the 800km trek from St. Jean Pied de Port on the French side of the Pyrenees to Santiago de Compostela. If all goes to plan, we'll end the walk on Marian's birthday onNovember 3rd, a little less dusty, at least figuratively, a little lighter above the boots, and however physically spent, re-energized above the shoulders.

An HFH Canada training program next week makes this my final week in the office. I leave with the comfort that we have a good team in place, headed by Acting CEO Meghan Smith. Meghan will be working with our ReStore management team and our chapters on some preliminary budgeting and planning activity for 2017. I'll be in touch with Meghan along "The Way," and the annual planning cycle will become a primary focus of activity when I return the second week of November. Until then, buen otoño, todo el mundo,

Save the Dates

We have several events already scheduled for this year, run by our Chapter Committees and third party groups. So mark your calendars or contact us to get involved!

Currently underway - Huntsville Build at 11 Irene St.

October 1st - Amazing Race, North Bay and Blue Sky Region Chapter

October 3rd - Genworth Meaning of Home contest officially opens

October 11th - Voting for the Aviva Community Fund opens

Weekend of October 14th - Oktoberfest with the Muskoka Brewery!

October 15th - South Almaguin Fundraising Dinner @ Highlander Brew Co. | South River

November 29th - Giving Tuesday

No comments: