Sunday, November 20, 2016

HFH Gateway North News 11.18.2016

Serving Orillia Lake Country, North Simcoe, District of Muskoka, Parry Sound District, North Bay and Blue Sky Region and Sudbury District
MPAC Team Members Brave the Rain to Help in Huntsville
It was a little cold, and a little rainy. But you would never be able to tell from the smiles on the faces of the MPAC team.

Six members from the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation's assessment office in Bracebridge travelled north on Hwy. 11 on Wednesday morning to help at the Irene St. build in Huntsville.

MPAC and Habitat have a history of building together. Some of the volunteers reminisced about helping on past builds in Gravenhurst and Bracebridge.  As people who know their way around the real estate game they come to a Habitat buildsite with a real depth of knowledge and eagerness to help build more local affordable homes.

Habitat OGN Construction Manager Vince Tournour had the MPAC crew lay down insulation board in preparation of pouring the concrete floors in the basement.

Habitat for Humanity Ontario Gateway North extends, once again, a warm thank you to the team at MPAC for their help and dedication to the community.

More photos below . . . 
In This Issue:
* Thanks MPAC

* Feel Good Story
* More MPAC!
* Britta's Column
* Health & Safety
* Leadership
* Shoppers Optimum
* Best Wine Rack!
* Meaning of Home
* Maple Leaf Ticket Draw
* Santa's Toy Company
* Event Posters
* 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 visit
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,

For half of this week, Britta, David, our Board Chair Jack and I have been in Niagara at the HFHC National Leadership Conference. The Habitat family is a great one and having the opportunity to attend sessions on a wide array of topics is an exceptional showcase of what being part of the Habitat family means. Better still are the break time and dinner conversations with other affiliate leaders, looking for feedback, knowledge and solutions, just as each of us is searching for those answers. We’re all here to connect and engage.

“The willingness to show up changes us. It makes us a little braver each time.” – BrenĂ© Brown

Yesterday, HFHC President and CEO Mark Rodgers spoke of “daring greatly” and what that means as we move into the future. Rob Voisin, HFHC’s Vice President of ReStore and Product Support, shared a ReStore pilot project with exciting potential. Meghan Reddick, HFHC’s Vice President of Marketing and Communications, introduced the new brand guidelines through classic '80s movie photos. Our afternoon session featured Doug Keeley, The Mark of a Leader, and focused on story telling.

We know in Habitat that we have great stories to share – family stories, volunteer stories, personal stories, and community stories. But we don’t always do a good job of telling those stories. We’re so busy with our day-to-day that we don’t take the time to craft an engaging story, even with all the pieces right in front of us. Our stories are worth sharing.

This summer, we had the opportunity to work with Starshine Video Productions on a feature about Habitat for Humanity Ontario Gateway North and what Habitat means to many of those involved. We had a homeowner and volunteers from across our region join us for a beautiful day of shooting at The Artful Garden in Bracebridge. The final product is exactly what we hoped it would be; a media piece showing all of the individuals it takes to truly make Habitat what it is.

Click HERE to watch the "What does Habitat mean to you?" video

We have an amazing group of people involved in our local projects, across our affiliate region, across all of the Canadian affiliates and within Habitat for Humanity Canada’s National Office. It’s been said that we can’t do our work without our volunteers. But it’s even more than that. As a Federation, we wouldn’t be who we are, and we wouldn’t be able to dare greatly, if not for every individual who makes Habitat part of their lives. Every member of the Habitat family brings something to the table.

For me, the people make the place. From where I’m sitting, it’s a pretty exciting place to be with even more incredible places to go.

Be well, do good deeds, and keep in touch,

A feel-good story:

The North Simcoe chapter had a family leave us due to a marital split. That house was purchased by Habitat OGN and a new family has been put in under the new mortgage program.

The family that left was an excellent partnering family, and we were sad to see them leave. A couple of weeks ago I ran into the father of this family, who with great pride, told me that he had purchased a new home with a conventional mortgage. He also went on to say that had he not had his experience with Habitat and its budgeting program he would not have been able to take this next step.

Both of his children are now living with him and his smile is even brighter!

This is why we do what we do.

Kate Arnold
MPAC Team Members Brave the Rain to Help in Huntsville
Canadian Federation Approves Strategic Direction at Leadership Retreat
Mark Rodgers, President and CEO, and Susan Smith, COO of HFH Canada, providing an overview of the new strategic plan.

Members of the leadership in Habitat for Humanity's Canadian Federation met in Niagara this week. This morning, the group reviewed and voted on the "Federation Strategic Direction: 2016-2020." The strategic direction brought forth by Habitat Canada CEO Mark Rodgers was approved by an overwhelming majority of Canadian affiliates.

In attendance from Habitat for Humanity Ontario Gateway North were:

David Morris, CEO
Meghan Smith, COO
Britta Gerwin, Director of Development and Communication
Jack Lanctot, Habitat OGN Board Chair
National Board Chair, Don Bjornson, introduces a key vote on "Federation Strategic Direction: 2016-2020," the federation's new strategic plan.
For part of this week David, Meghan, Jack (our Board Chair) and I attended the National Leadership Retreat. As someone who is new to the Habitat family is was an honour to meet so many leaders who collectively form Habitat for Humanity Canada.  The introduction to our retreat was an inspirational session lead by HFHC President and CEO Mark Rodgers. He spoke of the future of the Federation and of how we must all dare greatly.

One of the stories that resonated with me was how ReStores came into being. The Winnipeg Habitat team that spearheaded the initiative and introduced the idea was first met with some skepticism. They were given time to start it as a pilot project separate from their concentration of building affordable homes for our partner families. The ReStore concept became a smashing success and a pillar of Habitat for Humanity. The Winnipeg pioneers who dared to look at different ways of supporting Habitat’s efforts changed the history of Habitat moving forward. They set the bar high and achieved remarkable success – in essence they dared greatly.

The afternoon session was led by Doug Keeley and concentrated on the importance of storytelling as the mark of leadership. Throughout Habitat Ontario Gateway North we all have a connection that makes us one Habitat family. Each and every one of us has a story to tell about what has brought us together. These stories include staff, volunteers, sponsors, partner families and so much more. Throughout our often hectic days we often forget to share these experiences. We need to take the time to communicate them to each other and to those that are not familiar with our work.  Over the next weeks please share your connection to Habitat by sharing your stories with us so that we may share them with others either by submitting them via email to us or sharing them on the internal newsletter.

As we approach the end of the year we need to truly dare greatly. Next Year is a pivotal year for Ontario Gateway North. Our goal is to partner with 17 families, to grow as an Affiliate in leaps and bounds, that may seem daunting but is not impossible. We need to collectively think of how we can achieve our goals together and support each region that makes up our family. If you have ideas, a different approach or a constructive way to help make 2017 one of the best years yet know the door to the office is always open and all ideas are welcome. Let’s stretch ourselves to think of ways that will make this coming year one of the best years yet.

Health & Safety tip of the week: Electrical Safety

It's getting real now.

Workers risk serious injury and possible death if they come in contact with energized conductors and equipment.

It doesn't take much. In fact, it takes very little electrical current to kill. Less than one amp of current is enough to cause a worker to stop breathing. At Ontario workplaces, one in five critical injuries and one in 18 non-critical injuries involving electricity results in death, according to the Electrical Safety Authority. (Source)

To prevent incident and promote safety in the workplace it's important to enact and follow protocol. Make sure power tools and electrical cords are properly maintained and stored. Make sure to have a signal person and spotter available when operating heavy equipment around electrical infrastructure. This is especially important when working around overhead wires.

Make sure team members are wearing required protective equipment when working with or around electrical hazards.

Like most safety tips and best practices, 90 per cent of the work is in the preparation and respecting the danger. It only takes one momentary lapse of judgement to have a heart--stopping moment.

Stay safe everyone. 

- Brian Ingram, Health & Safety Coordinator 
Help Habitat for Humanity through Points Sharing
It's the holiday season and you're racking up optimum points like nobody's business, but you just don't know how to use them? Well now you can donate them to Habitat for Humanity. You're welcome! And thanks!

The Shoppers Optimum Points Donation Program offers a unique and easy way to help support the construction of local affordable housing.

By donating some (or all) of your Shoppers Optimum Points to our organization, you are making it possible for Habitat to use your points toward products and supplies we need for our ongoing activities. We could use the points to buy snacks for our volunteers on the buildsite, or materials for our fundraising and key ceremonies. The options to help are numerous.

Here's how to donate:

Visit this website and login with your Shoppers Optimum Card before donating your points to a great cause.

With your support, we can "optimize" our fundraising and construction efforts and provide even more affordable homes in the community.

Building Homes. Building Hope. 
Huntsville's Wine Rack One of Ontario's Top Habitat Supporters
Huntsville Wine Rack Store Manager Wendy Jaques displays the bottles of Jackson-Triggs Reserve Sparkling Cuve Close for a Cause. For each bottle sold, $2 of the proceeds are donated to Habitat for Humanity. One of the many fundraising initiatives put on by Wine Rack stores in Ontario in support of Habitat. 

Wendy is a little competitive when it comes to raising money for Habitat.

Each week she calls the store in Bracebridge to see what their donation numbers are like.

"And I ask every single one of our customers if they'd like to donate to Habitat. Every single one," she smiles.

It's reasons like these why the Huntsville Wine Rack store has been among the best, if not the best, in the province since their partnership with Habitat started.

Each year, from near the beginning of October until the end of the calendar year, Wine Rack stores put on a number of promotions to raise money for Habitat. Along with asking for donations with purchases, the Wine Rack in Huntsville runs a bottle drive, coin box, ugly sweater days and construction couture days.

The last two, team members pay a fee to dress in an ugly sweater of high-fashion construction-wear inspired outfits.

Last year, the Wine Rack in Huntsville raised $2,477 for Habitat. This year, they're well on their way to surpassing a $2,500 goal.

Despite managing a store with a smaller surrounding population than others in the province, the Huntsville Wine Rack really knows how to rack up the donations. Something Wendy attributes to her generous customers.

"Our customers have really big hearts," she says. "It is very successful. We even have customers asking 'when does your Habitat campaign start.'"

Visit a Wine Rack to help support Habitat. Both the stores in Huntsville and Bracebridge are having their Construction Couture days this weekend, and are running a bottle drive from November 17-30

We are almost at 1,500 entries across the country in Genworth Canada's Meaning of Home contest. Which means, students across Canada have raised nearly $15,000 toward the construction of affordable homes. Here is another entry from our region. Grade 5 student Hunter from Sundridge has this to say about the meaning of home:

Home is important because it protects you from wild animals and it gives you protection from rain, thunderstorms and lightning. Home is more than something just over your head. It can keep you warm, dry, comfy and happy. Home keeps the food safe for the people that are living inside. Home also lets the people share the food. You can have your birthday in your house with your friends and family. You can have treasure hunts in your house.

Homes will keep people safe, dry and warm. It’s important for people to have houses because it will help their lives. It gives them a place to stay warm, comfortable, and happy.


It's time to show your support for Habitat by spreading the word about the Genworth Meaning of Home contest! The contest has been open since Monday, Oct. 3, and so far only one poem has been registered on the Genworth Meaning of Home site, from Milton, ON. Let's go, Habitat OGN! We only need 80% of eligible students to simply ENTER the contest and we'd have enough money to build a home. There's no better time, no better reason, and no better way to support our cause than this right here and right now.

By encouraging students and teachers from all across Canada to participate in the Genworth Canada Meaning of Home contest, young people learn how to be engaged, compassionate citizens while directly supporting the home-building initiatives of Habitat Affiliates – a one-of-a-kind opportunity for young people to make a real impact in their communities.

Students can submit their entries between October 3rd and November 30th. For more information on contest rules, or to submit an entry, visit The contest winner and runners-up will be announced in February, 2017.
Habitat's Hockey Hat-Trick Raffle
Presented by the Parry Sound Chapter
Tickets may be purchased via the Parry Sound Chapter 
Santa's Toy Company is Open for Bidding

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