Home in South Edmonton.

Kadra is ecstatic about her new life at Neufeld Landing, a Habitat development in south Edmonton. She is married to Abdul, and they have two children: Tasleem, their 9-year old daughter, and Hamdi, their 5-year old son. She spoke about family walks, getting to know the neighbourhood, and having great family discussions over food grilled on the BBQ. At their apartment, barbecuing wasn’t possible, but now they can enjoy it all summer long. Also, both Tasleem and Hamdi are avid swimmers who feel at home in water.

Before Habitat, Kadra and Abdul found themselves in a similar situation to many families in Edmonton: trying unsuccessfully to save for a down payment due to high rent costs and other factors. Kadra and Abdul found themselves yearning for a better life without any means of making that life a reality. There was no foreseeable exit from the apartment they had been renting for eight years.

Abdul had a friend whose family was living in a Habitat house, and his friend encouraged them to apply. Kadra and Abdul were both working parents who really wanted to own THEIR OWN HOME. They had little hope that they would be accepted into the program, but they applied any way. Kadra recalled the day they received the call from Habitat Edmonton:

“You have no idea! I was so excited when they told me that they had a house for us! I asked Habitat, ‘are you sure we are accepted?’ We set up an appointment to meet and I didn’t sleep the whole week until we met with them. I called my husband and was screaming on the phone! We’re in! We got a home!”

Kadra was excited to start her 500 hours of volunteering, but some of it was postponed due to COVID-19; however, there was an opportunity to deliver flyers for Habitat, so her and her kids pounced on the opportunity.

“Home ownership is peace of mind,” said Kadra. “Not worrying about getting kicked out, no rent raises, or wasting my money… I can stay in this Habitat house as long as I want and I’m building equity.”

Kadra was speechless when she walked into her home for the first time. She said that words escaped her. She was overjoyed because it was her first home.

“My son was the most excited; he couldn’t run around in our apartment,” said Kadra. “When we moved in, the first thing he did was run around the entire house. He said, ‘Mom, are you going to stop me from running?’ I told him, no! Go!”

Kadra and Abdul thank the many people who made it possible for them to own a home.

She said, “My husband and I couldn’t even have imagined a house like this, but Habitat transformed our lives 100 percent.”

Around the world for Habitat

*Please note that due to COVID-19, all Global Village trips have been cancelled until the end of 2020. 

 

In 2015 two incredible people entered the Habitat for Humanity world: Kerry and Rudy Buchfink. They discovered the Habitat program in 2015 and have volunteered multiple times per year in countries across the world. Since 2015, they have been on a staggering 19 Global Village trips!

Where have they been?

Armenia, Chile, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Indonesia, Macedonia (x2), Nova Scotia, Nepal, Nicaragua (x2), Poland, Portugal (x3), Prince Edward Island, Trinidad, and the Yukon.

“I’m not sure what we’d be doing if we weren’t building homes with Habitat,” Rudy joked, “We already walk our daughter’s dog 2-3 times a week. If we weren’t building homes we’d probably double that number and take a small vacation once a year.”

Habitat changed their future of dog-walking into building homes for families in need. In 2015, the couple boarded a plane for their first Global Village build, which was in Portugal. The project was a renovation, and Rudy spoke fondly of their first time experience on a Habitat build site.

“When we arrived on site, we saw that [the renovation] was a big job,” said Rudy. “The homes needed everything from trenching to removing the old roofs. We mixed cement in a wheelbarrow and the work was HARD, but the hosts were well organized and so we were making huge progress throughout the day.”

Kerry noted that when they first arrive on site, they immediately notice a language barrier. However, everybody laughed so much while they tried to understand each other that it added a new element of delight to the experience.

“The groups are happy to have you there and they bend over backwards to help YOU in any way they can,” said Kerry.

It was difficult for Kerry to select one trip as a highlight, but she did remember building in Nepal as a neat experience. “Baby goats were born every day on our build site – yes, goats! We also had to take jeeps to the build site because some of the roads were washed out. I’ll remember that build.”

Rudy likewise had a special trip, and that was his trip to Indonesia, “Building the homes was a real community effort. Everyone – even the kids – pitched in to learn construction and to learn English. Habitat helps families get homes; worthwhile homes that they are proud of.”

The couple was surprised by how they were accepted so quickly by people who didn’t even know them – both in the community and on their build teams. It is fair to say that Global Village has changed the Buchfink’s lives as much or more than the impact they have had on the people in the countries they have visited.

 

*Although Global Village trips have been cancelled to the end of 2020 (and, unfortunately, the Buchfink’s September Global Village trip to Romania was cancelled), you can still read up on Global Village to see what is all involved. https://habitat.ca/en/volunteer/build-globally

 

 

2020 Interfaith Works Project Kick Off!

We had a great time celebrating the kick off of the 2020 Interfaith Works Project! We are aiming to connect 50 faith communities to the important work that Habitat is doing in the capital region. Below are a few photos from the event.

 

    

Grande Prairie girl is runner-up in Meaning of Home contest.

Julia from Grande Prairie was selected as a runner-up of Genworth Canada‘s Meaning of Home contest! She wrote about what “home” means in her piece entitled “Home is where the Heart is” (you can read it in the photo below). Julia chose Habitat Edmonton as the recipient of a $5,000 grant (Habitat Edmonton builds in Grande Prairie), and enjoyed a Pizza Party today with her classmates!
 
Thanks very much Julia, and congratulations!

Volunteer Appreciation Night – Recognizing the Accomplishments of 2018

What an amazing night! Our volunteers are incredible and we are blessed that they continue to choose to spend their time with Habitat for Humanity. Below are the awards and some photos from the night.

150+ Hours of Service in 2018

These awards were presented by Chris Bruce (Vice Chair, Board of Directors) and Karen Stone (President & CEO).

Recipients: Allan Byer, Bernie Gerbrandt, Bob Atlee, Bruno Enderlin, Calvin Byers, Candace Callaway, Clark Bertagnolli, Cynthia Davis, Darrell Gagne, Dave Taschuk, David DeLisle, David Wangler, Don Neufeld, Edgar Wierstra, Elaine Wagner, Fred Coffey, Gary Gordey, Gaston Van Den Bosch, Gerry Borle, Glenda Wyatt, Grant Halliday, Hank Fast, Hillary Harrison, Horst Depner, Ian MacDonald, Jack McLean, Jack John Lee, Jerry Derejko, Jim Matheson, Jim  Lesjak, Joe Biggeman, John Renfree, John Kendall, Judy Paynter, Kathryn Morris, Kristian  Arnault, Lina Liew, Margolee Horn, Mariam Djalili, Marjorie Keay, Marty Clark, Merle Morrisseau, Mike DeLong, Neil Calhoun, Neil Watkins, Norm Krahn, Orest Myckan, Oryssia Lennie, Oscar Johnston, Patrick Robertson, Peter Mickelsen, Peter Malcolm, Peter Johnston, Rick Delorme, Rizal Vega, Robert Lloyd, Ron Leaf, Ryan Caruso, Sam Yurkiw, Sheila Scrutton, Spencer Potts, Steve Waite, Ted McClung, Terry Chantler, Tom De Beyer, Wayne Hawker, and Yaseen El-Hakim.

3-Years of Volunteer Service

These awards were presented by Chris Bruce (Vice Chair, Board of Directors) and Karen Stone (President & CEO).

Recipients: Gary Gordey, Joe Biggeman, and Janet Yoneda (Laurie Watson and Ryan Caruso in absentia).

 

5-Years of Volunteer Service

Recipients: Karl Roessler, and Mariam Djalili (Sam Kelly in absentia).

10-Years of Volunteer Service

These awards were presented by Chris Bruce (Vice Chair, Board of Directors) and Karen Stone (President & CEO).

Recipients: Terry Chantler and Neil Watkins

Special Contribution Awards

The award was presented by Chris Bruce (Vice Chair, Board of Directors), and Kristian Arnault (Construction Manager), and Karen Stone (President & CEO).

Recipient: Nisha Handa.

Nisha began in May of 2018 at the Carter Place build site. She volunteers every Friday and has welcomed literally hundreds of new volunteers, helping them to feel welcome, find their gear and get signed in. Nisha is always friendly and full of positive energy. She helps everything run smoothly – from getting the volunteers ready in time for orientation, to helping them to navigate those complicated vests to help the site staff start their day smoothly.

The award was presented by Chris Bruce (Vice Chair, Board of Directors), Lynn-Marie MacDonald (Lunch Coordinator), and Karen Stone (President & CEO).

Recipient: Minchau Childcare & Out of School Care.

Once a month, Minchau Childcare and Out of School Care hold a staff team-building event to make lunch for our volunteers. For the past nine months, the people from Minchau have come once a month, quietly dropping off a delicious meal for everyone and then leaving. They’ve left an impression because I have heard specifically from people how much they have enjoyed their meal.

 

Group Volunteer Award

The award was presented by Chris Bruce (Vice Chair, Board of Directors), ReStore Managers, and Karen Stone (President & CEO).

Recipient: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

LDS has been involved with Habitat for the past five years and they have made an extraordinary contributions, specifically at our Restores. These young people come with a heart to serve. They bring laughter, they bring enthusiasm, and they work hard.  LDS has sent nearly 300 people to help us since 2013 and these volunteers generally volunteer several times. Every week 28 young people come out to volunteer for ReStore for a half day. They are organized so that each store gets four full shifts of volunteers.

 

The Chuck Ziegler ReStore Award of Excellence

(The award is named in memory of Chuck Ziegler, a longtime ReStore volunteer who exemplified excellence in volunteerism at the ReStore).

The award was presented by Chris Bruce (Vice Chair, Board of Directors), Chris Gibson (Director of ReStore Operations), and Karen Stone (President & CEO).

Recipient: Horst Depner.

Horst was instrumental in helping start the first ReStore in Edmonton, and then envision a larger location. He had the vision to acquire our current property and was able to negotiate trading the former ReStore and obtaining a significant donation to help make that happen. Horst became the project manager at 8210 Yellowhead Trail (Habitat Centre). 

Horst has a long history with Habitat and was instrumental in setting up the north AND the east ReStores. He is now a regular volunteer at ReStore South, and specializes in fixing all things electrical and electronic (and has contributed nearly 400 hours at the store!). We are very pleased that Horst Depner has received the Chuck Ziegler ReStore Award of Excellence!

 

 

The Construction Award of Excellence

Recipient: John Kendall (in absentia).

John has a great work ethic, is humorous, always smiling, and knowledgeable. He is a crew leader who began volunteering with Habitat in 2011. Since that time John has contributed over 2,400 hours. He is fast and accurate framer who leads crews in our Prefab Shop. John is an ambassador for Habitat, and he has a tremendous amount of patience – he takes the time to teach new volunteers how to perform tasks properly and safely. We are so pleased that John has received our Construction Award of Excellence.

 

The Don Neufeld Outstanding Volunteer Award

The award was presented by Chris Bruce (Vice Chair, Board of Directors), Don Neufeld (award namesake), and Karen Stone (President & CEO).

Recipient: Oryssia Lennie.

Oryssia is humble, yet she has a long list of accomplishments, honours, and awards (such as the Order of Canada). She is strategic and compassionate; a leader who has shared her wisdom and expertise to a wide array of boards. In 2012, we were extremely fortunate to have Oryssia join our Board of Directors. Her contributions helped Habitat grow to be the largest Habitat in Canada.

Oryssia was Chair of Habitat Edmonton’s board of directors from 2016 to 2018, and she was instrumental in setting the stage for the future – including the 2017 Jimmy & Rosalynn Work Project. During her 7 year tenure on the board, there were very few Habitat events that Oryssia had to miss – she is very dedicated to Habitat’s mission and took every opportunity to share Habitat with others and to ensure that they understood how our program works. We are very pleased that Oryssia is the recipient of the Don Neufeld Outstanding Volunteer Award.