After starting off this summer by working for a small business where my main job was selling their products at trade-shows, I knew after a week that I wanted to get more out of my summer and position than I was getting. I quit my first job knowing that many non-profits were getting their Canada Summer Jobs’ funding, and there would still be many positions left to apply for. One day I stumbled upon a summer student posting for Habitat for Humanity, and while I did not know about all their programs at the time, not even their infamous ReStores, I drafted a cover letter and applied! I knew of students who had been on trips to other countries during their school reading weeks with Habitat for Humanity to build for local communities, but I didn’t exactly know about the Habitat homes being built here on home soil.
The morning of my second interview I had a dentist appointment to remove a cavity, and by the time of my interview half of my mouth was still frozen. I gave a heads up to my now-supervisor not to be alarmed by my mouth and we had a laugh. While waiting to hear from Habitat after my second interview, I decided to work with my brother as a general labourer at a greenhouse. Getting a call during my lunch break from Habitat, letting me know I got the position, made my day and made the rest of the day fly by!
I had training and documents to fill out on the first day, along with several other summer students and we toured around the office and ReStore, meeting staff and volunteers. In the second half of the day we split up into our departments, mine being Resource Development. I have had a summer job through the Federal grant program before, but the experiences here at Habitat are completely different. I could tell the minute I walked in and heard co-workers and volunteers talking, that this office and organization had an upbeat and inviting atmosphere. The laughs can be heard by anyone walking through the office because everyone here is a family working to make a difference in our community.
As Education Program Assistant, my overall responsibility is to work on and promote all programs that either save us money or bring in donations, so that we can put more towards our building costs to create more affordable housing. More specifically, I have worked on contacting restaurants and caterers in Burlington and Mississauga to build partnerships of which include donated or discounted lunches for the volunteers we have on our build sites daily. I have written several blog posts highlighting our various programs, and I am now working on an Instagram campaign to increase our reach to the community, specifically promoting our one-of-a-kind ReVive Centre!
I love working for non-profits because no matter what my position and responsibilities are, I am motivated to work for change and for the good it will bring. I love Habitat’s vision of a world where everyone has a decent place to live. It’s all too easy to stay in the bubble many of us have grown up in, especially in Canada, but it is important to keep our mind and eyes open. Too many Canadians are in need of affordable housing, and with increasing costs, Habitat for Humanity is in more need and demand than ever before.
I wanted to work for this Habitat affiliate because of their energy and efforts towards helping the community, not only through affordable housing, but also through all their additional programs that benefit everyone.
During my first week I read through our impact report for 2012-2017 and was blown away by all the stats and information given, as well their plan to add over 250 homes into their property pipeline over the next three years! Even this summer, as I worked for a day on my first ever Habitat build on our Queensway site, hammering together work tables for incoming Corporate volunteer teams, I felt empowered. Everyone can make a difference, and there are so many ways and opportunities to do so, so why wait any longer.
My summer at Habitat Halton-Mississauga has not only given me a chance to develop skills such as professionalism and procurement, but also given me the chance to work with amazing people who are dedicated towards making many families’ dreams come true through affordable homeownership. This summer has opened my eyes to the great need for this, not just overseas, but right here in our backyards. We need affordable housing here in Canada, and to achieve that we need committed donors, volunteers, and awareness of and participation in our many programs.
At Habitat, I have met amazing co-workers. They’re the kind of people who will stop what they’re doing to read your letter drafts. They are kind, hardworking, helpful and generous with their laughter, which always makes the work environment inviting and a great, productive place to be.
On top of loving my job and the diverse responsibilities and tasks I have. I also love coming to see my coworkers who have quickly turned into friends. I have gotten very comfortable with reaching out to the public and businesses and asking for donations so that they will stay and listen to all I have to say. I have also had the chance to learn more about their marketing platforms and behind the scenes of their website, which has been great because it is also my field of study!