Caitlyn Drexler’s goal in life is to help others in the biggest way that she can—and this summer, she’s making steady progress towards that goal by working at Habitat for Humanity Halton-Mississauga. As a Brand Ambassador, Caitlyn’s role includes recruiting, both online and in the community. She is also “working on implementing a new training and development project for all of the volunteers in the ReStores.”
“I think what (Habitat does) is really cool; building houses and giving people a hand up rather than a hand out. It’s a different way of looking at a non-for-profit. Non-for-profits (are) usually the hand out, which some people don’t necessarily want. They want to feel like they’re earning it, not that they’re just being given it for no reason,” Caitlyn explained.
Caitlyn has been able to contribute to Habitat’s efforts to provide a hand-up through her work with the organization. “I’ve been doing some shuttle driving (at Habitat) and going to see the sites, I’ve actually seen the work basically from the ground up, which is cool. (And) seeing my recruitment and the work I’m doing have an impact, and seeing the volunteers being brought in, helping in the ReStore and on the sites, is cool, too.”
Caitlyn is going into her third year of Wilfrid Laurier’s Honours Political Science program. Her area of study relates to her role at Habitat because she is “working with the community, making relationships with different people (and) partnering with corporations.” She said she chose political science after taking a world issues course in grade 12.
“It was super interesting,” she said of the course. “I realized that there’s more world than just Canada. Despite this, she said her favourite subjects at Laurier are those revolving around Canadian politics. Still, she said, “It’s interesting to see the impact that Canada has on the world, how countries are so different than Canada and then how countries are really similar.”
Outside of Habitat, Caitlyn is “very active. I’m on the cheerleading team at Laurier, the varsity team. I’ve been doing that in the summer and during the year. I like to stay active and do sports and stuff,” she said. “And Starbucks,” she added with a laugh.
She is also a member of Laurier’s student-athlete club, which promotes “being an athlete as well as a student,” Caitlyn said. She interviews people, writes blog posts and helps to run events. As well, Caitlyn is the Vice-President of Communications of Laurier’s Young Liberal Club. In this role, she helps to volunteer during elections and run events such as women in politics events. Caitlyn said that her involvement in these clubs has helped her at Habitat since she has developed her communication skills.
Caitlyn is “a great asset to our team that has developed some efficiencies in our recruitment team that hopefully will have lots of impact, especially on our student engagement side,” said Shannon MacKenzie, Manager of Volunteers and Program Services, who works closely with Caitlyn.
“She’s proactive, she’s organized. She’s a really great leader—she’s already taken a co-op student on. She’s a great team player,” Shannon continued.
Caitlyn’s co-op student agreed. “Caitlyn is great to work with because she has a lot of knowledge about everything that we’re doing,” Cameron Montague said. “She’s also really great when it comes to guiding me down a path. She knows when to step in and and tell me what to do and when to just let me find my own way.”
“Caitlyn is pretty dedicated to Habitat’s brand as a whole. She’s a great person to help spread awareness and also lead people as to why they should volunteer. She’s a great representative for Habitat,” Ashley Curcic, Habitat’s Hospitality and Events Coordinator, said.
Caitlyn has been involved in tutoring and working with children with autism and Down Syndrome. Working with kids is something that she said she is interested in doing in the future. She said that she enjoys “seeing the progress, seeing them face new challenges (and) get over their fears.”
“Kids have so much happiness in them. I feel like we could all take a lesson from little kids.”
Caitlyn said that she isn’t sure about her post-graduation plans. “I’ve found that if I try to decide now, it sometimes doesn’t work out. I’ve been going with the flow. It’s gotten me this far—I’m happy where I am at Habitat. So hopefully I’ll just keep growing and doing what I love,” she said. Still, she does know that she wants to devote her life to helping others.
“It feels good to help others and see the smiles on their faces,” she said. “At Habitat, we build homes for each family, and I’d like to kind of expand on that. My specific goal is to help people in life. Wherever I can do the most help in the world, the most good, that’s where I want to end up.”