Brad Bruder’s first experience with Habitat for Humanity Halton-Mississauga was through his organization, We Are One World. He and a group of friends partnered with Canadian organizations and charities to empower youth to take on leadership roles through volunteerism. After bringing youth to Habitat build sites, Brad became a familiar face at Habitat—and when he emailed this summer to inquire about upcoming builds, he ended up with a summer job!
Brad began working with Habitat as a Family Services Coordinator. In that role, he was focused on “working to improve the homeownership program for the families that are already in our existing homes, and improve the aspect(s) of community and integration within our homeownership program.” As the summer went on, Brad transitioned to Habitat’s Construction Department, where he is working as a planner.
In that role, he “work(s) with a lot of our municipal and regional partners along with architects and other homebuilders to work towards planning for Habitat’s future builds,” Brad said. “I’m working on the Every Home Habitat home vision, which is designed to create maximum integration with our homeownership program and allow for many of our homes to become energy efficient, to reduce their waste, to increase social interactions and to improve mobility for our home users.” He is also working on Habitat’s seven builds, developing construction plans and working with local regional partners to move projects forward.
Brad’s job ties in almost perfectly with his area of study. In the fall, he will be entering his second year of urban planning at the University of Waterloo. “What I’ve learned in school is to be able to work with the community and to try to convince the community as to why certain home options would be best for that community,” Brad said. “I’ve been using those skills and the knowledge I’ve learned in my first year to be able to talk to community members within Burlington, Mississauga and Halton Hills to encourage them that Habitat’s homeownership program is a good program to have in their community.”
In his first year of study, Brad’s favourite course was urban design. In that course, he “learned many different ways that you can integrate communities so that it’s accepted by both homeowners, corporations and the general public to make sure the areas are accessible. I really enjoyed doing that work and it integrates really well with Habitat (because) that’s what they’re trying to accomplish,” he explained.
Brad is passionate about working to integrate housing in communities. “After I graduate, I want to work with many municipal, regional and federal partners to develop a new way for how we look at communities and how they should be built in the future,” Brad said.
“I want to become an advocate for green building, integrated housing and sustainable communities.”
While working with Habitat, Brad has made a strong impression on his co-workers.
“I met Brad last fall when he organized a youth group to work as a volunteer group at the Georgetown hotel, landscaping and cleaning up the property. Then, to my surprise, I found him working for Habitat during the summer as a student and managed to coerce him out of the family group and into more of the urban planning areas and assisting construction, where his forte really is,” Roger Board, Habitat’s Director of Property Development, Planning and Construction, said.
Brad’s best quality is his “Tenacity. (He is) not afraid to be in front of people, very knowledgeable about what is possible and what is not—and (he is) not afraid to try things which we think are not possible,” Roger said.
“Brad is a great summer student. He’s got a lot of potential. He has done so much in his life, and he’s made a really great impact (here at Habitat). He has not only allowed me to get more work done, but also has made so many great connections and has done so much influential work. He has really knit the family services and construction departments close together,” Emily Johnson, Coordinator of Family Services and Program Delivery, said.
Outside of his work with Habitat, Brad works with the Canadian Cancer Society, running two of their social media accounts. In his spare time, Brad enjoys camping, rock climbing, kayaking, skiing and snowboarding, as well as hanging out with friends. “I’m definitely an avid Netflixer,” he added.
Brad said that working with Habitat has opened his eyes to how many people it really takes to take on projects like building a house.
“When I started doing a lot of my volunteering work, I tried to go in with the concept that one person is gonna change the world kind of thing. But I realized that not everybody is Steve Jobs, not everybody is Ghandi, so definitely my goal in life is to be part of the impact that everyone, as a greater whole, is contributing to,” Brad said. “Any way that I can help people, whether it just be time, possibly donations, anything that I have—to be able to make someone’s life better is a step in the right direction.”