Shan Grewal first heard about Habitat for Humanity at a school assembly about homelessness. A few years later, he started volunteering at the Brampton ReStore, lifting and assembling products on the floor. When he was searching for a job this summer, he “came across a posting from Habitat for Humanity and thought it would be perfect.”
Shan said that he already felt like he was part of the Habitat family at his job interview. “I was sitting alone (before the interview) and someone, I don’t know the guy’s name, came there and asked me how I was feeling about my interview. He really helped me calm my nerves down a bit,” he recalled.
“Even before I got the job here I really felt like I was part of the family.”
Now, his favourite thing about working at Habitat is the people he gets to see every day and the “family feeling.” As a Construction Assistant in the Mississauga ReStore, Shan’s role involves working with the site supervisor to build palette walls, assisting ongoing campaigns in the ReVive Centre and helping out when corporate teams are building. He has, for example, helped corporate teams in the ReVive Centre paint mason jars for a DIY product sold in the ReStores.
Shan is going into grade 12 at Harold Brathwaite Secondary School in Brampton, where he is enrolled in the International Baccalaureate program. After he graduates, he’s not exactly sure what his plans are, but he is interested in pursuing life sciences, which is what his sister is currently studying.
“Seeing her go through it (the program) is really inspiring for me,” Shan said. “Everything I’m doing is in her footsteps. Going off to postsecondary soon is gonna be with her help, and it just really inspires me to see how hard she works.”
From his work at Habitat, Shan said he hopes to develop his ability to learn quickly. If he goes into life sciences, “I most likely won’t need tools there either, but the important part for me (is) not just being good with tools, but learning how to learn and learn well. I want to be a fast learner and a good learner, and I think those are skills I could use anywhere,” he said. He said that he wants to focus on “learning techniques and remembering them so that you don’t have to think about them, they just naturally come to you like instinct.”
When he volunteered at the Brampton ReStore, Shan said that he “really did learn about the values of Habitat for Humanity. I thought I aligned myself with them.” Now, as a summer student, he is happy to be working to support Habitat’s mission to provide local families with affordable housing. “You never know when circumstances can change in your life, so it’s really important that housing is there for everyone,” Shan said.