For our volunteers, Habitat for Humanity is a community within a community. It is a place full of fun-loving, respectful, and innovative people who are looking to make a difference – and that’s exactly what our volunteer, Lynn Olsen, has done.
With a positive attitude, innovative ideas and an ambitious outlook, Lynn has brought change to our ReStore, and more recently our head office.
A few years ago, shortly after retirement, Lynn was looking to give back to her community.
“The community had been so good to me. I wanted to give back because that felt like the right thing to do,” said Lynn when asked why she wanted to start volunteering with Habitat.
Living in Newmarket at the time, Lynn contacted her local Habitat affiliate and began volunteering in the area alongside her partner. Habitat quickly became a part of Lynn’s life. During this time, Lynn put in over 100 hours of volunteering.
Tragically, during her time volunteering in Newmarket, Lynn’s partner became ill. Despite the efforts of many doctors and medical workers, her illness was never diagnosed, and she passed away.
Not long after, needing a change of scenery, Lynn found herself here in Burlington.
“It was not the Burlington I used to know. All the farm fields I used to know – well there’s just houses everywhere.” Says Lynn about her move back to Burlington.
Finding herself living close to the ReStore on Appleby Line, Lynn decided to pop her head in one afternoon.
“I came in and met John Gerrard – It was an instant connection. We hit it off just like that! We started laughing and kidding around.” says Lynn, recalling her first encounter at the ReStore.
This connection was the first of many for Lynn. With her enthusiasm and desire to help make everyone happy, Lynn now feels like she’s part of Habitat- and Habitat feels the same.
“Because of my particular situation, it was important for me to be out. So I came here, and I’ve met a lot of great people here.”
Like many of our volunteers, Lynn has found a home here at Habitat. Although volunteers come from all walks of life and are different ages, Habitat is a place where that can disappear. Here, everyone is welcome and appreciated – and it is because of volunteers, like Lynn, who look for the positive in everyone and every situation that makes this environment the uplifting one it is.
Lynn’s newest role in the organization involves sourcing donations from local businesses. Growing up in Burlington has given Lynn an amazing network of old friends to contact. Her time spent volunteering has also given her the opportunity to understand the ins and outs of Habitat, always offering suggestions and helping make improvements to help the store function more efficiently and make everyone’s experience that much more enjoyable.
“It is nice to see what’s happening, how people are giving back,” says Lynn about why she created the board.
When we talked to Lynn about her time here, we asked her what she sees in the future for Habitat. With little surprise, she gave us the answer we were looking for:
“So many opportunities. Many more stores.”
We hope you are right, Lynn, and want to say thank you for your bright ideas, kind presence, funny stories and for always making everyone feel at home and welcome. Habitat wouldn’t be the same without people like you to lift us up. We look forward to working with you to make our community a better place to live for many years to come.
By: Marisa Bachetti
If you would like to make a difference in your community by helping us build more affordable housing, head to habitatvolunteer.ca