Volunteer Spotlight: Nicole Garcia
By: Marisa Bachetti
Balancing it all can be quite the challenge, but if you’re like our volunteer Nicole Garcia then you’ll see the challenge as fun and exciting.
Working full-time at Sick Kids in Toronto, Nicole spends her Saturdays volunteering with Habitat for Humanity Halton-Mississauga in our Burlington ReStore. It’s the only time in her schedule that she’s able to volunteer with us, but every time she does, she makes a direct impact on our ability to build homes in our community.
“It’s a consistent thing I do, I find it rewarding and it’s a small part of giving back into something I believe in,” she says.
Looking to give back to her community, Nicole stumbled upon Habitat for Humanity while doing some research online. She found the organization’s vision and goal of bringing communities together aligned with her own values, while also being an opportunity to learn something new, gain hands-on experience and meet new and interesting people with different stories and skills to share.
And that’s exactly what she’s found!
Working in the warehouse, Nicole says the most exciting part of her day is fixing and repairing donations. When she first started, Nicole expected to be moving furniture, and working in a customer service role. She says she didn’t expect to have the chance to assemble and repair so many interesting items. The most recent challenge she took on was repairing a damaged dollhouse.
“I was walking around the warehouse looking for another thing to do when I saw the dollhouse sitting there. I thought it was pretty, and wondered why it wasn’t put together yet,” says Nicole.
Seeing the dollhouse as an opportunity to practice her skills and be creative, Nicole knew that it would be of value to Habitat, while also being helpful to customers.
Nicole took on the task of restoring the dollhouse. She says it helped her see the meaningful contribution she was providing to the organization and to her community, especially since no one else in the warehouse that day had taken the time to fix the item. Nicole’s efforts were rewarded when she saw the dollhouse sell for over $100 in the ReStore. She says this experience has motivated her to take on new and interesting tasks at the ReStore.
“There’s something really wonderful about learning while at the same time as giving back,” says Nicole.
When asked what she would tell someone interested in volunteering with Habitat, Nicole had encouraging words.
“Just give it a try. Come in, ask questions. You’ll be sure to hear plenty of positive stories from enthusiastic people.”
She also has a message for women and girls – to not be intimidated by the idea of working in the warehouse. Nicole says the training makes the environment safe, while the experience is empowering and educational.
Thank you, Nicole, for all your hard work, enthusiasm and the positivity you bring to Habitat. We look forward to continuing to work with you in the years to come!
Habitat Halton-Mississauga is always in need of more people to help us achieve our vision of having a safe and decent place to live. Follow this link to get involved.