Why I Volunteer for Habitat for Humanity
When I was 19 years old, my parents told me they were getting a divorce and that we’d have to sell the house, the only home I’d ever known. That house, in the sleepy suburb of Burlington, with the lilac trees that bloomed beneath my bedroom window every spring, the carport where I incessantly pounded a tennis ball against the brick wall, the crawl space where my friends and I would spend countless hours building forts or playing out Barbie’s dream life, and the basement door where my growth was literally etched into its framework. That house was a much a part of me as any limb and the thought of not having it to come home to knocked the wind out of me.
For years afterwards, I moved from apartment to apartment, filling each temporary space with hand-me-down furniture and mementos of my past, feeling somewhat displaced, unsettled, uprooted. And so when my husband and I began to build a family in a home of our own, I finally started to feel whole again. In the decade since we moved in, I’ve watched our two children grow up and build new childhood memories – learning to skate or shoot pucks on our backyard rink, baking cookies in our imperfect kitchen, or playing out endless Star Wars Lego battles on the bay window sill. Years from now the smell of warm oatmeal and chocolate chips will take them back home as instantly as the smell of lilacs does for me.
I believe every human being deserves that sense of permanence and stability, a place to put down roots, to store those pieces of you that make you who you are, and a place you know will always be there despite how far out into the world you may venture. That’s why, when I began working for Whirlpool Canada almost a year ago, I was honoured to join their volunteers and help Habitat for Humanity build homes for families in Burlington, Ontario – the community where I grew up. Picking up a hammer was my way to give other families that same opportunity to put down roots and build memories, especially in a place so close to my heart. I know the difference having a place to call home can make.
So for one beautiful sunny day I joined my colleagues and the Habitat staff at the site of a landmark 12-unit townhouse development where the “Whirlpool Title Home” is Habitat for Humanity Halton-Mississauga’s first accessible home with an open floor plan. Over the course of the day, I helped build a ceiling that will serve to protect a loving family and was fortunate enough to meet and work with some of the people that will call this complex home. I felt first-hand the pride and pure joy one feels when building something literally from the ground up, of being a part of something bigger than yourself. Throughout the summer, Whirlpool volunteers will continue putting the finishing touches on that home, getting it ready for a new family to begin etching their story into its framework.
I am very proud to be a part of the Whirlpool Canada team, a company that values community service and is dedicated to helping families thrive, whether through projects like Habitat for Humanity or by developing products that help simplify the everyday acts of care we provide for the people we love. I look forward to joining many future Habitat build days and furthering the 17-year commitment Whirlpool Canada has made to supporting this amazing cause.