On Tuesday November 24th and Wednesday November 25th, Academy students, staff, and a volunteer took part in the Home for the Holidays campaign at Habitat for Humanity.

Habitat for Humanity GTA helps low-income families build and buy simple, decent quality affordable homes through a no-interest mortgage with payments set at less than 30 percent of gross income. This solution not only helps to provide available housing for families in need, it enables low-income families to build assets, reduce their dependence on other forms of social assistance and break the cycle of poverty.”

The Home for the Holidays campaign is a yearly opportunity for groups of youth to volunteer together at Habitat sites to help finish off houses so that the new owners can move in for the upcoming holiday season. Students at The Academy worked at two locations. One was in the beginning stages of construction and will likely be a series of houses being finished for next December and one was truly a Home for the Holidays as they are just putting the finishing touches on.

On day one the Green Industries class and the co-op class met up bright and early at Wellesley Station and travelled to our build site on Brimley Road. Upon arrival, we met and checked in with our Volunteer Coordinator Brenda and got suited into our safety gears (hard hats, steel toe boots, safety vests, and gloves). We were then given the build site safety speech and we learnt the Habitat Cheer (Oyee, a Swahili saying, which means “we can do it” in English) before starting our shift. While partner families have moved in to the first block of this particular site already, the second block is yet to be completed. And this is where the Academy crew came in to the rescue; the two classes helped paint, trim, and finish the last 9 homes on the second block of the site.

On day two, the Drama class and the Literacy class met up at Wellesley Station and this time headed to the build site on Birchmount Road. Like all the first day, the two classes met with their Volunteer Coordinator Darren, got suited into safety gears, heard the safety speech, and learnt the Habitat Cheer before their shift. As foundations is still being poured at the Birchmount Road site, our tasks were very different compared to the first day. Instead of painting and trimming, our students prepared the work site by stacking flooring joists and lumber in a large tent to keep the rain off as they will be used to frame the four houses next week. We also stacked prepared walls and floor boards. Some students worked on digging a 5 foot hole in the ground for a 300lb post on the corner of the property using a post hole digger. We all worked together as a team lifting heavy 3-400lb items. It was interesting to watch our supervisors calculate the weight of the items and how many people were needed to distribute the weight. They ensured that we kept it under 30lbs per person at all times (Yeh!! Math in action!!)

Despite the hard work, the groups had fun and were happy that we were able to give back to the community by helping families get into their home … hopefully just in time for the Holidays.

Check out the rest the rest of the pictures on our Facebook page!

Update: We just got word that the homes that were being painted on Brimley Road will be handed over to the families on December 9th!! These families will be Home for the Holidays!!

Volunteering at Habitat for Humanity

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