EXIT Realty Agents, Brokers and headquarters personnel in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, Ontario and Alberta took part recently in Habitat for Humanity Canada’s biggest build project ever. The Habitat for Humanity 34th Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project set out to build 150 homes across the country to mark Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation.
For more than 30 years the Carters have supported the work of Habitat for Humanity International. In an interview with Global News Edmonton, 92-year-old former U.S. President Carter said, “It was time for us to go to a foreign country and of course our favorite foreign country is Canada. <Habitat volunteers> are dedicated. If someone wasn’t really dedicated to the principle of helping people in need, they wouldn’t volunteer for Habitat. I say they’re the cream of the crop.”
Paul Chauvet and his wife, Sue Berube-Chauvet, Franchisees of EXIT Realty Results in Whitecourt, Alberta, participated on the Edmonton site where President and Mrs. Carter, along with country music superstars, Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood, had been working alongside volunteers. “As we left the volunteer tent and walked down the path, the partner family homeowners started enthusiastically clapping, yelling and waving at us as we walked by,” said Chauvet. “It really caught me by surprise. In a world of entitlement it was so refreshing to see a group of people sincerely appreciate the time we were going to spend that day on building their home; the home of a stranger.”
Other EXIT Realty personnel shared their experiences.
I have been contributing financially to Habitat for Humanity for 20 years and this was the first time that I had the opportunity to go on site to volunteer my time and participate in a build. I loved my experience. The staff and other volunteers made me feel more than welcome and were so patient as they offered guidance and training throughout the day. I had never done any type of construction in my life so learning all about basement construction was really interesting. I had read up on the partner families who were going to be moving into these homes beforehand and that made the whole experience even more meaningful. Habitat for Humanity is an amazing organization making a difference in people’s lives and I am looking forward to continuing my relationship with them.
Maggie Tessier, Broker/Owner, EXIT Realty Matrix, Orleans, Ontario
Volunteering on a Habitat for Humanity build was incredibly satisfying! Spending time with the home owner and watching her home come together in front of her eyes was emotional. It was an honour to be a part of the process, even if it was a small part. While the work is hard, the camaraderie made me forget about the difficulty of the labour involved. It’s hard to describe the feeling I had at the end of the day. I was exhausted and sported a few blisters, but my heart was full as I drove away. I will follow the progress of this home and look forward to returning to volunteer again as it makes it way to completion.
Carol O’Hanley, Franchisee, EXIT Realty P.E.I., Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
This was my first time participating in a Habitat build but it definitely won’t be my last. It was an incredible experience on so many levels. I enjoyed the time spent representing EXIT with my colleagues and working together with the other volunteers as well as the Habitat staff. I especially loved hearing how the staff came to work with Habitat and what it means to them to be part of a mission that is not only helping change lives, but giving people an opportunity to own a home which in today’s market, is not an easily attainable goal. I also worked alongside one of the partner homeowners who was so appreciative and grateful, not only for the opportunity to own a home, but to be living in Canada. Since moving into his home in March, he has been able to focus on his paralegal business which is starting to flourish, and he can provide for his beautiful family of whom he is very proud. Together with the other volunteers we built the fence for his property and he was excited that the final touch on his home would be a vegetable garden that was being dug the following day. It was definitely a very rewarding experience and I can see now, more than ever, why participating in a Habitat build is truly a work of heart.
Maria-Louisa Orzakovski, Vice President, Operations, EXIT Realty Corp. International
Participating in the 2017 Carter Work Project was incredible. Habitat staff and volunteers onsite were incredibly generous and patient, teaching us how to build walls and insulate window and door frames. I was shocked at how much we accomplished in such a short period of time. Our team helped to build CentreTowne, a site that will be home to 24 families in the Durham Region of Ontario. It’s a wonderful reminder of how much good can be done when people come together with a common purpose.
Samantha Morris, Marketing Project Manager, EXIT Realty Corp. International
Having been in the real estate industry for over 30 years, I have seen first-hand the sense of joy and pride that goes along with purchasing one’s first home. I have long admired Habitat for Humanity for providing the opportunity to experience the joy of new home ownership to families who may not have otherwise had the chance. I am so proud of EXIT’s support of this non-profit and I was so excited to finally be able to participate in a Habitat home build. The build day was an amazing experience that I will never forget. The Habitat crew on site were wonderful. Our build was still in the early stages and even though there was a lot of hard work to be done, they guided us through it and really made it fun. I know our work on site that day was just a small piece of the puzzle, but the feeling of contributing my time and effort to a project such as this is unbelievably rewarding. I am so grateful to have had this opportunity to be a part of something truly wonderful.
Jennifer Halter, Franchise Support Representative, EXIT Realty Corp. International
Spending the day building a fence for the home owners of the Barrie, Ontario Habitat build was an amazing experience. We were fortunate to meet one of the partner families putting in their “sweat equity” hours. Daniel and his family are so grateful and proud to be home owners. The gratitude poured from their family to all who were helping and they never stopped saying thank you and how much it meant to them. Although I left exhausted, hot and sweaty, my heart was filled with joy!
Sylvie Dakanis, Trust Fund Coordinator, EXIT Realty Corp. International
This was my first time participating with any type of charity and I found it so humbling. I love how the home owner was helping us the entire day and he never stopped for a break or slowed down. He was extremely grateful for the opportunity he had been given and it made the whole experience so special to me.
Julie Gileo, Franchise Compliance Officer, EXIT Realty Corp. International
I was given the honour to volunteer at a site in my beloved northern Ontario, where I worked, laughed and broke a serious sweat alongside my EXIT colleagues. Throughout my six-hour shift of backyard fence building, I was able to talk with the members of one of the three partner families at our townhouse build site. Daniel Abiodum, a husband and father of three, spoke so eloquently during the morning welcome, and expressed enormous gratitude as well as humility to be in the good hands of such generous people. He learned along with many of us, how to use power tools and the fine art of building a straight fence. To hug him at the end of the day was beyond poignant for me.
Melanie Robitaille, Corporate Graphics, EXIT Realty Corp. International
Habitat for Humanity was founded in the U.S. in 1976 with the vision that everyone deserves a decent place to live. Prospective home owners complete a rigorous vetting process and contribute 300 to 500 hours of “sweat equity” on the construction of their home or someone else’s home. Because Habitat houses are built using donations of land, material and labor, mortgage payments are kept affordable.
A portion of every transaction fee received by EXIT Realty Corp. International is pledged to its non-profit organization of choice, and to-date $3.5 million dollars has been pledged to Habitat for Humanity. To find out more about EXIT’s work with Habitat for Humanity, please visit www.exitrealty.com/habitat.