Building Hope Together

June 2, 2014 at 11:46 am

H4H 2As we transition towards the new Faculty of Health Sciences, I am thrilled that one of our first joint projects encourages team-building and is centered on health and healthy living.

The Faculty of Health Sciences Habitat for Humanity build from June 9-20, 2014 is an excellent opportunity to bring-together and engage a new and larger community of health educators, learners, researchers and support staff in a project that can transform a family’s life.

We will be laying down the foundation for a safe and healthy home environment and putting into action the core principal of social accountability important to all of us in the health care professions.

I recently learned more about this family of three. Michelle, a 28-year-old single mom and her two kids under the age of 12, currently live in a rented row house. Though their finances are tight, they are humble and grateful to have the support of their extended family. This build will help Michelle purchase her first home and experience the pride of home ownership. Studies show secure housing can have a positive impact on learning; an educated child is more likely to avoid disease, gain employment and will have more options in life.

You can help this family secure a brighter future by signing up as a volunteer (click here) or donating towards our fundraising goal of $100,000 (click here for a real-time update on funds raised).

One of our strongest individual supporters to date has been Dr. Jonathan Wong, a palliative care physician with the WRHA and an instructor in the College of Medicine. He has given our goal a boost by donating over $10,000 through the sales of his Chopin CD Keys to Home. He produced the 15-track disc specifically to raise funds for our build and is donating 100 per cent of the proceeds. Keys to Home can be purchased at the U of M Health Sciences bookstore, McNally Robinson or Quest Musique.

This year, the Tachane Foundation is also a major financial contributor to our build. The foundation, setup by the Sutherland family in 2008, focuses its charitable giving on Canadian Aboriginals and youth development. We are proud to have the Tachane Foundation as a partner.

Construction experience is NOT necessary to volunteer! Volunteers are expected to commit a full day (from 1 – 9 p.m.) and staff can do so on work time with their manager’s approval. We encourage units and departments to volunteer as a group. Habitat for Humanity will provide training, supervision, safety gear and the required tools.

Our build will officially kick-off on June 10 @ 10 a.m. and run through to June 20 (weekdays only) in Parking Lot E, Bannatyne Campus. The build will take place adjacent to the Dentistry building; holders of Parking Lot E permits will still be able to park in E Lot (McDermot Ave. at Tecumseh St.)

We will build the home on campus and relocate it to its permanent site nearby. The fruits of our labour will permanently reside within the fiber of our campus’ community.

To me, that’s what being socially accountable is all about.

If you volunteered last year, what was the best part of your experience?