Cathy and Peter Clark started their philanthropic journey with Habitat for Humanity GTA twenty years ago. Over two decades, the family has volunteered with us at home and abroad, engaged with Habitat homeowners, and generously donated funds to help build Habitat homes and communities.
The Clarks first learned about Habitat for Humanity through a presentation made at their church where stories of families benefiting from a Habitat home were being shared. The pride of ownership, the positive impact on the children, the sense of community being built all resonated with Cathy and Peter. Cathy took that first step and became a volunteer.
Since then, the entire family’s involvement with the organization has been far-ranging. Peter organized build days for his company. Cathy learned more about the work of the Family Services Department, specifically how families are selected for this life-changing process, as well as how data-oriented studies measure the positive direct and indirect impact of homeownership on Habitat families and their lives. Cathy traveled on a Global Village trip to Nepal where the experience impacted her as much as or even more than the soon-to-be local homeowners. Finally, one of their sons completed an operational study of a ReStore. All this, in addition to the family’s meaningful financial annual contributions.
As part of their life-changing experience as volunteers, they participated in the ever-special Welcome Home ceremonies. And it was at one of these occasions where their most vivid memory lays a single mother, a daughter, and a son. They won’t forget the smile of the girl who was thrilled to have her own room with space for a desk (neither of which she had in the past), where she pictured herself starting to apply to universities, and taking concrete steps for her future. And, they won’t forget the palatable relief of both the mother and daughter on behalf of the son who would benefit from the safety and security that went with a stable home in a safe community.
Twenty years into this journey (and still going), the Clarks believe that affordable housing is now more important than ever. As the city grows and aspires to reach its full potential, affordable housing is a must. Cathy and Peter believe that Habitat’s mission to assist in the delivery of affordable homeownership to the overall housing landscape not only helps provide families with the foundation upon which to build a solid family structure and to give back to their neighbourhood, but also contributes to the building of diverse and healthy communities.
When asked of the Clarks, why Habitat for all these years, their response was: because you can have an impact not just on one family, but on a whole community, over a long period of time. Albeit only a roof and four walls, it is so much more.
The Clarks, and people like them, help to form our own vibrant Habitat community. Impactful, energized around the work that the organization does, able to bring so many dimensions to bear on the driving objective of getting more families into homes. As so amply demonstrated by Cathy and Peter, participation at Habitat doesn’t just need to be volunteering on one end of the spectrum and it doesn’t just need to be a financial donation at the other. Involvement can be multi-faceted, with positive outcomes not just for the families in their new homes, but also for those engaged in its delivery. Generous with their time, their support, and their belief in our mission, we are deeply thankful for the Clark’s passion for the cause.
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