National Volunteer Week 2021: Meet Brian Riquelme

Brian Riquelme

It’s National Volunteer Week! Now more than ever, the unwavering support of hundreds of volunteers is what truly makes our work possible. Whether you’re swinging a hammer on a build site or greeting customers in a Habitat ReStore, you’re making a difference in the community. That’s why, for National Volunteer Week, we are celebrating the contribution of our incredible volunteers, especially during this difficult year.

Meet Brian Riquelme, Manager – Connected ReSources at ReSource Group Canada.

Over the years, ReSource Group Canada has shown tremendous generosity and support to Habitat for Humanity GTA through their Habitat Build Days, and donations. We had a chance to sit down with Brian (virtually!) to learn more about his Habitat GTA corporate and volunteer experience.

How did you first hear about Habitat for Humanity GTA?

The first time I ever heard of Habitat for Humanity would have been in my teenage years in Toronto’s west end. I had very basic knowledge of Habitat for Humanity’s mission. It wasn’t until I joined my current workplace that I was reacquainted with Habitat for Humanity and understood the actual scope and touchpoints of the organization. I quickly found out that ReSource Group had a fantastic relationship with our Habitat for Humanity GTA chapter. The Habitat GTA leadership team was very amendable in educating me. They came to our office and shared their history, vision, and long term goals as an organization but also shared local initiatives.


What does home mean to you?

Growing up I had a very basic concept of a home,  it would have been a safe space with 4 walls, a roof, and my belongings. As I’ve matured I have been very fortunate to add on to those basic necessities to now seeing a home as a place of free expression, creativity, and comfort. A home to me is much more abstract and emotionally connected concept, building on the most basic elements of shelter I had as a child. I believe at the bare minimum everyone deserves a home that provides not only shelter but also happiness.


How long have you been involved with Habitat for Humanity?

I have been working with Habitat for Humanity for a little over 5 years now through collaborative projects. I currently sit as a member of my workplace’s Corporate Social Responsibility committee and help manage our internal fundraising efforts and corporate charitable initiates, which includes our engagement with Habitat for Humanity.  Throughout the years I’ve had the chance to participate in speaking with local small business in the GTA area and share how out partnership has directly affected local communities. I have also been fortunate enough to participate in several local GTA build days with my coworkers at previous Scarborough build sites. Last year was our most ambitious project to date with Habitat for Humanity as we embarked on a our first ever Global Village initiative in El Salvador during February 2020 to help the community there.


What impact has volunteering had on your life and on your company?

The partnership has helped provide many of us with a fresh perspective on what it means to be part of a broader community. I think it’s very easy to get swept up in personal aspects of daily life and focus on what is in front you. The Habitat for Humanity projects provide us an opportunity to take a pause from our own daily routines and instead build new connections with sponsored families and support our local community right on the build site.


What has been your most memorable volunteer moment with Habitat for Humanity GTA?

The most memorable experience has to be our experience with the Global Village build event in El Salvador. That opportunity was something very unique where we took a MUCH broader approach to the concept of a community. What was so memorable to me was that we were exposed to a different culture, new people, a different way of doing things, but the idea of partnership and community was still there. Some of us had language barriers with locals we interacted with but bonds were still made and language did not stop us from building homes or building friendships. This is what community is all about!

Our sincerest thank you to ReSource Group Canada and Brian – this week, we are celebrate your dedication and contribution to helping families build stronger, more stable futures in the GTA!

Interested in volunteering?

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