Ryan’s experience volunteering with Habitat for Humanity GTA goes beyond building homes. As the President of the University of Toronto St. George campus Friends of Habitat chapter, he spends countless hours recruiting volunteers from the university to join him in building homes for Habitat families, and in our ReStores. In 2017, he brought out 2 groups to build during our Student Build Challenge, and is proud to bring 20-30 students back to volunteer this year.
The Student Build Challenge is an initiative that Habitat for Humanity GTA undertakes to engage post-secondary students in giving back. In 2017, eight different post-secondary schools got involved, with a total of 116 college and university students volunteering at our Pinery Trail and Torbram build sites.
It’s inspiring to see students take time over their reading week to swing hammers, and help build Habitat homes for families facing unaffordable and unstable living situations.
“I first learned about volunteering with Habitat for Humanity when my friend from York University brought me to volunteer on a build site in 2016,” says Ryan. “I knew about Habitat for Humanity but never knew they had opportunities for students to build together in my community.”
Ryan quickly learned that you don’t need to be working in the trades or have construction experience to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity on a build site. “Before volunteering with Habitat for Humanity GTA, I never was a physical hands on or boots on the ground type of volunteer. My previous volunteer experience centered around my academics,” explains Ryan. I saw volunteering with Habitat GTA as a way to learn something new and expand my skill sets. I was surprised how quickly I was able to learn what to do and help out on site.”
When lending advice to other millennials looking to volunteer, Ryan recommends volunteering with friends. “Some of my best moments volunteering was alongside my friends. You feed off of each other’s energy, and you get to know a side of them that you may not have known before.”
One of the student volunteers from his group in 2017 brought their friend from Carleton University to join them in building for the day. A few weeks later, Ryan received an email from her expressing interest in starting a Friends of Habitat chapter at Carleton U. A journey that has truly come full circle for Ryan.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about the Student Build Challenge.