Even though it’s hard work, it never felt like it because of how much you enjoy what you’re doing, and the satisfaction you get knowing you’re helping families.
Mike Blake’s 13 years as a volunteer Crew Leader with Habitat for Humanity GTA is a case study of the possibilities hard work creates. At 75 years of age, his commitment to volunteering on Habitat build sites has seen him help build 180 Habitat homes; lead and work alongside thousands of volunteers; and mentor co-op students looking to get into the trades.
“When I retired, I started looking for volunteer opportunities where I can be active and learn new skills,” said Mike. “I also wanted to work alongside a team and meet new people. This is exactly what volunteering with Habitat for Humanity GTA has given me.”
Mike first learned about volunteering with Habitat for Humanity when shopping at a local ReStore. He started volunteering on our build sites once a week, which soon progressed to him coming out to build five days a week.
“I love the work you do on site and the camaraderie you build with other volunteers and Habitat homeowners you’re building with,” said Mike. “But what is most satisfying to me is when the home is built and you see families receive their keys. Knowing that a family will have a decent home to raise their children as a result of your hard work, and that we’re freeing up a rental unit for another family, makes it very rewarding.”
A typical day for Mike on a build site includes framing, installing windows and doors, and teaching new volunteers the skills they need to be successful building homes. He has even brought his wife, daughter, and granddaughter out to volunteer with him over the years.
Mike is one of our longest standing Crew Leaders and an inspiration to many. He is a great example of the hard work and dedication that goes into creating new possibilities for working, lower income families through Habitat homeownership.
“From a young age I always wanted to learn how to build homes,” said Mike. “Habitat for Humanity GTA gave me the opportunity to do so. If you want to learn how to be handier around your own home, volunteering with Habitat for Humanity is a great way to learn new skills. Even though it’s hard work, it never felt like it because of how much you enjoy what you’re doing, and the satisfaction you get knowing you’re helping families.”