ATB Build Day
By Pamela Leier 30 August 2018 2 min read
At ATB we believe we can change people’s lives for the better—whether it’s through banking or supporting Alberta communities. This month, more than 40 team members from across Alberta signed up for an ATB Build Day with Habitat for Humanity.
Bernadette Bendfeld is a business development manager with ATB who is passionate about helping Albertans. She jumped at the chance to volunteer, ditching her heels for dusty steel-toed boots.
“Being kind to everyone around me is a goal in my life because we don’t always know how people around us are doing and what they face. Awareness—it’s something I am trying to teach my three kids,” she said.
As a mom, Bernadette often thinks about children who may struggle with the necessities of life.
“Oh my goodness, think of the weight that will be lifted when they have a healthy place to call their own, when they can go to school with a full night’s sleep and not worry about going home.”
Future homeowners in the program build homes alongside the workers—donating 500 hours of required sweat equity—to secure their own homes. Working 70 days is no small commitment, but one future homeowner welcomes the challenge.
Meet Ginee. Her boundless energy and positivity are driven by her ambition to provide a real home for her two children, as well as other families in need.
She was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer two years ago while on maternity leave. Before her chemo treatment was done, she fled from her home—children by her side—to live with family members in a safer, healthier space.
“Every morning when I volunteer early, the kids want to sleep more. But, when I explain that I work so we get our own house, they say OK,” she said. She’s looking forward to the day they walk into their own home.
“I’ll be crying.”
Ginee feels that connecting with other like-minded people is a fundamental part of being a successful person. Habitat provides her with that feeling of belonging that has eluded her for years.
“When I first came to Canada 14 years ago, I couldn’t change a lightbulb,” laughed the independent mom. She had just finished putting up vapour barriers for an afternoon of drywalling. “You gain confidence doing this and skills learned here will prepare me for my own home.”
“Every volunteer makes a significant impact on bringing our homes one step closer to serving a family,” said Brenda Netter, Director of Development and Communications with Habitat for Humanity Edmonton. “ATB has been a tremendous supporter of the Habitat Program both with volunteers and financial support of our local Habitat Builds.”
Habitat will be building up communities all over Alberta for years to come. There is ample opportunity to lace up some boots and join the cause. Check with your local Habitat affiliate to find a build in your area.