Ty Stewart Stewart’s found a way to get involved in his community by volunteering for Habitat for Humanity Okanagan. (Contributed)

Father, daughter team up to help Habitat for Humanity Okanagan

Establishing roots through community volunteerism

Did you know Habitat for Humanity Okanagan diverted 13 million pounds of reusables from Glenmore landfill?

When Ty Stewart arrived in the Central Okanagan, his first step was to find a way to give back.

Stewart’s daughter heard about Habitat for Humanity Okanagan and suggested this as a volunteer opportunity that might work for him.

After 11 years working as a grain farmer and finishing carpenter in Dawson Creek, Stewart moved to the Okanagan due to a life change and to be near his daughter who is a nursing student at UBC Okanagan.

Now, Stewart is giving back and establishing himself in his new community by volunteering at Habitat Okanagan’s Lake Country build site.

The ability to help families get a fresh start in safe, affordable housing is the payback for Stewart’s 450 hours of volunteer time on-site to date.

His work at Habitat Okanagan’s build site also provides him the opportunity to lead, whether arranging work on site, putting his carpentry expertise to use or teaching carpentry skills and techniques to other volunteers.

His younger daughter joined him on-site during her Spring Break, helping with trim application and kitchen installations.

Stewart hopes this may spark an interest in pursuing trades when she starts Grade 11 this fall.

Stewart’s volunteer work has netted him new friends, gratitude and a ‘cool community’ at the Powley Court build site.

He enjoys working with families, some of whom are also on-site helping build the homes in which they will live. “I wake up every day, ready to go to a job I love,” he said.

Stewart is also re-establishing himself as a finishing carpenter and making connections to work opportunities. Habitat Okanagan will employ him for some specialized work in Phase 2 of the project.

The first phase of the project in Lake Country will include eight homes – two triplexes and a duplex comprised of three-bed, two-bath suites, each 1,400 square-feet.

Residents of the first triplex will move into their new homes in May. The second phase will include four additional townhomes and will break ground in 2023.

While on-site volunteer opportunities, like Stewart’s, depend on build site needs, many other opportunities are available with Habitat Okanagan– fundraising and administrative work as well as working at ReStore outlets in Penticton, West Kelowna, Kelowna and Vernon, where volunteers receive, test, sort and retail donations.

Currently, there is an active need for volunteers who have the physical ability, interest and/or knowledge to carry out kitchen salvages, which Habitat Okanagan started in recent years.

Volunteers remove reusables from kitchens being prepared for renovation, then ready them for resale in ReStores.

Homeowners get a tax receipt for the sale price of their donated salvageable goods – and their old kitchens are diverted from the land fill and used by other homeowners.

All Habitat Okanagan’s volunteer opportunities start with an on-line application at www.habitatforhumanityokanagan.ca/volunteer, move to an orientation to determine where skills and interests are best suited and then placement.

READ MORE: Habitat for Humanity raises funds to build 12 affordable homes in Lake Country

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