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 Welcome to our Member Spotlight Page. This special feature showcases GPVSB’s most valuable assets– our members! Spotlighting members from across the GPVSB spectrum, Member Spotlight reflects the rich tapestry of our membership and profiles active Non-profit and business organizations. If you would like to be featured in this section please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Create your own member story: join GPVSB today! 

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Habitat for Humanity

Building a Better Community

By Rachael Rode, Communications Specialist

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Michelle Mouzar, Store Manager

 

Habitat for Humanity ReStore is an inconspicuous establishment west of downtown Grande Prairie next to the recycle centre. Most would never give it a second look. However, give it a chance, and one might not only find great deals on hardware and building materials, but also discover a way to help the local community.

Michelle Mouzar has been with ReStore for three years. She’s their Store Manager and does everything from customer service and receiving to pricing and paperwork.  ReStore is a non-profit company. “The profit generated by the ReStore is used to fund overhead costs of the Edmonton affiliate, so that all monetary and materials donations go directly into the home builds”, says Mouzar.  They joined GPVSB in 2014 because the Bureau is another way they can connect with the volunteers that keep the effort up and running. From small projects like fundraiser barbecues to the huge endeavor of building a house, ReStore relies on volunteers.  “Volunteers are the lifeblood of H4H,” Mouzar stated, “Without volunteers, we would have no homes. Nothing would get built.”

The homes Mouzar referenced are the build projects of Habitat for Humanity. These houses are specifically reserved for low-income families – a parent or parents with children who are “willing to work to get back [on their feet].” “Their down payment is 500 volunteer hours,” Mouzar explained. This unique innovation to the normal home-buying process is perfectly suited to low-income families. The volunteer hours are not taxing on limited finances, and as well accumulates experience which can provide the opportunity for a better career in the future. “Since I’ve been at the ReStore we’ve put two families in homes,” Mouzar stated. They were both single mothers who contributed their 500-hours of sweat equity at ReStore. “Their lives turned around. It just helped them immensely. It’s a rewarding feeling.”

Mouzar was the Volunteer Coordinator for the 2015 build. It  was her first time seeing a build through from beginning to end, but she had a taste of what it’s like for one day at an Edmonton build.  “In that day I learned how to use five different things I’ve never used before,” she stated. Likewise, volunteers for the 2015 Grande Prairie Build will receive training in whatever task they undertake (and lunch!).  The practical knowledge and skills acquired, plus the contribution made towards the finished home, makes for a win-win situation.

Not only do individuals volunteer, but also corporate groups of volunteers assist ReStore.  “[Last year] 20-24 people from Horizon North . . . did in 4 - 5 hours what would’ve taken a month,” Mouzar stated. This group from Horizon North Manufacturing cleared ReStore’s Quonset hut of racking, moulding, trim and carpets, and set up new racks, organized everything, swept the grounds for garbage, and put up even more new racks which were too heavy for ReStore staff to set up. Impressed, Mouzar later nominated Horizon North Manufacturing for Corporate Volunteer of the Year. Volunteering is truly a give-and-you-shall-receive experience at ReStore.

If you’re interested in helping at the build, you can, as long as you’re over sixteen and comply with safety standards. Another way you can support ReStore is to shop there! They carry a wide variety of hardware and home materials, from baseboards and flooring to lighting and appliances. Their goods are all less expensive than the going price, and as well, ReStore has diverted 1.5 million pounds of material from the local landfill so far. “You can find really great deals on building materials, and all that money is going to a good cause,” Mouzar said in summary. 

Current & Upcoming Events at H4H

We are having monthly silent auction items that are being upcycled by local crafters/artists, anyone interested in getting involved can contact Kim or Michelle at the store 780-513-0100.

H4H also has a Facebook page which we are posting new items on each week as well as our silent auction items and any upcoming events we have planned. Our Facebook page can be found under Habitat For Humanity Restore Grande Prairie.

H4H will be having a BBQ at the ReStore on Saturday June 4th from 11am-2pm as a thank you to our customers and donors alike.

We are currently building a home here in GP and can always use volunteers – if anyone is interested they can contact Michelle Mouzar at 780-513-0100, email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or visit hfh.org to get involved with Re-Store’s win-win initiatives.

 

 

 

 

Voice for Life

Educating with a Message

By Rachael Rode, Communications Specialist

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Jillian Baldwin, Community Educator

Grande Prairie Voice for Life is celebrating its 30th anniversary in the community this year. Jillian Baldwin is the current Community Educator and Office Manager for this local non-profit. One may not think that Voice for Life promotes a diverse array of educational material, but in fact they present knowledge on a wide range of topics from healthy living to fetology.

“Our goal is to foster respect for human life at all stages of development,” stated Baldwin. This spans from the moment of conception up until adult-hood. Starting at the beginning, Voice for Life supplies presentations to schools, churches and individuals on fetology and prenatal development.  They educate children as young as grade one about this stage, providing baby models and pictures for observation and interaction. For grade four children, Voice for Life presents a talk on physical and mental health, including exercise, sleep, hygiene and more. Education continues grade-by-grade until the end of high school, covering not only fetal development but also topics pertinent to the stage of life teenagers are experiencing.  “We talk about abstinence and puberty… and all of our presentations are in accordance with the Alberta Health Curriculum,” Baldwin said. They also cover relationships, self-esteem, handling depression, and more.  “[We also appreciate] the beauty in the role that elders play, sharing their life experiences with us,” Baldwin concluded. Voice for Life truly supports education and making healthy choices during all stages of life.

Voice for Life reaches this wide age range in a variety of geographical locations as well. They serve Grande Prairie, Peace River, Grimshaw, Manning, Spirit River and more. Additionally, they are looking to expand their reach to conferences as far as Red Deer.

It’s only by the constant support of the community and volunteers that Voice for Life has been a part of the community for 30 years. Its governing Board of Directors is all volunteer-based, and volunteers help run fundraising events. “These are people who believe in what’s going on. Voice for Life is run on the generosity of volunteers [and] their willingness to serve the community this way,” Baldwin stated.  “And there’s definitely an appreciation and recognition we give [volunteers].” Corporate sponsors are also recognized by Voice for Life.

Voice for Life leaves a positive impact on those who attend their presentations. “Last year we reached more than 3700 students in schools alone,” said Baldwin.  “Michelle, the previous educator, often had kids come up to her saying ‘I learned so much when you shared!’.”  This is exactly the desired outcome: Voice for Life’s goal is not to change anyone’s mind, but to educate individuals to make healthy decisions, Baldwin explained. “We care about the individual. Though we reach multitudes, if we can [help] one person to make an educated decision for themselves . . . that’s our greatest hope.”  The respect Voice for Life has for the individual’s own sound judgement is evident in their mission mindset. That respect is returned by the communities, families, and individuals who request Voice for Life presentations. “We’re just really grateful that [the community and parents] are trusting us to let us speak into their kids’ lives,” Baldwin said.   Voice for Life’s services are also totally free, which is another reason why volunteers are integral to their operations.

Upcoming events for which Voice for Life is seeking help includes their upcoming 30th anniversary fundraiser banquet and silent auction, held at the Pomeroy Hotel April 21st at 6pm.  There’s no clearance required to help out with Voice for Life’s fundraising events, so if your availability is limited, these opportunities might be for you!

In summary, Voice for Life’s mission of education is so effective because it is based on respect for human life at all stages of development. As their message spreads, our community can benefit and grow. To get involved with supporting Voice for Life’s mission, contact them at 780-538-3344, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or visit their website at www.gpvoiceforlife.ca for more information.

 

 

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Disclaimer of Liability: This page contains links to third-party service provider websites. Grande Prairie Volunteer Services Bureau is not responsible and assumes no liability for the content or materials available on any linked third-party sites.

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