Caught in the Act

Chris Helm

Volunteer with Habitat for Humanity 

by Fringina Mukaga, Communications

edited by Rachael Rode

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For many Grande Prairians, snow shovelling is a chore necessitated by weather; it is not something that many of us would voluntarily choose to do. However, for Chris Helm that is precisely what he chooses to do for Habitat for Humanity Restore. Lisa, the Grande Prairie Volunteer Services Bureau (GPVSB) “Caught in the Act” liaison describes meeting Chris for the first time:

Chris is a man of very few words. I caught him in the act [of volunteering] on a very cold and snowy morning at the Habitat for Humanity building in Grande Prairie. He was outside running a snow blower…and shoveling snow away from the buildings and walkways. Bundled up in work clothes, he was busy concentrating on the job he was doing. He did take the time to stop, shake my hand, introduce me to everyone outside as well as inside…and [gave me] a hug when I left.

    Chris first got involved with Habitat for Humanity Restore through Goodwill Industries, a non-profit organization whose mission is “to provide individuals with disabilities the opportunity to enhance their lives through meaningful employment”. Through the job search and development program, Goodwill Industries job coaches seek specialized employment for clients with mental and physical disabilities in a “safe and accommodating work environment”. Sarah Christie-Wurz, Goodwill Industries Grande Prairie Community Employment Program Manager explains: “We attempt to find paid and/ or volunteer jobs for our clients. A job coach will accompany the client until they are able to be independent in their position.” She adds, “Habitat for Humanity is not the first placement for Chris. He wanted to be placed in a volunteer position and he really enjoys being outside and doing labour jobs!”

Currently, in his volunteer position Chris is accompanied by Bryan, his Job Coach through Goodwill Industries. According to Chris, it was the influence of Bryan that led him to volunteer. Since joining the Habitat for Humanity Restore team, Chris has met new positive influences such as Alain, the Restore Manager. Alain, finds working with Chris to be a pleasure claiming that “he [Chris] comes in and kinda makes our lives better…he’s a unique individual…very funny and helpful.”

Indeed Chris is a unique individual boasting a variety of talents and skills. Aside from shovelling and snow blowing, Chris is also an accomplished drummer. In his spare time he enjoys swimming, hunting and riding horses at Peace Area Riding for the Disabled Society (PARDS) here in Grande Prairie. His contributions to Habitat for Humanity restore means that customers are able to access a safe walkway in their socially conscious shopping efforts. 


Habitat for Humnaity Restore

Organization Profile


Over 775,000 square feet of retail space is occupied by high-quality building supplies, home furnishing, appliances, and décor at Habitat for Humanity's 83 Canadian ReStore locations. Shopping at a ReStore is a socially conscious decision, as funds generated are used to fund Habitat homebuilding projects. As well, shopping at a ReStore is an environmentally conscious decision, as much of what is sold is product that is new, gently used or customer returns that would otherwise end up in a landfill.

Address: 10431A 96 Ave Grande Prairie, ABT8V 5S2

Tel: (780) 513-0100






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