We are excited to announce that Hopewell Residential Communities (HRC) proudly accepted its second Volunteer Calgary award in three years on Tuesday, April 23, taking home the “Leaders in Employee Volunteering Award” for its work with Calgary Reads.
HRC accepted the award at Volunteer Calgary’s 17th Annual Leadership Awards – an annual celebration of the contributions and accomplishments of outstanding volunteers in the Calgary community. Read more about Volunteer Calgary and the Awards.
“Our team couldn’t have asked for a more fulfilling experience,” commented Scott Hamilton, senior manager of marketing and communications with HRC. “Giving back is a regular, every day part of our culture, and to be recognized for those efforts is proof positive that those efforts make a difference in the Calgary community.”
The Award celebrated HRC’s partnership with local charitable organization Calgary Reads in support of their efforts to improve early-childhood literacy in the city. Calgary Reads is an early literacy initiative changing the lives of struggling grade 1 and 2 readers and their families in Calgary and area schools. Its vision is to create a thriving community where all children can read with confidence and joy. Read more about Calgary Reads.
“It was a great fit for us,” added Hamilton, “Our communities support a very large number of young Calgary families, and because of that we feel especially compelled to assist such an innovative organization with their efforts to improve the lives of children and families across the city.”
“Just being able to share that time with those kids, and to have been able to support Calgary Reads in the way we did was award enough, but being selected as a Leader in Volunteering in this city is a huge honour for us,” said Hamilton.
The partnership involved Hopewell’s participation in a “Together Event” where Hopewell staff came together to read storybooks to grade 1 and 2 students, and used the occasion to raise awareness about the organization and its goals. The Together Event provided an opportunity to have a fun afternoon and make a difference with young readers. The afternoon also included team participating in small group reading time, followed by a story time with special guest, CityTV personality Leah Sarich, who is a Calgary Reads veteran.
We're proud to announce that Hopewell's Mahogany development in Calgary has won the prestigious Community of the Year Award at the 2012 CHBA SAM Awards. It's a proud accomplishment for all involved, and proof positive of our vision of building the" world's most sought after communities coming to life". Our thanks to all of our team members, partners, builders, and most importantly Mahogany home owners who have made this one of Calgary's most popular communities, and an absolute gem of a place to live in the city.
Read about it in the Calgary Herald article.
We are thrilled to share that former HRC President, Jim Dewald, has been appointed Dean of the Haskayne School of Business! Prior to joining the University, Jim was an accomplished member of the business community, serving as president and director of numerous successful property development companies, one of which was Hopewell Residential Communities where he served as President from 2000 to 2006. Jim has strong leadership experience and will no doubt be a perfect fit as dean. Congratulations Jim! Click here for more details.
Welcome home! It's been an emotional 10 days but it's great to be home. We'll share more stories and photos once we have a chance to reacclimate ourselves to life in the first world! Thanks to everyone for all their support and attention; and especially to those who donated toward our trip. We'll share more soon!
A final reflection:
March 12th - our last day in Guatemala, and it's a very emotional one. In the morning some of the group were able to finish the last tin home. As a team we spent the afternoon completing the cinder block house. We were all together with the family as the last panels of the roof were installed. The Gonzalez family now has a new home to move into with a concrete floor, cinder block walls, enclosed windows and a door that locks. Teresa, Open Windows co-founder, translated for us as the father and mother thanked our team. Candelario, the father, thanked us for coming to their town and doing all of this work for them so that they can have a better home. He said they were so incredibly grateful that there are people who do work like this. He said that their prayers had been answered. Rob Kirsch handed over the house keys to the family and the kids (Jose, Daniel and Julio) were all smiles. We presented Maria Delfina (the mother) with a housewarming gift (our Canadian tradition) of a card with notes from all of us in it. The hardest thing after that was packing up and hugging the family goodbye. We all made connections in some way with the families we helped here. We are coming back with a changed perspective, fuller hearts and are looking forward to seeing our friends and families again!
Muchos Gracias Open Windows, Developing World Connections y las familias de Guatemala!
Reflections as of March 9, 2013
Day 5-Today has been an extremely rewarding day for everyone. Although it is Saturday there was still a lot of work to be done. We split into two groups with one group heading to Open Windows and the other half of the group heading back to the cinder block house.
Open Windows is closed on Saturdays which allowed our group to concentrate on painting the exterior of the building. They spent the day cleaning the front of the building getting it ready for a fresh coat of paint. Teresa chose a vibrant and happy yellow colour that shines as bright as the sun. The team did a great job and the building looks brand new and ready for all of the kids on Monday morning.
The group at the cinder block house focused on making all of the concrete for the interior floor of the home. Watching the floor go in was a fulfilling and emotional step in the process for our entire group. For many of us we realized that we take so much for granted including the floors under our feet. Their tin home has a dirt floor and they take great pride in keeping it clean, so we know that this concrete floor with be kept immaculate. We made two and a half loads of concrete with 14 wheelbarrows of sand, 7 of cement, and 7 of gravel. HRC poured buckets of concrete while Pedro and Mike smoothed and finished, creating a beautiful floor for the family's new home. There was lots of laughter and water fights along the way.
The two groups met up before lunch to visit a migrant workers camp at a coffee plantation. We brought candy for everyone and we really were not prepared for what we saw. The living quarters were small, filthy and cramped. It would be hard to imagine 500 people living together in such a small space during the height of coffee picking season.
We finished our day visiting where the eco stoves are made. On an average day they have between nine to ten labourers and can make ten eco stoves per day. We are proud to have purchased ten eco stoves for deserving families in San Miguel Duenas.
It is difficult to put into words what we are experiencing but we are taking a lot of photos to try and capture our memories. We have shared many stories, a lot of laughter, and a few tears and as we get ready for our day off, we are realizing that our adventure is almost over and many of us are not ready for it to end.
The HRC team in Guatemala is finding their charitable experience to be a life-changing one – and not just for the residents in San Miguel de Duenas. It’s been a valuable experience for the 15 HRC team members working with the local families, school and charitable group as well.
Home-building, renovating, donating materials and working with children are key priorities for the HRC group. Building brick and tin houses is no easy task, and work for each house includes cutting rebar, moving and leveling dirt, building with cinder blocks and pouring concrete. On March 6th, the team completed their first house, with the help of the family who lives there. By March 8th, the team had completed two tin houses, and had also finished a kitchen with an Eco-stove being installed in it. These stoves reduce a family's wood fuel consumption by over 60%, but more importantly, mean clean air and less smoke inhalation for families. HRC is proud to be installing ten Eco-stoves in San Miguel de Duenas.
In addition to building homes, the HRC team has been working with the Open Windows foundation to provide education to local children. The group has spent time reading to students, and has also donated supplies and materials that kids can use for studying – and for fun, as well!
The team has also had the opportunity to meet Open Windows staff and board members. Not only are the San Miguel de Duenas families grateful for the new homes, learning tools and toys, but the staff and board members are thrilled with the donations provided by HRC and its valued partners.
Thank you again to our generous donors. This trip is a successful one because of your support.