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 Welcome to the newest addition to the GPVSB website: Member Spotlight. 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! 

Click here! for membership information.

LINKages Society of Alberta

Connecting youth and elders in a spirit of cooperation, friendship and respect where both generations benefit from sharing their experiences, skills and knowledge.

Mae Chun - Executive Director at LINKages Society of AlbertaOriginally known as Friends of Seniors the registered charity now called LINKages Society of Alberta was founded in 1994.  The organizations vision is to create and maintain a strong and vibrant community where youth and seniors thrive. They accomplishes this by facilitating innovative intergenerational programs and services that encourage involvement, transfer of knowledge, and capitalize on the strengths of youth and seniors to foster stronger Alberta communities. They believe that Albertans of all ages need to be valued, respected and appreciated for their experiences and potential; they encourage citizen engagement and positive contributions that enhance our communities.  LINKages continually aims to connect young people and seniors in ways that are mutually beneficial, they encourage the merits of volunteering, community involvement, personal development and learning to overcome ageist stereotypes.

Based out of Calgary, LINKages staff have facilitated training workshops in communities all over Alberta, from as far north as Peace River and Lac La Biche, to Lethbridge and Coleman in the south, Jasper in the west and many points in between, to train other organizations in starting and maintaining their own Intergenerational Programs.  Recently, with funding from Husky Energy, School Programs & Community Liaison Betty Good and Executive Director Mae Chun came to Grande Prairie to hold their workshop for local community service providers.  The purpose of this workshop was to equip and inspire those in attendance to implement and manage their own intergenerational programs, under the continued guidance and support of LINKages.

 Mae Chun hopes to continue to holding workshops across Alberta and to return too Grande Prairie next year in order to develop a growing network in the province to help older and younger generations of our society to connect and learn from each other.  She would like for volunteers to experience the remarkable impact of connecting with a senior, of learning about history from firsthand accounts while the older generation get to learn more about the ever changing advancement of our present, like being taught how to use new technology and having a connection within the larger community.Betty Good teaching at the workshop held in Grande Prairie

Developing a successful intergenerational program takes careful planning, strategies and experience to facilitate impactful, beneficial relationships. With 20 years' experience in Calgary, LINKages is a recognized expert in delivering effective intergenerational programs. Through LINK outreach workshops, they offer engaging, practical training sessions to organizations interested in developing local intergenerational programs, a growing network in the province to help older and younger generations of our society to connect and learn from each other.  She would like for volunteers to experience the remarkable impact of connecting with a senior, of learning about history from firsthand accounts while the older generation get to learn more about the ever changing advancement of our present, like being taught how to use new technology and having a connection within the larger community.

For more information on the LINKages Society of Alberta please visit their website at www.link-ages.ca, click here for their facebook page and twitter.

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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.

 

 

 

 

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