Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Habitat volunteer's holiday building houses

'Amazing experience' in helping families keeps her coming back

  • Print
The Habitat for Humanity experience is 'infectious,' says Joanne Machado.

SUPPLIED PHOTO Enlarge Image

The Habitat for Humanity experience is 'infectious,' says Joanne Machado.

Usually when people take vacation time from work, they head to some exotic locale or the nearest beach. Not Joanne Machado.

For the past four years, Machado has used one or two weeks of her vacation time to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity Manitoba, the local arm of an international organization that builds affordable housing for purchase by low-income families.

Most people think Machado is being selfless, but she feels the opposite way.

"It's really hard to explain, (but) I feel selfish that I can take a week's vacation and go and build a house," said the 47-year-old, who works as an executive assistant at a Crown corporation.

Next month, Machado will participate in her eighth build project. She had no construction experience prior to joining Habitat in the summer of 2010.

She recalls that first week as an amazing experience: she had fun meeting people, got some exercise and learned new skills, such as how to use a hammer and skill saw properly, as well as how to frame a wall.

After that week, she wanted more.

"It's infectious," she said. "Habitat calls it 'habititis' -- it gets into your blood and you become infected with wanting to do this."

Machado also volunteers on Habitat's Women Build committee. Each year, the committee organizes fundraisers, such as a fashion show and a golf tournament, to raise the money needed to build an affordable home for a single mother to purchase.

Women Build also includes women who help construct the home as well as provide leadership training and mentoring.

Sometimes men are on the Women Build committee.

Machado said the idea is not to be gender exclusive, but rather to place an emphasis on introducing women to construction in a safe way that does not intimidate them.

"Women can gain the confidence in construction skills so that they can go out and use those skills on their own home or a regular Habitat build."

Women can also learn leadership skills through the committee, as Machado did. This summer she will volunteer as a crew leader, teaching some of the same skills she learned during her first build four years ago.

Habitat is currently looking for volunteers to join the Women Build Committee. Anyone interested can visit www.habitat.mb.ca for more information.

As someone who used to work in a school, Machado says she has seen the impact stable housing can have on the life of a lower-income family.

In her experience, children from transient families had a more difficult time with school given the disruptive nature of moving, whereas lower-income children who had a stable-living situation were better able to flourish.

"Stable housing makes such a difference," Machado said. "It can almost end that cycle of poverty and it gives a family a sense of pride in home ownership."

She invites people to get involved. They just might walk away with habit- it-is.

"Come out and build, and you'll find out why I do this," she said. "It's an amazing experience."

 

If you know a special volunteer, please contact aaron.epp@gmail.com.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 23, 2014 B2

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

It’s the End Of the Term And They Know It, Part Two

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Horses enjoy a beautiful September morning east of Neepawa, Manitoba  - Standup Photo– Sept 04, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • A goose comes in for a landing Thursday morning through heavy fog on near Hyw 59 just north of Winnipeg - Day 17 Of Joe Bryksa’s 30 day goose challenge - May 24, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Has the attack on Parliament hill shaken your faith in Canada's ability to protect its citizens from terrorist threats?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google