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Calling all builders to lend a helping hand

Habitat seeking volunteers for deck-building project

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Rayna Rieger and Kera Barber stand outside the Habitat for Humanity office at 60 Archibald St. The two University of Winnipeg students are among a group of college and university students in Winnipeg helping Habitat for Humanity build decks for homes built by Habitat at Fernbank and Main.

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Rayna Rieger and Kera Barber stand outside the Habitat for Humanity office at 60 Archibald St. The two University of Winnipeg students are among a group of college and university students in Winnipeg helping Habitat for Humanity build decks for homes built by Habitat at Fernbank and Main. Photo Store

For many students, school assignments stop at the classroom. But for three University of Winnipeg students, a classroom assignment was the spark they needed to bring an actual project to life.

On Sat, Sept. 28, Habitat for Humanity Manitoba, headquartered at 60 Archibald St., is hosting a build exclusively for university and college students. The students will build decks for homes that were constructed by other Habitat volunteers this summer on Fernbank at Main Street.

"It started as just a hypothetical project to raise awareness about homelessness," says Kera Barber, one of the University of Winnipeg students who helped initiate the build.

Barber, along with her classmates Rayna Reiger and Cassie Liebrecht, are the three students who initially dreamed up the idea of a Winnipeg Habitat for Humanity build targeted towards students.

The young women were students together in the class ‘Program Planning, Monitoring, and Development.’

As part of the course, they had to come up with a plan for a real life project. One of the girls had recently completed an internship with Habitat, so the organization seemed like a natural fit.

"Getting to build a home for someone is really meaningful," says Barber. "You’re building someone’s future, even if that sounds cheesy. If it’s successful, we’re hoping for an annual event."

Kim Wilson, director of fund development for Habitat for Humanity Manitoba, says Habitat had wanted to engage the post-secondary demographic for a while, but wasn’t always sure how.

"Being approached by the students was great," she says.

She adds that deck building is an ideal student project.

"Decks are manageable to do in a day. At the end of the day, you can stand back and feel good because you’ve completed something."

And you don’t need to have any construction experience to get involved. Most jobs involve very basic carpentry skills, such as measuring and cutting wood, and nailing pieces together.

The project is looking for about 100 to 110 volunteers. Lunch and snacks are provided.
There will be prizes, as well as opportunities to fundraise. The highest fundraiser will win an iPad, and the deadline to register is Sept. 13. Further details are available at http://habitat.mb.ca/get-campusbuild.cfm

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