Homeownership Mar. 25, 2024

Growing up in a Habitat home

Inspiring a love of community through housing

Colin loves building houses. Through years of volunteering on Habitat for Humanity builds in his community, starting when he was just 12, Colin has tried his hand at everything from framing to concrete work. One day on a Habitat build site, an electrician asked for volunteers and Colin jumped at the chance — igniting the path to a new career.

Colin, Michelle and Tommy

Colin’s passion for building houses and helping neighbours was sparked through a lifetime of connection to Habitat for Humanity. It started when his mom and dad volunteered on a Habitat build in their community. Despite living in a cold, damp and moldy rental at the time, it hadn’t occurred to them to apply for a Habitat home themselves. But they did, and when their application was approved it was a dream come true. Since walking through the door of their very own Habitat home, Colin’s family has created so many wonderful memories.

“I had a great childhood,” says Colin. “I loved watching movies in the basement, playing catch in the yard, and family game nights – Monopoly, Trouble, Risk, Headbanz.” One of Colin’s favourite memories was at Easter time. “While my brother and I were sleeping, mom would hide chocolate eggs around the house and then she'd put a basket beside our beds. When we woke up, we’d go hunt for the eggs and sometimes find other surprises.”

A home is more than four walls and a roof. For families like Colin’s, it's a safe and secure place to learn, grow and heal. Tragically, Colin lost his father at a young age. The affordable mortgage, geared to his mom’s income, meant the family could stay in the house. “I can’t imagine how much more difficult it would have been if we hadn’t had the Habitat home and the support of the community,” says Colin.

Now 20years old, Colin still lives in the Habitat home he grew up in, along with his brother and mom. Having a safe and affordable place to live gives Colin a sense of security as he looks to the future, which he hopes includes going to school to become an electrician, after working and earning his pre-apprenticeship hours with Habitat for Humanity Grey Bruce.

“I love working for Habitat. It’s been a great experience for me, and it’s definitely changed me for the better,” adds Colin. One of the things Colin enjoys most is the chance to interact with future homeowners. “There was one family this year I talked to a lot because they were quite active in volunteering on the build site. I got to meet their children. I did kind of see myself in the younger versions of their kids. It was just a good feeling for me.”