Volunteer Spotlight – Debi Vanderzanden

28 Apr
Debi Vanderzanden

We’re thrilled that our volunteer Debi Vanderzanden was awarded with a Certificate of Recognition from Habitat for Humanity Canada for her outstanding efforts in moving Habitat for Humanity’s mission forward. In a letter from Mark Rodgers (Habitat Canada’s President and CEO) and Susan Smith (Habitat Canada, COO) they wrote; “There are many attributes of a great volunteer. Passion, flexibility, integrity, reliability and commitment are just a few of the amazing qualities you possess and demonstrate through volunteering. We feel humbled and honoured that you have chosen to give so generously and in so many ways to our organization and we thank you for your time and talents.”

Congratulations Debi!

Debi Vanderzanden shares with us her experience as a Habitat for Humanity Niagara volunteer who has been volunteering with us for more than two years in a recent interview with Angela Daley, Habitat Niagara’s Manager, Volunteer Engagement.

AD: Tell us a little about yourself

DV:  My career background is in the financial services industry, in the position of Training Manager as well as project coordinator within the credit union system. I also spent a number of years doing freelance work for a large event planning company, working on site during large corporate and private functions, as well as in the creative sewing studio of their Oakville location. My husband and I have 3 grown children, and live on our poultry farm in Fenwick.  I love skiing, kayaking and spending time in Algonquin Park with family and friends.

AD:  Why did you decide to volunteer with Habitat Niagara?

DV: Habitat Niagara is an organization whose values I respect; I liked the fact that it was an organization that got volunteers involved at the local level within our own communities, and that it addressed the needs of hard working, deserving families by getting them directly involved in helping themselves achieve the stability of home ownership.  I was fortunate to be in a position to commit some time to a volunteer organization and thought Habitat would be a great fit.

AD:  How long have you been volunteering with us and in what capacity?

DV:  I began volunteering with Habitat in early 2015 when I read about the new ReStore opening in Fonthill.  My first experience was in the renovation and setup of the Fonthill ReStore building, and when it opened in May of 2015, I continued to volunteer in the store in a customer service capacity.  When the opportunity arose shortly after to participate in a build, I jumped at the chance, and that’s when I became hooked.  In the fall of 2016 I was invited to participate in the Habitat Build Day Crew Lead Program and have been volunteering in that capacity since then.

AD:  What do you like about volunteering for Habitat?

DV:  I love working with people who share a common interest in paying it forward, and through the build program, I have been fortunate to have met so many.  It’s very rewarding to work directly with, and see the pride of the homeowners as their home comes together, and I enjoy meeting the Habitat Build Day participants and assisting them wherever I can.  The enthusiasm, patience, level of knowledge and cooperative spirit of our construction manager Craig Brown, and our team of crew leads and volunteers on the build crew is inspiring, and I have a great respect for all those involved.

AD:  What would you like to share with others to get them to volunteer with Habitat?

DV:  Habitat Niagara can offer the challenges of learning a new skill, allow you to see the excitement of the children when they move into their new home, and see new friendships formed between the volunteers, as well as the families, as their new community welcomes them.

There are so many ways to get involved, and I believe there is a role for anyone with the enthusiasm, a smile, and sense of humour who wants to become involved in helping provide a home to such deserving families. 

AD:  Anything else to share?

DV:  I am very proud to be a part of Habitat Niagara and everything it represents.