Volunteers bring it to Heartland Forest
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Sep 18, 2012  |  Vote 0    0

Volunteers bring it to Heartland Forest

Niagara This Week - St. Catharines

In the words of an iconic Canadian retailer’s recent advertising campaign — bring it on.

And that is just what 120 management staff from Canadian Tire Financial Services will be doing come Sept. 27 at Heartland Forest. They will come armed with hammers and saws and all tools of the trade when the group will stage a one-day renovation blitz at the accessible nature facility in Niagara Falls’ south end.

The event is part of CTFS’s Leadership Day of Service initiative. This is the 12th year for the program.

“We have a leadership committee. They go about contacting various charitable organizations in Niagara and Halton and review requests from those organizations,” said Chris Mindorff, vice-president of banking operations for CTFS. “We have a list of criteria in terms of things we look at. The organization has to be a stable, viable and long-term.

“And the project has to accommodate 120 people.”

The volunteers won’t have to worry about a shortage of work. There’s a privacy fence to be installed, buildings to paint, a pavilion which needs some work. The list goes on, according to Heartland founder Dan Bouwman.

“It’s an exciting day for us,” Bouwman said. “I’m going to keep them busy.”

Heartland’s executive director Elisabeth Graham was more explicit.

“(They) will tackle over 15 projects including upgrades to the existing classroom, extending the fishing pond deck and building an outdoor pavilion,” Graham said, adding that Heartland is grateful for the help. “This is an incredible donation of volunteerism and over $70,000 in materials for the day.”

They told us to have a ‘B’ list. I told them I had a ‘Z’ list,” Bouwman added with a laugh.

Mindorff, meanwhile, said projects like the one about to take place at Heartland Forest are a part of the corporation’s leadership development program.

“Employees are showing leadership through helping,” Mindorff said. “It’s about making the communities where our employees live and work a better place for everyone.”

He said it is part of the company’s “four pillars” of helping to build a healthy community. Besides the leadership development program, those pillars are the JumpStart Charity, Community Support for such things as women’s shelters and food banks and community development through sponsorship for events.

For Bouwman, meanwhile, the support is appreciated.

“Without partners, sponsors and our volunteers, we wouldn’t have what we have today.”

Heartland Forest is located at 8400 Kalar Rd. and is open year round.

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