Every now and then, a volunteer comes along who cannot help but leave a lasting impression on the organization they serve. Cherie Somerville is one of those volunteers. She has been instrumental in shaping the organization’s journey towards building safe and affordable housing since she began volunteering with Habitat Hamilton in 2009. She has served in various roles, including Chair of the board, and she is still on the board of directors today.
Cherie first got involved in the Robert Land build, after being inspired to volunteer in the affordable housing space while working on a reno at her own home. As her commitment grew stronger, Cherie extended her support to the Restore, participating in a committee dedicated to enhancing operations. Cherie gradually deepened her involvement with the affiliate by joining the Board of Directors in 2015. Beginning as Secretary, she swiftly moved into the role of Vice Chair and eventually served as the esteemed Chair from 2020 to 2022.
When asked about her favorite project or experience with Habitat for Humanity Hamilton, two significant moments came to mind. The first is the unparalleled joy of handing over the keys to deserving families, witnessing firsthand the impact of safe and affordable housing can have. The heartfelt hugs received during those special moments reaffirm the profound importance of Habitat for Humanity’s mission. Additionally, she fondly remembers an early experience during the Robert Land build when they etched their name on a stud, symbolizing their contribution to creating a true home for a family in need.
Volunteering with Habitat for Humanity Hamilton has had a very positive effect on Cherie’s personal and professional life. She wholeheartedly believes that doing good leads to feeling good, and the rewards of her volunteer work are immeasurable. The satisfaction of building walls, painting rooms, and laying sod for families eagerly awaiting a safe and secure home is an experience that has been extremely gratifying for Cherie.
When asked about advice for prospective volunteers, she emphasized the surprising value of everyone’s contribution and the transformative power of simply starting somewhere. By engaging with fellow volunteers and seizing opportunities to learn and grow, volunteers discover new skills, perspectives, and pathways to make a positive impact.
Through her dedicated volunteer work, Cherie has aspired to help set families on a path of self-sufficiency and community involvement. She firmly believes that Habitat for Humanity Hamilton plays a vital role not only in providing safe and affordable housing but also in nurturing strong community members who give back. By fostering an environment where families actively participate in building their homes and engaging with the Restore, the organization instills the value of giving in future generations.
Reflecting on challenging moments during her time with Habitat Hamilton, Cherie recalled of an instance where physical strength or unfamiliar tasks seemed daunting. However, with the unwavering support of skilled crew leaders and the power of teamwork, all these challenges were overcome. Cherie learned to use tools previously unfamiliar to her, prioritized safety, and discovered that help was always available when faced with heavy or difficult tasks.
According to Cherie, what sets Habitat for Humanity Hamilton apart from other non-profits she has encountered is the tangible and sustainable goodness that emerges from the work. Driving around the city, she will often take detours to pass by the six homes that she helped build. Witnessing children playing outside or families enjoying their porch fills her heart with joy. Habitat for Humanity Hamilton’s focus on providing tangible, long-lasting solutions distinguishes it as an organization that creates real change in the lives of those it serves.
Habitat for Humanity Hamilton extends its deepest gratitude to Cherie for her unwavering commitment, exceptional leadership, and the profound impact she has made on countless families and the community at large. Her journey exemplifies the transformative power of volunteerism, leaving a legacy that will inspire others for years to come.