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Michelle and her family are given the key to their new home.

Faculty presents keys to a brighter future

December 5, 2014 — 

Faron is looking forward to painting his bedroom; blue tops the shortlist of colours. “I might put a couch in there, put up lots of posters and make it look good,” says the 15-year old high school student.

Yesterday, Faron, his mom Michelle, and two younger sisters, Niomi and Julia, were given the key to their new home. It was an emotional day for Faron and his family, “It makes me feel great, knowing you have a place to go…. It’s heartwarming,” he said.

This new beginning was made possible through a partnership between Habitat for Humanity Manitoba and the Faculty of Health Sciences and through generous contributions made by the Tachane Foundation and Jonathan Wong, a local palliative care physician.

Wong was inspired to participate though a message shared by Brian Postl, vice-provost and dean, Faculty of Health Sciences, which stated the responsibilities of health care professionals goes way beyond clinic and hospital walls. He recorded a 15-track album titled Keys to Home, 100 per cent of the proceeds were directed to the build fund. “This CD is hopefully more than just music, it represents community and love,” said Wong. “Provided the internet still works and CDs are still available,” all proceeds will continue to go towards the fund.

The four-bedroom home was constructed on the U of M’s Bannatyne Campus with the help of faculty, staff and students from the Faculty of Health Sciences and a pair of students from other areas of the university. Soon after the 10-day build wrapped, the house was moved to its permanent location just a few blocks away.


Dr. Martin humbled by the gift.

City councillor Mike Pagtakhan (Point Douglas) attended the key ceremony and brought greetings on behalf of Mayor Brian Bowman and council colleagues; he also welcomed the family to the neighborhood, noting he lives just two streets over.

Michelle’s dad Karl blessed gifts that he, Michelle and his grandkids hand made to present as a gesture of their gratitude. “This is a proud and beautiful day for my daughter. I thank each and every one who participated in this event; this is an honour and a blessing for our family,” he said. “Habitat, you build houses, but in my heart you build dreams.”

He performed a prayer and a traditional smudging ceremony with Michelle. “I’m using sweet grass to bless the front and back door to keep out negativity and bring in happiness,” she explained.

Just before the ceremony concluded, Michelle called on Bruce Martin, director, admissions (undergraduate medical education), and presented him a hand carved wooden stick: “I want to give this to you because you were there with me building it and I know that this was your vision and what you do for families. To show my love and appreciation, this is for you.”

It’s not too late to get involved with the Faculty’s “Build Hope” project. You can show your support and help reach the fundraising goal through a donation to Habitat for Humanity.

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