Charity renovation project needs skilled volunteers


Peter D. Smither, President and Senior Project Manager of Iron Triangle Project Management Inc., Lt(N) Colin Dudeck, Project Manager of HeroWork, and Paul Letour, Founder and Executive Director of HeroWork are set to work on this year’s renovation project: the Citizen’s Counselling Centre.

The HeroWork Program Society is calling out for  volunteers to help them complete their 2015 project– the overhaul of the Citizens’ Counselling Centre.

Over 1,000 low income individuals a year find solace in the counselling services offered by the Centre. However, the 50-plus-year-old building they operate out of has not had repairs in 25 years.

The mix of charitable work in a diminished infrastructure meets HeroWork’s mandate – to help other charities thrive by renewing and refreshing their physical building through events called Radical Renovations.

Helping plan the Citizens’ Counselling Centre renovation is Lt(N) Colin Dudeck, who lends his experience and skills from his role with the Halifax Class Modernization to the Herowork project management team.  

“Military volunteers have helped in our past two projects,” says Lt(N) Dudeck, referencing base volunteers who were key to renovating Threshold Housing in 2014, a transitional housing centre for at-risk youth, and the Mustard Seed Food Bank in 2013.

The extensive experience military volunteers have working in teams, combined with their specializations in the trades, make them an incredibly valuable resource for the project, says Lt(N) Dudeck.  

“In the navy, we do a lot of work in small groups; on a ship it might be something like changing out a pump, where we coordinate getting a job done together with our different skills sets.”

HeroWork needs more volunteers for three successive weekends: May 29-31, June 6-7, and June 13-14, with the first weekend being the biggest need.

Work varies from demolition to carpeting, trim work to carpentry, to moving furniture.

Paul Latour founded HeroWork six years ago.

He did a mini extreme makeover for a friend suffering from multiple sclerosis. It was a renovation valued at $25,000 completed in a single day.

“It was only meant to be a one-off,” he says.

“But when it was done I saw the magic in it and I knew I needed to pursue doing more charity renovations.”

Non-profits don’t have the time, expertise or resources to renovate their space.

Latour saw a vast need for renovations at little cost to the charity.

The bulk of the renovation is paid for through donations and volunteering.

An application and interview process are used to select a charity, who must own their building.

Seven applications were adjudicated in this round.

“We picked the Citizens’ Counselling Centre because the organization is not about quick fixes. It’s part of a solution. So many ills in our society have to do with a lack of emotional and mental health. You need strong organizations in place to help people from going down dysfunctional rabbit holes,” says Latour.

He adds that the building needs approximately $150,000 worth of repairs and upgrades to be made good for the next 20 to 30 years.

Everything is ready.

All they need is some more volunteer labour.

Because charities must own their buildings in order for HeroWork to renovate, their spaces are more susceptible to falling into disrepair, as they don’t have landlords to upkeep the property.

To date, HeroWork has completed $1 million worth of renovations by mobilizing the services of over 150 companies and 1,000 volunteers.

To volunteer contact Lt(N) Dudeck at, or sign up for shifts at

Rachel Lallouz
Staff Writer

Filed Under: Top Stories


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