‘Tis the season for giving, and as we at Weidner Apartment Homes reflect on our Weidner Cares events held in Canada this year, it reminds us that there truly is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving.
The Weidner Cares team worked with two stellar organizations striving to make a difference in Edmonton, AB, and Saskatoon, SK. It was a privilege to stand shoulder to shoulder with these amazing people who are so knowledgeable and committed to making the world a better place for children, and for those in need.
In Edmonton, the Weidner Cares team partnered with the Little Warriors Be Brave Ranch. This wonderful Canada charity was founded by Ray LaBonte and Family and “is a long-term treatment center focused solely to help children who have been sexually abused.”
“The Be Brave Ranch program offers these children a place to heal and increase their chances of growing into healthy adults. Clinical supports are offered to children and their families for one full year.”
Children come to the Be Brave Ranch for over 200 hours of therapy over a one year period and three additional 14-day stays.
Throughout the year-long program, the multi-modal therapy for children and their families, run by clinical professionals, includes Trauma Focused-Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), Expressive Art Therapy, Animal Assisted Therapy, Play Assisted Interventions, and Peer Group (cohort) Support. These therapy programs are enriched by a camp-like environment where the kids can have fun and connect with their peers who have had similar experiences.
The facility that helps these kids and their families heal was in need of some care and attention and that’s where the Weidner Cares team stepped in.
The Be Brave Ranch has several houses where the children reside while they are in treatment, in addition to a main office facility. The team spent the day completely removing and rebuilding three of the large outdoor decks on the houses which were in dire need of repair. They also organized several storage closets, prepped an area around a fire pit for seating, and undertook lots of landscaping. Several large shelving units were built in the garage space to store and sort supply donations. One team braved the Edmonton woods and some very “attentive” mosquitoes to clean out an old shed full of firewood so they could make room for more outside storage.
The time, effort, and commitment by our volunteers proved to be very successful at the Little Warriors Be Brave Ranch! Laurie Szymanski, Executive Director of Little Warriors commented, “As a charitable organization, we rely on volunteers to help us maintain the property and buildings at the Little Warriors Be Brave Ranch. When 80 amazing people from the Weidner team arrived at the Ranch to volunteer, their time and expertise for a day of work – this was invaluable. It would have taken us many months to complete this work. We are very thankful for their time and effort to help us have a safe place for children to come to receive treatment.”
You’re welcome, Laurie. Thank you from Weidner Apartment Homes for all the important work you’re doing at the Be Brave Ranch. You are indeed, warriors!
In Saskatoon, the Weidner Cares team partnered with the Saskatoon Food Bank Garden Patch, another great Canadian charity. Three times is a charm! This is our third consecutive year volunteering at the Garden Patch. The team was thrilled to return and get a close-up look at the progress of the Garden Patch and to see how their efforts are paying off.
The Saskatoon Food Bank Garden Patch mission is “to ensuring a food-secure community where all people have access to safe, affordable, and nutritious food.” Combining their values of respect, innovation, collaboration, and compassion, the Garden Patch’s vision is to “embrace its role as innovative and collaborative leaders in building an engaged, inclusive, healthy and empowered community for all.”
The Weidner team spent the day painting, weeding, harvesting, and building. The most ambitious part of the project was framing, constructing, and painting two large sheds and a fence. Previously, there was a small greenhouse shed made out of plastic and posts that was acting as one of their storage areas. As the Garden Patch continues to grow, their need for storage also increases, so the new sheds ensure continued growth and a safe haven for their supplies for years to come.
Gardens aren’t just for food – they can be a happy, peaceful, colorful, and inviting place for the community to enjoy. That’s where the Weidner team lent their painting skills and applied a much-needed coat of paint for a fresh, exciting look that encourages visitors to stay a while. Some team members were also taught how to build a willow fence,where willow tree branches are woven between posts to create a small barrier in the garden. Who knew willow trees were such multitaskers?
Both of these Canadian events made such a positive impact on their communities.
To all those who participated and volunteered during these two wonderful events, thank you for sharing your time and talents! To the terrific individuals at Little Warriors Be Brave Ranch and the Saskatoon Food Bank Garden Patch, we thank you for the opportunity to assist you in such important work in your communities.
As we approach mid-December, the holiday season and colder winter weather are beginning to slowly creep into our everyday lives. The days pass by in a blink of an eye, with the sky darkening before our internal clock even has a chance to catch up! Early morning means a delicate frost across cars and grass, with young kids (and the young at heart) exhaling to see the wonder of their breath gather in front of them as a tiny cloud before rushing to the warm sanctity of home, already decorated for the holidays. Snow has even reached parts of south Texas for the first time since 1987!
There’s a lot to consider with winter “heating up” and we have some great home hacks to make sure you’re warm and toasty this season:
Turn your attention to your windows: Windows are the top culprit for letting cold outside air into your home. The good news? They’re also your number one ally to achieving your ideal winter climate. Closing your blinds or curtains is one of the easiest changes you can do to keep your heat inside. You should also make sure to check your windows for air leaks as that is the number one way to lose heat. Turn off any fans or vents and thoroughly check the windows to see if there is any warm air leaving or cool air entering. If you do find a gap causing a leak, check the weather strip if there is anything is lodged there causing it. When all else fails, change the weather strip to ensure your windows are winter ready!
If you wanted a proactive window-treatment, you’ll find one with an unexpected source: Bubble Wrap. Simply spray some water on the windows, apply the bubble wrap so that the bubbles are facing towards you and you’re done! The air inside the bubbles acts as an extra insulator since it is slower to react to temperature change, keeping your room temp high and your heating bills low!
Repurpose household items: Simply by changing the way you use common household objects, you can help add some heat to your home. This year, try switching the direction of your ceiling fans to counter-clockwise to push the warmer air down.
Whenever you use your oven this season, leave it slightly ajar once you’re done cooking to have it warm up your home. Just make sure that you’re keeping a close eye on any pets or small children and everyone in the home knows that the open oven is warm and not safe to touch.
While you may only use the air humidifier for sick days, it can also help during the colder months to heat your home. Similar to more humid locations, the added humidity makes your space feel warmer. In addition, it can help re-add some moisture you lose when you are blasting your heater’s warm, dry air.
Avoid the thermostat as much as possible: To save some money, hold back on the impulse to hike up the thermostat as soon as you come home. Instead, first layer up with warm sweaters, gloves, and a heated blanket. Winter weather is all about bundling up so we say have at it and get as cozy as you like!
It makes little sense to use the thermostat for your whole home when you’re planning to just sit in one room watching TV or reading a book. If that’s the case, a space heater is your best friend, effectively heating up one room without wasting heat in an unoccupied part of your apartment.
If you do end up turning on your heater, make some quick adjustments to your home to help it heat up. By closing doors to rooms you’re not using, you’re creating a smaller area for your heater to warm up, saving you some extra dollars. You can also opt to make or purchase some draft stoppers. By choosing your own colors or designs you can even have them become a complementary part of your home decor!
For more great apartment home hack tips and the latest Weidner news, make sure to follow our blog. From everyone here at Weidner, we wish you and your loved ones a warm Weidner winter!
Holiday décor can be a challenge when you’re working with less space than say, a sprawling ranch in one of those romantic holiday movies, but with a little creative effort, your apartment home can be transformed into a festive hub of good cheer. Here are 5 holiday decorating tips to try this season:
Wreaths aren’t just for front doors anymore. Hang them in the window, over your bed, in the hallway. Light them with battery powered string lights so you don’t have to worry about hanging it near an electrical outlet. Use damage-free hangers and tape and keep the maintenance staff happy!
Hang indoor white lights around door and window frames. It adds a warm glow for very little cost and gives entryways a little pizazz.
Get sentimental and gather photos of friends and family from past holidays and create a display on a designated shelf, tabletop or fireplace mantel. Guests will be delighted to “make the cut” and are likely to share stories and memories of past holiday events. Invest in some matching, holiday-themed photo frames and re-use them each holiday season.
Create theme-based trees for each room. There’s no rule that says you can only have one Christmas tree. You can match the colors of your décor in the living room, and then do a beach-themed tree for the bedroom or office. You could go with traditional jewel colors and ornaments on the family room tree and a world-traveler tree in your guest bedroom featuring tiny maps and binoculars and ornaments from different destinations you’ve been to or dream of visiting. Kids love to decorate their own mini trees and it adds to the joy of the season to watch their imaginations take shape. Try a wood-based tree that’s specifically made to display ornaments for a simple, elegant look.
Don’t forget the kitchen and bathroom. These are two rooms that are often forgotten in holiday décor. Seasonal towels for the kitchen and bath make a great gift and they add instant cheer. Not to mention they can be washed and used next year. Do replace them if they get faded or stained. For the kitchen, search bargain deals for holiday-themed plates, napkins, glasses, and silverware. Stop by your local garden center or grocery store and choose a small, live rosemary bush trimmed in the shape of a tree. Its fragrance will keep you in the holiday spirit and with a little water and care, you’ll have fresh rosemary at the ready for all your holiday recipes.
What are your holiday décor ideas? We can’t wait to see the holiday spirit come alive at Weidner Apartment Homes! Have a safe and happy holiday.