Saint in the Community - Ronald McDonald House Family Dinner

The Saint team assembled a group of volunteers to cook dinner for the families staying at Ronald McDonald House while their children are undergoing treatment. 

Ronald McDonald House cares for families of children whose health needs take them far from home and keeps families together, providing comfort, compassion and a sense of community when it matters most. The house was designed with families in mind. Divided into four homelike Pavilions (Forest, Beach, Mountain, and River), each with their own kitchens and cozy common lounges. The house is situated on the grounds of BC Children’s Hospital – 575 steps away to be exact. It has 73 bedrooms and hosts over 2000 families per year with the average length of a stay by the families is 12 nights. Some families end up staying more than 100 nights per year. Over 30% of the families will stay twice or more within one year – The longest stay by one family was 373 nights and the most stays by one family is 25.

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These numbers are astonishing when you stop and think about it. Imagine having to live in a strange environment and function while your child is ill and being treated. Hard to fathom!

In addition, Ronald McDonald House BC and Yukon offers:

  • Room for more families with seriously ill children – up to 73 families at a time
  • Accommodation for the entire family in spacious private guestrooms, each with their own bathroom
  • Four professionally equipped kitchens and two dining rooms.
  • Welcoming indoor and outdoor lounge areas which encourage families to meet others in similar situations.
  • Great play spaces including a LEGO lounge and Magic Room.
  • Arts & Crafts Studio, where young artists can express themselves.
  • Teen Lounge, an adult-free zone where our guests who are too young to vote can hang out with friends and siblings.
  • Indoor fitness centre, helping parents to stay active during their stay.
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The dinner program is designed for people to volunteer in groups of around 12-15 people and cook a healthy and fun dinner (or breakfast). It allows the families to focus on their children along with their own wellbeing and not have to think about preparing and cooking a meal. Saint reached out to RMH earlier this year to secure a date to cook the dinner. Once the date was secured, it was down to menu and volunteer planning. We sent out an email to a list of our contacts to gauge interest in joining us for the evening. The response was tremendous and we ended up with a wide variety of people attending – Architects, trades, suppliers, friends, family, significant others and even some clients - Both past and present! Amazing!

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With all the planning and initial meal prep completed, it was time to get started. Upon arrival to the house at 4pm, we are greeted and given a tour of the kitchen and areas that we will be using. Once all food is brought inside and set up, it’s off for a full tour of the facility. This gives a great insight into the operations of the house and importance of volunteers day in day out.

Once the tour is over, its all hands on deck! 

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Menu

 

Appies

Homemade sausage rolls

Mac and Cheese

Crackers and home made salsa

Mains

Marinated BBQ Lamb and Chicken

Roast potatoes and carrots

Rossini Salad

Garden Salad

Desert

Sticky date pudding with caramel sauce and whipped cream

Rice Krispies squares

 

Dinner is at 6pm sharp and families start rolling in at around 5:45 to scope out the meal and secure a spot in the line up. This is when the pressure of expecatation kicks in! Does it smell good? Does it look good? Will they like it?!?! All the emotions! The families form an orderely queue and the food is served buffet style. Judging by one gentleman returning four times…. We would say it was a success!

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 Thank you again to everyone that joined us for the evening. We appreciated your time and your efforts! If you or your company would like to participate in the dinner program, you can find more information HERE 

 

Saint and the Builders of Tomorrow?

The Saint Team ventures out into the community to a local school for a fun project. 

On June 6th, the team from Saint visited the General Brock Elementary school for a morning of building. We love getting out and being involved in the community, so we jumped at the chance to host the morning's activity. 

The Project; Planter Box. 

The Builder; General Brock Students.

The Help; The Team from Saint.

The students were provided with the box materials, safety equipment, a strawberry plant and the guidance of the Saint crew. 

A combined group of grade 5,6 and 7 were assembled to take part in the project. While Saint may have provided the materials and tools to make the planters along with the strawberry plants - the students provided the enthusiasm! 

Planter boxes made and supplied by Saint. 

Safety first!! 

The morning kicked off with Scott introducing the Saint team to the 40+ students sitting patiently, eager to get their hands dirty. Once the formalities were over with, it was onto stage one: Nailing the planter together. The Saint carpenters were on hand to assist the students as they constructed the boxes. 

This was going to be fun! 

After a few bent nails and fresh air shots, the boxes were completed. The students then lined up to get their strawberry plant. Once that was in, it was time to write their names on the box and place them out in the sun to get them growing! Students chatted to each other about how excited they were to be able to pick the fruit once it's ready. It was great to hear the excitement in their voices!

*No thumbs were hurt in the making of these planter boxes ;) 

A big thank you to the students and teachers from General Brock for taking part in the activity. Also, the Saint staff who attended and offered professional guidance. We all enjoyed helping out and spending some time with the builders of tomorrow!

*If there is a community event in the East Vancouver area that you think Saint would be able to offer assistance, do not hesitate to reach out to us! 

Real Estate Sector Slows Following Weak First Quarter

Steve Saretsky is a Vancouver Residential Realtor and author behind one of Vancouver’s most popular Real Estate Blogs - Vancity Condo Guide. Steve has become one of the most followed Vancouver Real Estate personas on social media, hosts an online video series ‘The Saretsky Show’, and authors a weekly newsletter to several thousand readers.

Written By Steve Saretsky

Following a recent announcement from the Bank of Canada to hold interest rates firm at 1.25%, the latest round of economic data for Q1 2018 was published. A rather disappointing day for the Canadian economy with GDP growth trickling in at an annualized pace of 1.3%, well below the expected 1.8% GDP growth estimate.

This really shouldn’t come as a surprise. As Real Estate goes, so too does the economy. National home sales slid 16% in the first quarter of 2018 with the average sales price also declining by 6.27% from Q1 2017. It was the first negative percentage decline since Q1 2009.

 Canadian homes sales Q1

Canadian homes sales Q1

The slowdown is starting to spread across the real estate industry where a sluggish real estate market and higher interest rates spurred Housing investment to fall by an annualized 1.9%, the worst showing since the first three months of 2009. Much of the pullback was felt from a drop in ownership transfer costs, down 13.5%.

 Source: Stats Canada

Source: Stats Canada

But it’s not just Real Estate brokers who have felt the pinch. Households facing higher interest payments are showing some fatigue. Household spending increased 0.3 per cent, the slowest pace since the first quarter of 2015. Spending on goods such as automobiles has stalled after almost three years of gains.

This will be important to watch moving forward as any slack in the real estate and credit markets has a larger impact on indebted households who tend to cut consumption and build savings as home equity drops. A 2010 study of the Great Recession in the sixteen OECD countries by Reuven Glick and Kevin Lansing shows that countries with the largest increase in household debt from 1997 to 2007 were exactly the ones that suffered the largest decline in household spending from 2008 to 2009.

*You can read more from Steve herehttp://vancitycondoguide.com/

BC Children's Hospital - Stories from the Community

BC Children's hospital is an amazing facility that all members at Saint have had experiences with. We dedicate ourselves to supporting the hospital and charities that in turn also support the foundation. We will be highlighting stories of families and their children's experiences at the hospital over the next few months. We invite you to share your experiences with us also!

This is the story of Huck Joy and the incredible professionalism and talent of BC Children's Hospital.  

Written By Cheryl Joy

On July 4, 2015 our beautiful son Huck was born. Unfortunately Huck was born with a rare congenital heart defect known as transposition of the great arteries. This occurs when the two main arteries leaving the heart – the aorta and the pulmonary artery – are reversed. This starves the body of oxygen and is fatal without intervention. 

Knowing our son's survival was dependent on open-heart surgery was absolutely devastating and terrifying, but we felt confident in the teams' ability to provide the best care for our baby.

At just five days old, Huck underwent his first open heart operation. He came out of the operating room with a breathing tube, feeding tube, pace maker, drains, open sternum and numerous other tubes. The sight of Huck post-op was horrific. As a parent, nothing can ever prepare you for what we encountered.

 Huck after the first operation to switch the Aorta and Pulmonary arteries. A pace maker was attached as a back up while his tiny heart recovered. 

Huck after the first operation to switch the Aorta and Pulmonary arteries. A pace maker was attached as a back up while his tiny heart recovered. 

 Due to complexities of the first surgery, Huck is without a pulse on his right side. 

Due to complexities of the first surgery, Huck is without a pulse on his right side. 

A few days after his operation Huck's right lung collapsed and he required another surgery. At the time, we were sleeping in a make shift room attached to the ICU that the nurses sometimes used on breaks. It had a single Murphy bed and an uncomfortable, narrow couch. Being woken during the night to sign surgery release forms was becoming the norm. 

The very next day Huck developed another post-op complication that was extremely rare. A blood clot was obstructing the main vein draining blood from the head. This condition is so rare that our surgeon had never once seen this happen in his twenty-three year career. Huck was once again rushed away for emergency surgery. 

It was at this point that Clint and I were told to prepare for the worst. Our doctors did not expect Huck to survive and it was a moment we will unfortunately never forget.

Thankfully, we had an amazing surgeon and dedicated team who refused to give up on Huck that day and miraculously he survived!

 The sweater says it all! Huck is a man of steel! 

The sweater says it all! Huck is a man of steel! 

 Presenting the check from the 2017 Second Annual Tough as Huck Golf Tournament.

Presenting the check from the 2017 Second Annual Tough as Huck Golf Tournament.

 Huck and big sister Scarlett Christmas 2017

Huck and big sister Scarlett Christmas 2017

 Enjoying a lunch date with Mommy.

Enjoying a lunch date with Mommy.

Through our journey, it became evident how crucial donations are to BC Children's Hospital. The donations allow the hospital to recruit the best staff in the world and equip the hospital with state-of-the-art technology. The level of care offered to families is phenomenal.  I honestly don't have a better word to use than phenomenal. The staff is caring, patient and extraordinarily talented. We will forever be grateful to BC Children's Hospital for saving our son. Not only does it mean the world to us, but also it means so much to all the other families that utilize BC Children's Hospital every day. 

Cheryl Joy

 Miracle weekend 2017 presenting the check from the 2016 First Annual Tough as Huck Golf Tournament. 

Miracle weekend 2017 presenting the check from the 2016 First Annual Tough as Huck Golf Tournament. 

*Clint and Cheryl along with their good friend Jeff, began the Tough As Huck Charity Golf Tournament in July 2016 to raise funds for the hospital. This wouldn't have been possible without the support of family, friends, sponsors, golfers, donations, volunteers etc. To date over $40,000 has been raised since inception. The third annual tournament will be held September 8th at the Pitt Meadows Golf Club. More information can be found at HERE or by emailing info@saintconstruction.ca*

Glen Park Village - A Family Initiative

Saint Construction Management teams up with an East Vancouver family to improve not only their living situation, but their future too. 

Written by William Crossland. 

Renderings of Glen Park Village - Two consolidated lots will accomodate five stratified unites - Completion June 2019

Dream homes come in many shapes and sizes.

And for one Vancouver family that dream had to meet some very important needs. Warren Bente and Tess Prendergast spent years trying to work out a housing solution to suit their entire family, including their children, Calum, 21, and Bronwen, 17.

Calum has a disability that will require ongoing care, but also a desire to move out and live with friends.

“It is quite mild, but it’s the kind of disability that means he is going to need some help,” Tess said. “When he was in high school they did a thing called ‘life planning’. During that he said he wanted to live with friends one day. We thought that would be great, but obviously it was not as easy as that.”

 Calum will live in the back half of the new duplex. he gains INDEPENDENCE while warren and tess have the comfort of knowing they are right next door if needed. 

Calum will live in the back half of the new duplex. he gains INDEPENDENCE while warren and tess have the comfort of knowing they are right next door if needed. 

Enter Saint Construction.

The family was introduced to Founder and Owner Scott Sheen in March 2016.

Scott immediately recognized an opportunity to help improve the living situation of a family in the community where he works and lives. “When Tess and Warren first came to me and described their situation I felt the need to help out, but also promote a more community based building model,” he said. “They are good, honest, hardworking people and I knew there was a way for us to work together toward a desirable outcome for their family’s future.”

Soon after, Saint purchased the property adjoining the family’s home, and guided them into an innovative concept to benefit all concerned. The end result will be Glen Park Village: a multi-family complex comprised of five strata units - two of which will be owned by Warren and Tess.

Warren and Tess's property (left) pre-demolition and the Character home that will be retained and renovated. 

Warren, Tess and Bronwen will live in a two-bedroom infill house, adjacent to a three-bedroom duplex accommodating Calum, one of his friends and a live-in carer.

It’s the perfect solution to a potentially difficult situation.

“We’ll be just across the yard so if there’s anything they need we’re right there,” Tess said. “We still want to guide and support him, but it’s important for him to be more independent so we can have a more normal parent-child relationship. It’s a gigantic project that will make us feel less anxious about how he’s doing.”

While Glen Park Village provides obvious benefits for the family, Warren is also excited about contributing to the city as a whole.

“The idea is that we’re building a little community, and these units will be very family friendly,” he said. “There is an amazing school in the neighborhood, it’s very quiet, central to everything, and it’s only 15 minutes by bike to downtown.”

“We have a great business relationship, and the added bonus is we have become friends through this process,” Tess said. “We have complete trust in Saint and we know they are working with our best interests in mind.”

Renderings of the finished product from the front of the property. 

The development will be a modern concept design and build that complements the character home, first built in the early 1900's, and the well-established homes in the surrounding community. Not only will Glen Park Village deliver a dream home for Warren and Tess, it also relieves a huge weight off their shoulders by setting them up for retirement.

They have a message for others considering a similar move.

“We’re pushing the boundaries of what is possible, not just for the disabled, but for the elderly and for all families,” Tess said.

“People live in this city for a reason - it’s a pretty great place. If you live here and want to keep living here you need to get creative, and this is a model that could, and should be used all over.”

*If you have any questions at all, please do not hesitate to contact Saint Construction: info@saintconstruction.ca*