“Build Love” Restores Faith in Human Connection

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On November 7, 2018 Build Love unveiled a major home renovation for the Kennedy family in Regina. The family was both thrilled and grateful, and it was clear the project was undertaken with love at every step of the way.

This inaugural project for Jared and Liana Kennedy was completed in two months — at no cost to the family — to improve accessibility for their eight-year old daughter, Vienna, who lives with complex mobility challenges from Arthrogryposis, a congenital muscle syndrome she has had since birth. She relies on a walker to move around independently.

Build Love is the brainchild of local entrepreneurs Derek Wu, Trevor Anderson and Brandon Fuchs. Wu and Anderson co-own and operate the commercial and residential builder, Collaborative Construction in Regina; friend and fellow contractor, Fuchs, owns and operates Superior FD Contracting. Growing to a total of eight co-founders who are also Regina-based entrepreneurs, the organization is inspired to improve lives and strengthen community through meaningful acts of empathy, compassion and collaboration. The group’s goal is to lead annual campaigns for similar renovation projects.

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It’s Time for Design

A founding partner of Build Love and the owner of Clear Space Design Co. (online at clearspacedesignco.com), Amanda Brady is an experienced architectural technologist with four children of her own.  The company focuses on providing its individual and industry clients with full-service residential design and drafting, custom floorplans and blueprints.

“We were approached by Derek and Brandon to provide interior design, floorplans, 3-D renderings and furniture shopping for the 2018 Build Love project. Two of the primary issues with the home were that the doorways were too narrow, and the bathroom presented problems for accessibility. During the renovation, we made the doorways as wide as possible,” explains Amanda.

Amanda’s team also worked with Christy Lawson of House Envy Interiors (online at houseenvy.ca) on the Kennedy family’s home. Amanda describes the Kennedys as already having a good sense of style and some nice furniture pieces. “We aimed for an interior design style that was really clean and open, but we cozied it up a bit with textures and fabrics. We also used green plants to add brightness and improve the home’s air quality.”

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Together, the Build Love team worked to eliminate structural barriers and improve ease of mobility for Vienna, incorporating features such as durable flooring. The goal of the renovation was for the Kennedy’s home to remain functional as Vienna grows through the years. “We still receive texts from Liana Kennedy thanking us for our life-changing work and the host of barriers and issues we removed for the family; they are amazing people!” Amanda, adds.

And the Rest is History

More than 60 tradespeople, contractors and suppliers from Regina’s construction industry provided approximately $350,000 (market value) of labour and building materials for the 2018 Build Love Project. Plus, 165 individuals joined Build Love’s volunteer team to help complete the renovation, totalling more than1,800 volunteer hours.

Melissa Fiacco is a public relations and communications strategist, as well as one of the eight founding partners of Build Love. Born and raised in Regina, Melissa is a graduate of Mount Royal University in Calgary and her work emphasizes community engagement. When Derek Wu approached Melissa about Build Love, she immediately saw potential to engage the community.

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“There was an opportunity to galvanize community support and inspire others to think about how they can build love in their communities through a media relations and PR strategy, and that’s where I came in,” explains Melissa. “My role was to generate media coverage to tell Build Love’s story, but we also had this incredible privilege to help give a voice to those who live with disability and to encourage some contemplation and inclusion from those who can’t relate to disability.”

“It was a complex challenge because we needed to introduce Build Love to attract interest, but we also wanted to be sensitive to the Kennedys,” Melissa adds. “They were integral to telling this story, but it was important to honour the family’s privacy during this campaign.”

Applications for the Second Project

This year, Build Love is an exhibitor at the 2019 Annual Regina Spring Home Show (March 28 to 31) to reach out to prospective applicants, sponsors, suppliers and volunteers.

Build Love is launching applications to select its 2019 recipient starting March 1 with the application window closing April 15. The 2019 Build Love project will be residential and in Regina, with the focus on selecting a family (or individual) that lives with non-typical challenges and has an area in their home that needs improvement to better enjoy their quality of life. The goal remains to bring the community together in the spirit of collaboration and to make a meaningful difference in someone's life.

The organization will be taking form and video submissions during the 2019 application process. The project will be chosen in late spring and renovation will begin soon after. Working as a team, the eight Build Love co-founders have created comprehensive campaign criteria for future projects.

Saskatchewan residents are encouraged to join Build Love’s volunteer team, make a cash contribution or choose Build Love as a recipient for their company’s community investment program. Visit the website buildlove.ca or email info@buildlove.ca to find out more. @BuildLoveYQR

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In Melissa’s Words

“I’ve been friends with Derek for years, so I know his sharp entrepreneurial instinct and passion for community. I also knew this was something I wanted to be a part of before we knew exactly what it was going to be or would become. Derek called me and explained Collaborative Construction had been called by the Kennedy family to provide a quote on a bathroom renovation as part of the criteria to apply for funding from Kinsmen Telemiracle. At that point, Derek, Trevor and Brandon knew they were going to provide a renovation for this family, but the scope was going to be dependent on whether the Kennedys qualified for funding. Funding was approved and it turned into a major interior and exterior renovation.”

 

Photos courtesy Build Love