Belleville Christian School (BCS) recently fundraised over $88,000 through a building project called Home Sweet Home.
The project included many volunteers from the school and local homebuilder Andy Geertsma, BCS alumni.
“This is the second time he’s done it for us,” says BCS principal Jennifer Richmond. “He takes one of his lots that he would normally build a house on for profit for his company and on that lot he builds a home where he uses our families as volunteer labour and recruits his suppliers to donate supplies where possible.”
Geertsma and his wife Christy own Geertsma Construction Ltd. and Geerstma Homes Ltd. in Belleville.
Proceeds from the home, which was sold and closed in the end of March, were turned over to BCS.
The event was a team effort, with many people from the community who donated time, services and labour. Geertsma says many of the businesses he works with volunteered to help.
For Geertsma, it was a way to give back to Christian education and the school he and his three daughters attended. He now has two of his grandchildren attending the school.
“Our family and my parents and grandparents have been involved in Christian education for many years,” he says.
“It’s is a family thing and we strongly support Christian education for the reasons that we think our children deserve the very best education, they deserve an education that is God-honouring and recognizes that we bring our children up to know the Lord and creation is His.”
As a homebuilder in Belleville for 30 years, Geertsma says he wants to help others to have the opportunity to send their children to local Christian schools.
Richmond says parents and volunteers enjoyed this type of fundraiser. She had two volunteers who spent a lot of time during the three-month project on the phone to co-ordinate volunteers.
“It’s nice that it didn’t tap our existing families who already carry such big burdens with tuition,” says Richmond.
“They could take a Saturday morning and go clean up behind the contractors, they could go on a Saturday and hang out with the guys and build a deck. And that’s community building.”
The project included volunteers from other Christian schools and community members.
“What we found was not only were people from Belleville Christian School contributing but also people from Trenton Christian School contributed for us and other Christian builders,” says Richmond, and adds that other non-Christian businesses helped out.
“There are number of our sub-trades that don’t have any involvement in Christian education,” says Geertsma. “By involving themselves in this project they obviously felt that it was worthwhile cause.”
“If these events don’t build community, then as a principal I’m not in favour of them, because that’s what we are, bring us together and it’s accomplishing so much more than just raising funds,” says Richmond.