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Meet Geoff, Our Brick and Mortar Expert
It’s National Volunteer Week and the theme for this year’s campaign is #CheersToVolunteers! Join us in celebrating our wonderful volunteers who all deserve applause for all their dedication, generosity and immense contributions.
Helping us dream big while thinking of every detail: meet Geoff Seaborn
Geoff Seaborn modestly calls himself a “brick and mortar and numbers guy”. As the recently retired bursar for Trinity College for 26 years, he has managed almost a dozen different capital projects ranging in size from one to 10 million. “I guess I developed a bit of experience of seeing a project through from the beginning right to the end, including the financial side of it,” says Geoff.
The truth is, Geoff knows a ton about buildings, architectural heritage, sustainability and accessibility. Just the person we needed when we embarked on our capital project of purchasing and renovating our new building at 54 Wolseley Street! There is so much to consider. Since May of 2018, Geoff has been an invaluable volunteer and advisor on our Facilities Committee, tackling the details and intricacies of heating and cooling systems, elevators, lighting and much more. He is happy to help out. “Stella’s Place is one of those critically necessary services in the city that is holding the social fabric together,” he says.
Conceptualizing the new Café space was one of his favourite parts. “The Café design is such an important component of the ‘feel’ of the new Stella’s Place. It will be an interesting space and it will feel welcoming.” Asked about the possible implications of Covid-19, he is cautiously optimistic: “Stella’s Place has been deemed an essential service by the City of Toronto. If social distancing becomes a permanent feature, we have to think about how to lay that out. I hope it doesn’t increase the challenges that young people face and if it does, Stella’s Place is the right place to address it.”
Young people are disproportionately affected by the current pandemic. The youth unemployment rate has soared to 16.8% (the highest it has been this century) and young people are experiencing significant career, housing and food insecurities. Geoff, who had to shut down Trinity College and all campus life during the summer of SARS, offers these words of wisdom: “Covid-19 seems to be more severe but I still hope that we can recover and bounce back from it the same way we did from SARS. Just bear down and get through it!”
For more information about the “Building for Mental Health Campaign” and to help us get shovels into the ground, please contact Faith Bachlow at [email protected]
Currently, Stella’s Place does not have a formal volunteer program. We do, however, accept volunteers with specialized skills to support operations as needed. Keep an eye out on our Careers Page for future opportunities.