Acorn Communities is known for designing and building developments such as Blackstone, Sunset Ranch and West Avenue Lofts – areas that create a sense of belonging for everyone in the community. Behind the scenes, president Greg Bird and general manager Dave Pfuetzner have a secret; over the past three years, they have donated a lot of time and money to build an orphanage in Colima, Mexico.
“Not only personally, but also corporately we’re funding this along with family members right from the get go,” explains Pfuetzner.
“So in other worlds, we found property, bought it, renovated the existing home and all the while under the canopy of Hope for the Nations, a Kelowna based charity.”
Pfuetzner says it all began as the vision of his business partner, who set the wheels in motion three years ago.
“When (Greg) started talking about it, prior to it even happening, I told him that I was all in and this was a great opportunity,” says Pfuetzner, who has made four trips to Mexico in the past two years.
“We go down with volunteers and basically only work on it with volunteers, that’s why it takes so long. Even though we fund the materials and we fund the local architect and labor group, we come down and donate our time and try to get teams together to help out for a week at a time. “
The current project is a grouping of three properties, two of which were bare lots and one with a house already on it, called Los Golindrinas. The plan is to have two homes built on the three lots, leaving the middle intact as a secure courtyard.
Together, they have joined forces with a local church called Hogar d’Amor Mexico that is independent of Hope for the Nations and does its own orphanage work.
Construction began on Los Golindrinas in Nov. 2010, and the existing home has already been renovated – over the past two years, there has been 10 weeks of work.
“It’s actually gone really well, but the span of time has been longer than we’ve wanted,” admits Pfuetzner.
“You can’t rush (the volunteerism), you have to let it grow organically that way.”
Once per year, Acorn also sponsors any of their employees who wish to travel to Mexico and be part of the team, and Pfuetzner says the response has been overwhelmingly positive from everyone he speaks with both inside and outside of the company.
However, he does caution interested parties that it can be more difficult than it sounds, “you need to be prepared physically.”
The group is already actively scouting for their next location and will consult with the local church and Hope for the Nation to ensure they find the greatest need in the area.
For more information check out their Facebook page.