Harold Seidel describes Reena in one word as “impactful”. After almost 30 years on Reena’s various boards, Harold Seidel has certainly had an impact on Reena. “Some 30 years ago I was doing business with Ron Hoffman who at the time was on the board and very involved with Reena,” says Seidel. “Being in the construction industry, Reena was beginning to build new houses and they had purchased a piece of land on Crestwood Avenue which was going to be a unique, one-of-a-kind residence for seniors with developmental disabilities. So, Ron approached me to become a member of the board of Batay Reena to become chair of the building committee to design and build what would become the Al and Faye Mintz Elder home.” The home was the first of its kind and has had visitors from around the province, the country and the world come to see what Reena has done.
“I was taught that we are very lucky,” says Seidel, “we have our health, we don’t want for anything, we need to help those that need help so getting involved with Reena where you can see the fruits of your labour is very fulfilling to me.” Seidel was also involved in the planning and construction of Reena’s first home for autistic individuals, an endeavour he says was very fulfilling. “After we built the house for autistic individuals, we were at Striking for Reena event and one of the parents of a child who was being supported by Reena and was moving into Kerrybrook was introduced to me and started crying and thanking me for building the house and giving him piece of mind that he will be able to die happy knowing that his child will be taken care of by Reena.”
Despite all he has done for Reena, Harold Seidel likes to talk about what Reena has done for him. “Reena is lifechanging for so many, and for me…it’s changed my life. It’s given me purpose. At Reena…I’ve felt with my hands and seen with my eyes the accomplishments that Reena is able to do through fundraising, through government funding and it really is life changing for so many people….it’s changed my life.” Throughout his involvement with Reena Seidel says he has seen firsthand the impact it has not only on the individuals who Reena focuses on but also the families, including his own. “While I was planning the Reena Elder Home, my wife and I received a call one afternoon from my youngest daughters public school asking if we would come to school the next day for an awards presentation where she would receive an award for helping out every day at lunch in the special needs class. She saw what I was doing and felt it important for her to help out too.”
Next up for Harold Seidel and Batay Reena is the new Frankfort Reena Residence set to begin construction within the year. An effort he hopes will continue to have a positive impact on the individuals Reena supports and their families and continue to be a leader in the sector. “I’m a simple guy,” says Seidel, “but I was taught to help those who need help, do what you can to help the community and I’m proud to be Jewish and proud to help the Jewish community.”