With the help of the Shelter Canada translators, we virtually traveled to the community of Trinidad Galvez to officially welcome 6 families into their new homes. Although this Key Ceremony day feels different this time around as we could not be celebrating alongside our El Salvadorian friends, we are still tremendously grateful to be connected with these families and be part of affecting this change in their lives. 

Gonzales Mijango virtual key ceremony
Granado family virtual key ceremony

The Virtual Journey

Being able to participate in this virtual journey reminds us that we don’t need to be physically present to connect with others, to lend a hand and to offer hope.

Flore Martinez virtual key ceremony

Building a Safe Home

Each piece of sheet metal, the nails that hold it together, and the concrete pad that holds it up, represents new beginnings for all the families. 

The Key to a Home

Herrera Granado Key ceremony

Being able to witness all of these virtually but still having the same emotions as if we were there physically, puts things into perspective. All we need is the heart and compassion to be able to make a difference. 

To meet the families and follow Alta West Capital’s journey, click here.


Shelter Canada is a non-profit organization with the goal of creating positive, sustainable change in the lives of people in all the poorest communities of El Salvador. For more information on Shelter Canada, please visit here

In November 2019, the Alta West Capital (AWC) team along with a group of investors travelled to El Salvador with Shelter Canada and built 20 houses for families in need. AWC’s plan was to travel back to El Salvador this year and build an additional 25 houses, however teams have been unable to travel to El Salvador due to the travel restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Shelter Nexus - Building Hope Online Program

To adapt to the restrictions placed for safety and precautions from the pandemic, Shelter Canada has developed the “Shelter Nexus – Building Hope Online” program. This allows Canadians to still connect with those in El Salvador and assist in the building of homes for those that are the most in need. Alta West Capital and its staff donated six homes to families in need and we have started our journey in the virtual build and have met the families we will be building these houses for.

Ayala Family and Wendy the Interpreter
Flore Tenonio Family with Alta West Capital

El Salvador Still Needs Homes

Although COVID-19 has disrupted nearly every facet of society, the desperate need for homes in El Salvador has not gone away. The pandemic has only amplified the need for Shelter Canada to continue its important mission to get the most vulnerable El Salvadorians in homes. In addition to the global health crisis that has struck El Salvador particularly hard, the country was also devastated by two tropical storms that caused extreme flooding.

Gonzales Mijango Family Home Before Building

Hope for a Better Future

Although we cannot be there physically lending our hands, our hearts are with them. We are still providing a positive, sustainable changes in the lives of the people of El Salvador. These houses do not just provide four walls and a roof, it offers the community a sense of hope. Hope provides a sense of possibility to envision a better future, especially in times of uncertainty.

To meet the families and follow Alta West Capital’s journey, click here.


Shelter Canada is a non-profit organization with the goal of creating positive, sustainable change in the lives of people in all the poorest communities of El Salvador. For more information on Shelter Canada, please visit here

What a crazy week! After participating this week in the home builds with all the amazing energy of a mid sixties male of the species I kind of bottomed out in a good way at our daily recap meeting. I felt like this was the big reveal, chairs in a big circle, this was it, personal recaps flowing and it was my turn.  I was mildly sleep deprived and slightly exhausted by 6 days of high humidity and 38 degree heat and as I spoke I was  instantaneously overwhelmed to be honest. I suddenly realized that building 20 new homes with a small team of warm and engaging underprivileged El Salvadoran families was much more than just building 20 homes. It became very apparent that I had found a new recipe for making good friends and good memories. I realized that the always great office associates had become great friends and the many other build team mates and villagers were now new friends too. 

This week of  building  was a vacation to be sure but this was like no beach holiday or Vegas getaway. It would be impossible to leave El Salvador and not feel that you had hit a jackpot, that you had just kind of won really big at the craps table, you had suddenly been adopted by a mixed race family of happy hardworking El Salvadorans and Canadians. You were now part of the village. Your life had become much richer in a short week. To top it off you hit triple sevens on the slot machines and the win gave 80 plus citizens in the little El Salvadoran village 20 new homes. You were on a multinational team of Campeones (Champions)! The whole experience was better than a day at the beach which by no coincidence was how we spent our last day in El Salvador Who wouldn’t like that kind of holiday?


Thanks to everyone for letting me be part of the team and hats off to the Alta West team, Shelter Canada, and everyone that worked in the blazing El Salvadoran sun. 

Cal Morstad





It’s key ceremony day and we have all been preparing for this day to come as we hand off the keys to the families we built houses for. It was a day of celebration filled with fireworks, piñatas and thank you’s. It was overwhelming to see the bright smile on their faces, the gesture of appreciation and the togetherness of the community.


No one prepared us for how hard it was to say our goodbyes. The first family that our team built a house for took us aside to say his thank you. It was a man (Moises) who spoke little when we first met him but has been with us on every site lending a hand and taking the lead. He may have little but his heart is full.


We have come to this trip not knowing how impactful this week will be. Not only to the families of the community and the Shelter Canada staff, but to our own lives as well. It’s astonishing how a simple hammer and a generous heart can bring so many people together from different culture and background and break all barriers. I was asked a question to what motivated me to come to El Salvador and as I looked back, I just know it was something I had to do and that is to help build a shelter for families in need. But I’m finishing this week with more than just building 4 walls and a roof, I have built lasting memories with my team and the people of El Salvador and will be leaving with a better story to tell.


El Salvador, we leave a piece of our hearts with you. This is not a goodbye, but a promise that we will see each other again.


– Criselle Lim  

Today is the final day of building! After working on separate teams for the week, all of the members from the Alta West team had the opportunity to all work together alongside with our El Salvadorian brothers and sisters. It perfectly summed up what this entire week has been about so far – building up a community, together.


It was fitting that one of the last homes we built was for Marco and his beautiful family. He had worked hard alongside us for the past few weeks, willing to do whatever job was needed of him. This house comes to him as a tremendous blessing as he told us that in a previous earthquake, a piece of his roof fell on his baby boy, and that he lived in constant worry that the current structure they were living in would not withstand another earthquake.


I personally spent a lot of the time with the local kids at these work sites. Although we didn’t speak the same language; playing games, singing and dancing is universal to every kid (and kid at heart). In those moments, I couldn’t help but to imagine a better future for them – that seeing neighbors helping neighbors will plant that seed in their hearts to do the same for their communities when they get older.


Beyond the team of people that actually drilled in the screws, hoisted up the walls, and dug the holes, behind every home there was a community of Canadians and El Salvadorians rallying together. While we are done building these 20 homes we set out to do, the work has just been started to build up these communities.


Monica Chung 






It is the third day of building and so far we have 18 homes built! Today was hot, sweaty, stinky and so wonderfully fulfilling. 


I came to El Salvador with trepidation, wondering what skills I could offer. After 45 years of desk jobs, I was doubtful what I could contribute, so I asked my husband to join me. I knew he would make up for my inabilities.


After three days, I can proudly claim I have mastered some skills, but more importantly I have learned others:

1) Humility
2) Compassion
3) Cooperation with our team, the Shelter Canada team, and the El Salvadorian community who are by our sides showing us how hard they work 
4) Pride to be part of such a worthwhile project 
5) Friendship – sharing hugs and stories with our New El Salvadorian friends.

There has been so much emotion, it is hard to explain – lots of laughter, and some tears. This is a beautiful country full of beautiful people. We are so grateful to be here.



Kevin & Diane 



We met Daniel (pictured left) on one of our work sites – he lived across the street, and joined us as we were working. He was a bright boy, his eyes were filled with happiness and he laughed and taught us songs and games.

It was only until after that we had discovered that Daniel was left an orphan after his mother passed away a few years back. He taught us that despite the most devastating of circumstances, that our hearts are still capable to find hope.



Today was another blue sky day, at least 30 degrees Celsius and VERY humid.  Our very extroverted team has danced, sang, laughed, cried and even built homes with these wonderful and proud people.  We have built four homes in two days, and have three more to go in the next two days.  I watch in wonder as AWC staff and investors joyfully bond with the Salvadorians.


The two homes today were built for two very deserving but different families.  The first was for Luz, a 60 year old widowed lady that had 7 children—2 Of which still lived at home—and two grandchildren with her as well.  She made tortillas in a larger center twenty minutes away.  She was a very strong, proud lady.  Our team felt a strong connection with her as she reminded us of our own mothers and grandmothers.


The second was for a young man, his wife and daughter.  Wilmer was a dynamo on the worksite, flying around with an incredible pride of ownership.  He lived in a mud brick home that had been destroyed in an earthquake some time ago, and was currently living in a similar one close to this site.  Earthen floors, mud walls and a decrepit sheet metal ceiling…how could anyone live there?


It’s hard to imagine that this ‘lamina’ that they call these homes (the laminated steel structure) could be so empowering, until you see where they came from.  The Shelter Canada home offers security, health, comfort, protection from the elements, pride of home ownership, as well as many other variables I’m sure I’ve missed.  The whole community is so excited to be a part of this that they literally take your tool out of your hand so that they can help build their brother’s house!


Thank you for your support.  This has been a gift to be able to come here and we are humbled to be the benefactors to others in such a small but impactful way.  You, in turn, have allowed us this privilege, and we are forever in your debt.




Charles McKitrick

CEO, Alta West Capital




This was the first day of building homes with our new friends in El Salvador. I do not use the word friend lightly as we were made to feel welcome as soon as we got to our building sites. It was as if we had known each other for a lifetime already.

God willing our goal was to build 2 homes per team every day. We started slow in the morning but all the teams accomplished the goal. Building homes is only half the reward. Every one of the groups was allowed to interview the family that the home was built for. If the reward for the family was the home, the reward for our team was the interview.

Our team learned more in five minutes with our family than they could learn from us in a year. We learned that  regardless of what little they had, they were so thankful.

The most special moment of our day came when our  group leader Chuck asked the head of the family Moises,  a 25 year old electrician and father of 2, a very simple question: What does this home mean to you? Moises could not answer the question in words but his emotion and eyes said enough.

They asked me to be brief so I will finish with one last sentence.

Thanks be to God.

George Botros

The second day in El Salvador was absolutely amazing. We started with breakfast at the hotel and then jumped into vans to meet the families whose houses we were building. After a quick introduction and a prayer, we split off into our groups to play some team building games with the families to get to know them. 

Later that day, we took a short hike on Volcan de San Vincente, where we got to see volcanic vents. There the team settled at a view where we sung some hymns and heard some beautiful heartfelt stories from the Shelter Canada employees about what pushed them to start working with this organization. It was a great end to a great day and we are incredibly excited for tomorrow to start doing what we can here to do – build houses!

Jacob & Nancy 

We arrived at the airport at the very unreasonable hour of 4am to make our 6am flight! Our group was so excited in anticipation of beginning our journey to El Salvador. The flights went off without a hitch and we arrived in El Salvador ahead of schedule, thank you United Airways.

Upon arrival we were welcomed to the country by the customs officers! Incredible! The Shelter Canada drivers greeted us outside the airport and took us to our motel, about 1 hour away from the airport. Our team leader arranged to take us to the local Pizza Hut for dinner. After dinner, we walked to the town centre where a festival of Lighting Christmas lights was taking place. It was incredible to see so many El Salvadorians together celebrating this tradition. We felt like celebrities as we walked around town and people waving and saying hola! (hello in Spanish). The Shelter Canada staff will work with us this week and also be our interpreters so we can communicate with the families we are building houses for. We were told many times this first day how grateful Shelter is to have us here. Your donation and support are doing a tremendous work already here in El Salvador.


– Sue McKitrick

George Botros
Chief Executive Officer

George Botros was appointed as CEO of Alta West Capital in April 2021. Prior to his role as CEO, George served as Alta West Capital’s CFO and CCO from 2014 to 2021. He has over 20 years in the lending business, participating in residential, commercial, mezzanine, and interim financing related activities.


George is also a Director of the funds Alta West administers. Prior to joining Alta West Capital, he managed Toro Financial Corporation which amalgamated with AWM Diversified MIC, an entity managed by AWC, in 2014. George was also a University Professor teaching Finance and Economics for University of Lethbridge.


George holds a Bachelor of Economics and an MBA.