Without teams of willing volunteers, Central Valley Habitat for Humanity wouldn’t be able to help so many people in our local community. Our office is made up of four employees. FOUR! Everything else is done through volunteer labor from individuals and groups in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County.
If you set up a volunteer work day with us, we usually ask for a group of 5 – 10 people that are ready and willing to do some hard work side by side with fellow volunteers in order to make a family’s dream of home ownership a reality.
Much like your body, a good volunteer team is made up of some specific anatomy that keeps it running smoothly and presents the best work on our construction site. Everyone on the team has their own strengths and weaknesses, but there isn’t anyone without a skill that is useful on site!
Let’s explore below what the anatomy of a successful volunteer team looks like!
Spirit and Belief in Our Mission
Let’s start with team spirit! The most successful groups we have are the ones that come motivated and ready to get building, because they completely support our mission. Here at Central Valley Habitat, we believe that everyone deserves a safe, decent and affordable place to call home. We build strength, stability, and self-reliance through shelter, and our families see their homes a ray of hope in what may otherwise be a hopeless situation.
Groups that come prepared to put in their best effort alongside our On-Site Volunteer Supervisors, our Construction Manager, and our families come away with a feeling of accomplishment. They work all day with smiles on their face knowing that in the end, all the work and sweat will have been worth it to see how happy our Habitat families are and how proud they are of their homes!
A little motivational spirit can go a long way, and it helps keep a volunteer team ready to take on our construction process, with or without skills.
Group Leadership That Turns “I Can’t” into “I Can!”
Every group needs a leader that understands motivation, encouragement, and dedication. We usually ask our volunteer teams to establish a group leader that is the main point of contact. This may be a person that inspires you, a person that motivates, or someone that knows the strengths and weaknesses of the team.
A good leader can take a group of unskilled volunteers that have never held a hammer in their life and turn them into a group of individuals that are putting up drywall saying, “yes, I CAN learn a new skill!” The leader doesn’t need to be someone with knowledge of construction, but someone that the groups looks up to and trusts their judgement.
A good leader can mean the difference between spending a lot of time unfocused and not getting as much work done, and staying organized and completing a job in a shorter amount of time.
Some of the most successful groups have what we like to call a “teacher.” This is someone that can watch something and then show others how it is done.
To give an example, we had a local church group work on site and they had one person that understood how to lay block. That one person was able to show the unskilled volunteers which side of a cinder block was the front, how they needed to be laid and where they should be placed. This allowed a group of otherwise unskilled volunteers to lay the foundation of a home in a day.
Before you volunteer with us, ask around in your group and find out if anyone is skilled in construction, or has prior knowledge. The person that steps forward might surprise you!
Ready to Volunteer?
If you’ve read through and think that volunteering with Central Valley Habitat for Humanity is for you, head over to our website and sign-up for volunteer emails. If you have a group already in mind, email our Community Outreach Coordinator Kirsten Lambert at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a work day.
Work days are currently booked until May, but we are scheduling all the way through mid-September right now.
The on-site maximum of volunteers is 15 people, and volunteers must be at least age 16 to work on our construction site on active construction.
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