Flower City Habitat for Humanity Rochester, NY    

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Construction Volunteer/Youth Participation Committee
 

Construction volunteers are the lifeblood of every Habitat project.  Your faith-based Coalition should send no more than six (6) volunteers per day to work on your project Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday.
 
We reserve all build site spaces on Fridays to help us recruit new house sponsors. If you cannot fill your build spaces please let us know and we will utilize these spaces with outside volunteers.
 
The chair of the Construction Volunteer/Youth Participation Committee is the primary contact between the committee and Habitat for volunteer scheduling. This allows for streamlined communication with one person in your Coalition and our Volunteer Coordinator.
 
Please provide the volunteer schedule via email two weeks in advance for every week of the project. Should things change between the initial email to us and the build date itself, please inform our Volunteer Coordinator as soon as you know the change. We may be able to help fill in volunteer slots where needed.
 
When submitting your volunteer schedule to Habitat, please provide a name and phone number for every volunteer so Habitat can contact them if needed.
 
Any questions that your Coalition’s Volunteer Coordinator may have can be directed to Tiffany, we encourage you to call upon us with questions or issues that come up as we work through your projects build schedule.
 
Where possible please involve the youth of your Coalition in your build project! This helps them to learn why your community has chosen to do this project and the importance of Habitat for Humanity’s mission in our local community. 

Responsibilities of the Volunteer/Youth Participation Committee:

·         Recruit, schedule, and confirm construction volunteers
·         Educate volunteers about the project and its progress
·         Prepare construction volunteers, so that they have a great experience on site
·         Maintain a master schedule and volunteer records 

Fulfilling these responsibilities efficiently will require the development of materials and procedures as described in the sections that follow.
 
Cover Letter
Your cover letter will be one of your primary recruiting tools.  It should be designed to provide background on Habitat for Humanity International and FCHH; information about your coalition project;
and motivation to build!
 
Volunteer Sign Up Form
You’ll want to create a basic volunteer sign up form that works for your Coalition. Provide space for the following information: name, address, phone number and e-mail address, date/s volunteer is available to work.  This can be sent with the cover letter to anyone you’re seeking support from.
 
Youth Volunteers
NYS Child Labor Laws and Habitat for Humanity International prohibit youth under the age of 16 from working on a construction site.  A signed Parental Permission Form is required for 16 and 17 year-old volunteers and must be provided to the FCHH Volunteer Coordinator 48 hours in advance of their scheduled day on site. Click here to download a Parental Permission Form.  
 
This form must be completed in its entirety and can be returned to the Habitat office via mail, fax (585-546-1549).  
 
Confirmation Materials
Each volunteer must be provided with a confirmation email from your Coalition informing them of the details of working on our site. This will be provided to your Coalition’s Volunteer Coordinator by the Volunteer Coordinator at FCHH. 
 
This email will include information such as the build site address and a corresponding map(provided by FCHH), what to wear and bring, reporting time and a draft schedule of the day’s activities. 
 
We would prefer that you personalize the materials provided to you by the FCHH Volunteer Coordinator with any details specific to your build project and distribute these uniformly to scheduled volunteers within one week of their build date.
 
Volunteers may already be nervous and anxious about the construction work, driving into the inner-city, getting lost, etc.  Suggest carpooling if possible to reduce parking problems at the site and enhance a volunteer's experience. Our goal is to work with you to provide a great volunteer experience to your volunteers, if there are things that you need from us to help with that, please contact our Volunteer Coordinator.
 
Master Calendar
The chair of the Construction Volunteer Committee must maintain a master calendar listing the volunteer workers signed up for each workday.  You may keep this calendar in the format you prefer.
 
The Communications Committee can use this calendar to advertise when more workers are needed. Potential volunteers will need to be able to access open dates in some way to find a date that works with their schedules as well.
 
Sign Up Procedure
Your committee will develop a sign up procedure with which everyone is comfortable.  Here are some suggestions:
 
·         Complete a confirmation form for each volunteer, including the day of the week, date, and time the volunteer has signed up to work.
·         Add the volunteer's name, phone number, and congregation to the Master Calendar.
·         Communicate the confirmation form and map to the volunteer one to two weeks in advance of their date.  
 
Suggestions for Recruiting Volunteers
We suggest distributing the cover letter and a sign up form to everyone in your congregation, but it is up to your congregation to decide how it will recruit volunteers for your Coalition.
You are free to handle this however you see fit. Here are two suggestions that have worked for other Coalitions:
1.      Post calendars in a prominent place in the church with a phone number/email address listed to call for further information.
2.      Set up a table after services to encourage volunteers to sign up.
 
Remember, you are more likely to recruit volunteers by personally asking them for their help!
 
You may want to encourage your most physically able individuals to volunteer early in the project, when the work is most strenuous.
 
Don't forget to recruit from: church staff, call Habitat project committees, any other committees and groups in your congregation or related community volunteers/groups.
 
Determine how the work dates will be filled:
How to equitably divide workdays between churches is up to each coalition. Once you decide which system to use, be consistent throughout the project.  Once the schedule has been formulated, please disperse to Coalition partners. As a congregation, please work with your internal volunteer coordinator or the Coalition Volunteer Coordinator to fill all volunteer spaces designated for your build project.
 
It is recommended that each workday has ne or two alternates to fill in as needed.  Over the course of the three-month build, some volunteers will come just once, while others may be frequent participants.  You may wish to set aside specific dates for clergy and/or church staff to work together.  
 
Half-day volunteering is ONLY available on Tuesdays.
Volunteers are expected to work from 8:45AM - 4:00PM Wednesdays - Saturdays. If your volunteers can only volunteer for half a day, please have them sign-up on Tuesdays when shifts run from Noon - 4pm. We DO NOT have any morning only half-days.
 
Other Information about Youth Participation:
 
Activities for Children
The following are ideas for lessons and questions that can help teach the children of your Coalition about why you’re building a home with us:
·         Habitat for Humanity, its history, mission and goal.
·         Poverty housing, its effect on people's lives and neighborhoods.
·         Why our community is building a Habitat home?
·         What does having a nice place to live mean to you?
 
Ideas for projects that can be incorporated into childrens lessons:
·         Drawings and explanations about their homes
·         Craft-stick houses
·         Drawings on cloth squares that are made into a wall hanging, hung in the community center, and presented to the homeowner at the dedication.
 
Several coalitions have held children's logo design contests.  A panel picked the winner and the winning design was used on their T-shirts.  The child who designed the logo was given a free T-shirt.
 
Children can decorate shingles for a cardboard house.  Add a shingle for every square foot of the house that is sponsored.
 
Children can select items from the list of "Materials Used in a Habitat House that Cost Less than $5.00", work to raise funds, and "purchase" that item for the house.  One elementary school purchased 362 cement blocks which was enough to build half the basement walls of the sponsored house!  They visited the site in a school bus to see the blocks being laid.
 
Children can collect back-to-school supplies for a Habitat family.  Click here to learn more about our annual School Supplies Drive.
 
There can be many opportunities for children to be a part of this project with their parents and teachers.  
 
Teen Involvement
We’re always glad when teens are educated about Habitat through their Coalitions. We’ve found that keeping the youth minister at your congregation informed of the project may help to get teens involved. 
 
One teen group solicited donations of small trees and plants, and they planted them in cooperation with the future homeowner. Another group solicited sponsors and staged a Habitat Walk through their town.
 
A group of children or teens might be interested in serving lunch to volunteers on the construction site.  (Be aware that other volunteers, homeowners and homeowner families may also be working there that day.)
 
They can also become a ‘Fan’ of Flower City Habitat on Facebook or help to start a Habitat Club at their school!
 

 

Flower City Habitat for Humanity
755 Culver Road | Rochester, NY 14609
Tel: 585.546.1470 | Fax: 585.546.1549
habitat@rochesterhabitat.org

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