Who Volunteers for Habitat?
People of all ages ? business people, craftspeople, lawyers, architects, accountants, plumbers, carpenters, college students, exchange students, vacationers, faith communities, service groups, retirees ? in other words, a cross-section of the population. Retirees are a special resource and often work during the week or parts of the year, depending on their schedules. We also recruit skilled volunteers to be team leaders and supervisors. Volunteers are needed for construction and also for non-construction work.
Do I need to be skilled?
No, you do not need to be skilled – just willing to learn! Our team leaders and site supervisors will give you instruction on the job. You may wish to look at Habitat for Humanity University’s online Residential Construction Basics.
What is my time commitment?
You must commit to a whole day (from 9am-4pm on Saturday and 12-4pm on Sunday). If you know you can only commit to 4 hours, please register for a Sunday work party.
What kind of job will I be doing?
It depends on your skills, where we are in the project, and the weather.
How do I sign up to volunteer?
After you have completed an orientation, you can sign up for any open slots using VolunteerUP.
Do any groups or individuals have priority as volunteers?
Yes, Habitat families working on their sweat equity are always accommodated at the site. Also groups from organizations which fund or sponsor a house are given priority.
How do I schedule a group team build?
Do so as far in advance as possible. Group leaders MUST attend a volunteer orientation. During certain seasons, there is a high demand for weekend dates. Weather and the schedules of skilled professionals may delay or alter the proposed schedule, so volunteers need to be flexible. Please contact the office to schedule a group team build day.
How many can be in a group?
To ensure that our sites do not become overcrowded, GROUPS ARE ASKED TO SIGN UP WITH NO MORE THAN 7 MEMBERS. This includes adults for youth groups. Groups that wish to bring more people must check with the PVH office first.
How can youth groups be involved?
We welcome youth groups who are prepared to work hard and learn. We require adequate adult supervision (21+, around 3 or 4 youths per adult) while the group is on site. We encourage youth to work on Sundays – this is a shorter day (12-4pm). Please note: our insurance policy requires youth to be at least 14 years of age; the law prevents 14 and 15 year olds from working with any power tools and being on ladders higher than themselves. This age group should expect to perform light duties. Youth aged 16 and 17 can perform general construction, but not use cutting power tools or be on roofs. Other volunteer opportunities offsite are available for young people ages 5-14. All youth (14-17) must bring a waiver signed by their parents or legal guardians, and all youth under 18 must be accompanied by a responsible adult. If you are the leader of a group of young people (ages 14 through 17) coming to a Habitat site, please read the statement of expectations for these groups.
Am I insured when I’m on the site?
Habitat requests that all volunteers come to the site with their own health insurance. Pioneer Valley Habitat for Humanity carries limited insurance coverage for on-site volunteers. You must sign in daily to be covered, however. It is your responsibility and that of the construction supervisor to make sure you sign in as soon as you arrive at the site.
Will I be safe on site?
Safety is everyone’s responsibility. We all need to be safety-conscious and follow the supervisor’s directions. We provide appropriate safety equipment and will ask anyone behaving in an unsafe manner to leave the work site. We maintain a drug-free work site. You will not be asked to do what is inherently unsafe or what you feel uncomfortable doing.
Can I bring my child?
Children under 14 are not permitted on the site during construction. One member of a group, however, may elect to provide child care offsite for other members of a group. All youth must have a waiver signed by parents and have a responsible adult present.
What clothes should I wear?
Please wear sensible clothing and footwear. Be sure to bring work gloves. We will supply hard hats where needed. Regardless of the season, you may be working outside, so please dress appropriately. Boots and warm, layered clothes are recommended in the winter. Shorts and tennis shoes are usually acceptable in the summer.
What about food, comfort stations and tools?
Unless advised otherwise, please bring your own food and drink; groups sometimes cater their own lunch. There is an on-site lavatory. Feel free to bring your own tool belt or simple hand tools. Do not bring power tools. Habitat always has tools for volunteers’ use.
Why are work dates cancelled?
Extreme cold or heat may cause us to cancel a work day. Also, unforeseen circumstances may come up in the construction process which are beyond our control (not getting a permit on time, a contractor may be delayed in the work they’re doing). We do our best to anticipate potential problems like this and to give volunteers ample warning of cancellations. However there are times when we must cancel a work day at short notice and we apologize for this.
How can I get publicity for my group?
You may take photographs at the site. Feel free to wear promotional clothing or bring a banner publicizing your group.
What other volunteer opportunities are available besides building?
- Data entry
- Help in the office
- Work on fundraisers
- Help at events
- Help with families
- Recruit other volunteers
- Work with faith communities
- Assist volunteers with child care
- Other off-site projects