What's it Like to Volunteer for COVER?

Submitted a year ago
Created by
Katie Donovan

I Gave My Time, But They Gave Me So Much More...

Volunteering for COVER has been a memorable and rewarding experience.  I've summed up my experiences so you know what it's like if you want to volunteer your time too.  You can read a more detailed play by play of what it was like on both experiences on my blog post here.

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Finding the Location

Give yourself extra time to find the location.  You'll be looking for the COVER truck.  Depending on the location will determine if you have to park on the street or in a driveway because you are doing work at person's house.  The work gets started at 9 am.  

Experience Not Necessary - Be Ready to Learn

The crew leader and Americorp volunteer will provide an overview of the project and what you will be doing.  You could find yourself painting, hammering nails, carrying construction materials, using an impact driver to screw together pieces of wood, cleaning items that will go into the home (cabinet/sink), or find yourself on the roof to help repair it.  You can find more information about the projects on their volunteer schedule.  I'm sure you could email or contact them for more specific information about the project if you wanted it too.

If you have a willing heart and a desire to learn, COVER is the place to be.  You'll leave the day feeling you learned a lot about construction and ready to tackle another project and use your new skills to help more people.  I know I learned about all the requirements that go into a ramp, how to make the frame and make sure it's level, and how to support it in the ground: an enlightening process for sure!

Already have experience?  Awesome!  They love to have volunteers skilled in the field of construction: carpenters, plumbers, electricians, etc.  

You need to 16 to work on site and 18 to use power tools.  They'll show you how to use power tools too!  I was scared at first but now I feel safe and confident after working with COVER. 

Hands On Learning with Patient and Knowledgeable Teachers

You'll never feel lost or alone on the job with COVER.  They won't tell you to do a task and just leave you to it if you don't understand.  The crew leaders will teach you how to use the tools, perform the task, and walk you through the process every step of the way, modeling the process for you.  They give you feedback as you practice then you leave you to it when you feel ready.  If you make a mistake, no problem.  It can be fixed.  They'll show you how to problem solve on the job.  

Always Busy - Feeling of Success Guaranteeed

You're never bored working for COVER.  They select the perfect amount of volunteers they need to be able to complete the job and have a lot to do.  There a variety of tasks to do at each job and you can have options sometimes too.  Someone may want to paint while another person may want to help build a frame. I always felt so accomplished after each main part of the project was done, thinking: "Wow, I helped build that."   

A Day of Work and Lots to Gain

Volunteers love working for COVER.  You can read their comments here.  The skills you learn you can even apply to your own home improvement projects.  Below I've included a video from COVER's site of someone sharing how much they enjoyed their experience volunteering.

Ending the Day Feeling Full

On the job you eat lunch as a team with the home owner, who will provide the lunch.  Conversation is relaxed and I always enjoy learning about the home owner and sharing life stories.  You'll leave the work day with more than just a full stomach, a full heart.  When you volunteer for COVER you don't just build something, you make a difference.  Home owners really appreciate the gift you give them: independence. I love Beverly Daigle's comment that she didn't want the volunteers to leave because they were such a great bunch of people and she liked having people around.  A lot of the people COVER serve are people who live alone, so having people around really makes their day.  You can hear about Beverly Daigle's experience and what COVER meant to her below.

Want to Try?

There are projects every Thursday - Saturday from 9 am to 4 pm.  Projects are outlined in detail on their website for about three weeks, but you can sign up for a date beyond that if you wish and go on whatever project is slated for that day.  Sign up alone, bring a friend, go with friends or as a family, or sign up with an organization or church group you're a part of.  You can even help in the winter for weatherization and other indoor projects. 

Not really into construction or looking for a different type of volunteering? You can also volunteer at the store. This can be during the week or on the weekend for a few hours or all day.  Tasks can include: painting, cleaning, organizing, or customer service.

Upcoming projects from COVER's website include:

June 15 Thurs. and Fri. 9 am - 4 pm

1 volunteer needed each day to help make room for an infant being fostered in Woodstock, VT.

June 22 Thurs., Fri., and Sat. 9 am to 4 pm

Thurs. 2 volunteers, Fri. 5 volunteers, Sat. 4 volunteers to help work on a roof and repair skirting on mobile home in Randolph, VT.

June 29 Thurs. and Fri. 9 am - 4 pm

Thurs. 3 volunteers, Fri. 2 volunteers to work on a roof in Springfield, VT. 

Contact Mary Sutton-Smith at (802) 296-7241 x 104 or email at volunteer@coverhomerepair.org to sign up.


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