Volunteering with Habitat

Volunteers are the heart and backbone of Habitat.

The construction of Habitat homes is accomplished only because of the continuous generosity of our volunteers. Through the collective efforts of community partners, churches, current Habitat homeowners, and other committed volunteers, our Habitat partner families are able to have the gift of their very own homes.

Habitat for Humanity of McLean County welcomes passionate individuals and organizations to join us in our mission to provide safe, decent, affordable housing in our community.

Volunteers of all skill levels, backgrounds, and religions are welcomed!

 

Signing Up To Volunteer Is Easy!

Before you sign up for a volunteer slot, we recommend reading through our expectations and policies below. You might also be interested in reading responses to some volunteering FAQs.

When making your profile via the orange button below, be sure to check any groups, churches, or employers you associate with on the list; this will allow you to sign up for these groups’ specific volunteer opportunities.

Sign up for a build site

Helen Garard, volunteer extraordinare

Over the past year, volunteer Helen Garard has made a big impact with her service to Habitat McLean County. Her initial involvement was when she attended her first Bunco Blitz, the Women Build committee’s annual fundraiser. She had so much fun, it became an annual thing for her, too.

 In July 2021, she started coming out to jobsites with the Women Build team. Instantly, our crew realized she was not scared to learn a new task or to lend a hand where needed. She quickly added skill after skill to her building knowledge.

In January 2022, when build site work was slowing down, she opted to keep herself involved  by volunteering at our ReStore. Garard says the best thing about working at the ReStore is seeing the wide variety of merchandise come in – and getting to help figure out what some of the items are. She’s a loyal customer, too. “Almost every time I volunteer, I come home with something I purchased,” says Garard.

Helen has a curious mind and likes to work with her hands. She was drawn to Habitat because she enjoys learning how things work and come together. She says, “I love it for many reasons, like learning how to build a house the right way. I also enjoy meeting all the new people, and then of course meeting the family and getting to know them while we work together. Patrick [2021 Women Build Partner Family member] has been great, he likes to roll up his sleeves and do anything asked of him. It’s been fun getting to know him.”

When longtime Women Build project director Ashley Clifford wanted to take a break from leading the Saturday volunteer crews, Helen immediately came to mind. We are happy to announce she will be on board as a project director for the 2022 Women Build home. She also joined the Women Build committee as part of the fundraising team.

She has found that volunteering at the build sites, at the ReStore, and now on the Women Build committee offers her lots of options and flexibility for her schedule. “If you are interested at all,” offers Garard,  “definitely do it, because there is no long term commitment. If you come once and like it, you can decide whether to do it again or not. There’s no committement and no pressure to work all the time.”

We are excited to see even more of Helen as we look to start the 2022 Women Build sponsored home at 906 Bryan St in Normal. If you are interested in volunteering on the build site or the ReStore, please reach out to volunteer coordinator Lindsey at lindsey.jarboe@habitatmclean.org or 309-827-3931.

Meet Karen Sutter, ReStore "Librarian"

Karen has been volunteering with Habitat McLean County since October of 2020. She was originally a ReStore frequent shopper. She noticed the book section was often in disarray and thought maybe she could volunteer her time to help. Karen asked the ReStore managers - since books were her hobby and knowledge base - if she could help out in that section.

 

 “The managers were excited,” said Sutter. “No one ever has time to arrange the books, so they were happy to have me.” Now, when you go to the ReStore book section, you might see boxes of books ready for her to sort while she sits in her “throne” (a special chair reserved for her when she organizes).

 

The ReStore accepts most genres of books, but if you are looking to make some donations from your collection, Sutter says that Science Fiction seem to be the most popular sellers and sought-after books. Karen says she prefers mystery books for her own reading – usually involving a murder to be solved.

 

Sutter is retired after 40 years in systems at State Farm. She wanted to spend her time doing something new and found that with the ReStore. She also likes volunteering because she can set her own schedule and still have plenty of time to spend with her 3 grandkids and attend their wide range of activities.

 

“I just love the people that come in and I like answering their questions and helping them find what they’re looking for,” Sutter said. “They are always surprised that the books are only 25 cents, so they usually go run and get some more!” she added.

 

“Habitat (and the ReStore) is a really good non-profit that does a lot of good,” said Sutter. “Everybody is friendly. I enjoy coming here and volunteering in an easy-going environment.”

 

Next time you’re browsing the books, make sure you say hello to Karen.

Thank you, Karen, for all you do for us! 

Expectations

To ensure a great experience for all Habitat volunteers, we ask that all volunteers adhere to the following*:

  • New individual volunteers must register and sign up through our volunteer database‚Äč.

    • Volunteers with any special needs should contact the Volunteer Coordinator.

    • Interested individuals under the age of 18 should consult the Age Restrictions Guidelines (information included below) regarding applicable volunteer opportunities.

  • Volunteers who wish to work as a group will need to contact our Volunteer Coordinator, Lindsey, to schedule a date and location to volunteer. You can reach Lindsey at the Habitat office at 309-827-3931 or lindsey.jarboe@habitatmclean.org.

  • If you are unable to make the day you’ve signed up for to volunteer, please contact Lindsey as soon as possible.

  • Volunteers must dress appropriately for the task. This includes:

    • Clothing appropriate for outside work (expect to get dirty!)

      • Avoid loose/flowing clothing that could catch in equipment used on our sites.

    • No open-toed shoes

    • Tie back long hair

    • Please know that volunteers not dressed properly may be asked to leave.

  • Volunteers should arrive on time for their scheduled build day or volunteer opportunity.

  • Safety is of the utmost importance on build sites and at our ReStore. Volunteers should follow the guidance of the Project Directors, Construction Manager, or Supervisor at all times.

  • Individuals must not be under the influence of alcohol or any illicit drugs while participating in volunteer opportunities.

*In order to provide the best volunteer experience possible, our organization reserves the right to amend or update this policy as needed. 

Weather Policy

Please note that outdoor work is dependent on the weather. In situations where inclement weather may arise, safety is always our first priority. We only cancel/reschedule when we are absolutely compelled to do so, and should this occur with your build, we appreciate your understanding and flexibility.

 

If the weather looks questionable for construction the morning of your workday, please check the email you sign up with for a cancelation notice. If we determine we must cancel construction, we will post a notice on our Homepage and on our Facebook page.

 

We will not work/build in the following conditions:

  • Temperature is under 25 degrees, factoring in wind chill

  • Temperature is over 95 degrees, factoring in heat index

  • Snowing, raining or thundering/lightning

  • NOTE: If the weather becomes hazardous during the build shift, we will suspend building activities.

 

Once a home is closed in and heated, indoor work will continue rain or shine. In all cases, please use your personal discretion to determine if it is safe for you to leave your home and travel to the build site.

Age Restrictions

For the safety of all volunteers, the following restrictions apply to any volunteers under the age of 18:

Ages 15 and Under

  • We are not able to allow volunteers under the age of 16 on our build sites. Please contact our Volunteer Coordinator, Lindsey Jarboe, at Lindsey.Jarboe@habitatmclean.org or 309-827-3931 for information on youth volunteer opportunities.

Ages 16-17

  • Must be supervised at a 1-adult-to-3-youth ratio

  • Must submit a Volunteer Release & Waiver of Liability form via our volunteer portal, with a parent or legal guardian, prior to performing any volunteer activity

  • Can assist with general construction/carpentry

    • Must not work on/with excavation, demolition or power tools

    • Must not work at heights or on the roof (includes climbing on ladders and scaffolding)  

 

REMINDER: Those under the age of 18 will still need to submit a Volunteer Release & Waiver of Liability form via our voluteer portal, with a parent or legal guardian, prior to the volunteer date!