Can I just show up?
No. You need to preregister by contacting Volunteer Coordinators Carolynn and Joanne at: volunteer(at)columbiacountyhabitat.org.
When should I arrive and when may I leave?
The work day introductions and a safety review start at 8:30 a.m. Please arrive at the job site 15 minutes before that so we can begin on time. The workday ends about 3:30 p.m. A full day’s commitment is expected.
Where is the work site?
The work site is in Valatie at 3049 Main Street, at the corner of New Street. On-street parking is available, subject to local parking rules. Carpooling, if an option, is preferred.
What should I do when I arrive?
Look for the Habitat board member on duty and sign in. If you haven’t completed a liability waiver for the current build season, you’ll be asked to do so. Board members will be wearing name badges to identify themselves.
Do I have to sign a liability waiver?
Yes. Habitat for Humanity requires that every volunteer, without exception, must sign a liability waiver agreeing to take personal responsibility for accidents or injuries on the work site. The form covers the entire build season so that you need to sign only one waiver even though you volunteer on multiple days.
Who’s in charge on the work site?
Don Hills is the Construction Manager for the Valatie build, and John Livingston is the Site Supervisor. They decide what happens, assisted by crew leaders, who are there to help manage the day’s work and answer any questions you may have.
What should I wear?
Dress in work clothing, including comfortable closed-toe shoes (you will be on your feet most of the day) and bring work gloves if you have them (we provide gloves if not). Also dress appropriately for the weather. Even if the buildings are closed to weather, they’re minimally heated. During the winter months, dress in multiple warm layers.
What work will I be doing?
Your involvement depends on the stage and progress of construction, both unpredictable. The work you’ll be asked to do will be well within your abilities. It may be something you already know how to do, or it may be a new skill that we teach you.
How hard will the work be?
In terms of expertise, the work is not difficult. It’s designed to be done by volunteers without any previous experience in home construction. In terms of exertion, construction can be physically demanding. You’ll be on your feet for extended periods of time. However, you’ll never be asked to perform a task that makes you uncomfortable.
Do I need to bring my own tools?
All tools and safety equipment (goggles, hard hats, etc.) will be provided. If you prefer your own tools, you may bring them. To avoid confusion, label them with your name.
What about lunch?
The lunch break isn’t long enough to leave the work site, so please bring a bag lunch. There’s a midmorning break around 10 a.m. with coffee and donuts. Water is provided throughout the day.
Do we work rain or shine?
Rain cancellations depend on the work to be performed. We’ll advise you in advance by email or telephone when weather or other reasons might affect your build day. You’ll be contacted only in the event of a cancellation; otherwise assume the work continues. Until the roof covers the building, rain is a threat. Once the buildings are closed to weather, work continues rain or shine.
What should I do if an emergency prevents me from working?
Please let us know as soon as you can. We schedule volunteers to keep the work flowing. If you fail to come, it has implications for the entire build schedule. So please do your best to be there.
Can teens volunteer?
Because of insurance requirements for a safe work environment, construction volunteers must be at least 16 years old. Teens (16–17) may volunteer if they obtain a waiver consented to and signed by both parents.
Can I volunteer with my friends?
We encourage people to volunteer in groups because of the camaraderie they bring to the work site. You can be a part of as many groups as you like. For example, you can volunteer with coworkers, as part of a church group, and with your bowling league. Just contact Volunteer Coordinators Carolynn and Joanne (see contact information below) to make the arrangements.
Who should I call if I have a question?
Our Volunteer Coordinators are Carolynn and Joanne. You can reach them by emailing us via our Contact Page.
If your question doesn’t concern volunteering, you can call the Habitat office at 518.828.0892.
Thank you very much for volunteering.
Working alongside our partner families, we’ll help them build strong, safe, independent lives through Habitat home ownership.