Volunteer Orientation

Step 1: Mission Statement & Video

MISSION STATEMENT

Seeking to put God’s love into action, Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter brings people together to build homes, communities and hope.

OUR STRUCTURE & HISTORY:

We are a locally run non-profit organization. We are one of nearly 1,800 affiliates of Habitat for Humanity International. Our local affiliate was organized in 1989, and built it first home in 1990. Since then we have built or renovated over 200 homes in Lake-Sumter Counties!

OUR PHILOSOPHY:

No matter who we are or where we come from, we all deserve to have a decent life. We deserve to feel strength and stability day after day. We deserve to know we have the power to take care of ourselves and build our own futures. At Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter, this is what unites us. Through shelter, we empower. Habitat’s all over the world have a shared vision of a world where everyone has a decent place to live. Because you, me, we — we’re all humans. And every single one of us deserves the opportunity for a better future.

OUR PARTNERS:

We partner with families, donors and volunteers from all religions, races and ethnic backgrounds. Each year we rely upon over 600 volunteers to build houses, to work in our thrift stores, to assist in our office, and to work on various supportive projects.

OUR FUNDING:

We rely on donations from individuals, businesses, churches, and community groups. Revenue from our ReStores is one of our largest sources of funding, furthering access and opportunity to affordable housing solutions in our hometown.

OUR HOUSES:

Habitat houses are sold to families in need of decent, affordable housing at no profit. The family pays an affordable mortgage on their new home for roughly 20-30 years and Habitat uses the revenue from the mortgages to finance future builds. House costs are kept low through donor support and volunteer labor.

OUR FAMILIES:

To qualify to become Habitat homeowners applicant families invest their own labor – sweat equity – into building houses and doing other volunteer work for Habitat. Families are chosen based on their level of need, their willingness to become partners in the program, and their ability to repay a affordable mortgage.


Step 2: Read Our Volunteer Guidelines

Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter would like to you be fully prepared on the worksite. Please review the following important information pertaining to you and your work on the construction site.

Workday Schedule:

Work schedules and volunteer construction site needs vary depending on the time of year and pace of construction. A typical workday is from 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM, with a half-hour break for lunch (12-12:30).

Tools:

All necessary tools will be provided. If you have a favorite hard hat, hammer, tool belt or work gloves, please feel free to bring them. No power tools please.

Clothing:

Please dress appropriately for both the nature of the work as well as the weather. We recommend that you wear work boots, clothes that you don’t mind tearing or staining, a hat and sunscreen. Jeans and a t-shirt are typical volunteer attire. No open-toed shoes, sandals, crocs or heels! It is recommended that you leave valuables like purses, watches and jewelry at home. Work on Habitat construction sites goes on rain or shine. If the weather is bad, the work will move indoors and will continue as scheduled. Feel free to bring a rain coat. In the event of extreme weather, contact the Volunteer Coordinator for information regarding possible cancellations.

On-Site Provisions:

Habitat will provide water coolers, toilets, construction materials and work supervision. Volunteers must bring their own lunch and provide for their own transportation. Safety: Habitat is a drug and alcohol free work environment. Possession, use or distribution of controlled substances or alcohol is prohibited on any work site and in connection with any other Habitat program. For your safety, we do not allow volunteers to ride on any Habitat vehicles. It is important that our volunteers be able to hear what’s going on around them. Please do not bring any radios/CD players, or headsets of any kind (including iPods). They will not be allowed on the worksite.

Age of Volunteers:

Volunteering can be a great experience for young people. However, it is appropriate that all youth volunteers have proper supervision, and remain safe on the work site. All volunteers aged 16 to 17 must be accompanied by an adult 21 years or older. One adult is required for groups of up to five youth volunteers (1 adult per 5 youth volunteers). Youth volunteers are also required to have a permission/waiver signed by a parent or guardian prior to working on site. Volunteers aged 14-15 can participate on landscaping days. If you give us your e-mail address, we will let you know when the next Landscaping Day will be. Unfortunately, volunteers under the age of 14 are not allowed on the construction site. But don’t worry, there’s always work to be done. Just contact our Volunteer Coordinator to find out about other volunteer opportunities.

Community Service Hours:

Volunteers desiring credit for Community Service hours are welcome. Please contact Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter for approval prior to registering. Each Community Service worker is responsible for having the site supervisor sign their Community Service Log Sheet each day.

No publicity of any kind is permitted without the express permission of Habitat, and no media is allowed on the site without prior permission.

Habitat cannot be responsible for personal items lost or stolen on a work site. So be sure to leave important items, such as jewelry, watches or purses at home.


Step 3: Watch Safety Orientation Video

HABITAT CONSTRUCTION SAFETY TIPS

Safety is everyone’s concern:

Try to be conscious of the safety of others as well as yourself. If you see a dangerous situation, speak up. If you are not sure how to proceed with a project, ask questions. Many of our volunteers have little construction experience, and we need to help each other. Never put yourself or others at risk. A first aid kit is in the tool trailer. In an emergency, call 911. Drink lots of water!

Ask for whatever protective items you need:

Hard hat, safety goggles, dust mask, ear plugs, or gloves. When people are working above you, you must wear a hard hat.

A word of caution from Habitat for Humanity International to senior volunteers:

Older volunteers should not work from heights, work alone, carry heavy loads, or perform other tasks that require a lot of upper body strength.

Inspect hand tools:

Make sure they are free from dirt and oil, and sharp enough for the job. Check for loose handles. Find out the best way to use them. Carry sharp tools pointed downward.

Use power tools carefully:

Find out how to use them safely. Check the tool, its cord, the extension cord, and plug for any dirt or defects.

Be especially careful with power saws:

Power saws can bind and result in a severe kick back. Support what you are working on properly – never attempt to cut something that could tilt or fall and cause the saw to slip. A spring-actuated blade guard often can become bent and won’t slide quickly, or the spring can become stretched so the return is slow. Alert the site supervisor to any needed repairs. Never tie the blade guard back out of the way. Keep your fingers away from the blade! You must wear safety goggles or tempered eye glasses when using the power saw or when assisting someone who is.

Be careful with ladders:

Make sure the ladder has the proper slope of one foot of horizontal slope for every four feet of height. Check for defective rungs, and test the ladder to make sure it is secure at the top and bottom. In sandy soil use scrap lumber to stabilize the ladder. Put your tools in a tool belt to keep both hands free for climbing, and never leave your tools unattended on top of the ladder. Never lean both shoulders away from the ladder. Keep metal ladders away from electrical lines!

Roofs are dangerous:

No one in poor health should go up on the roof. Move about very carefully. Don’t let your hammer slide off the roof. Scrape sand off your shoes before you start up the ladder. Do not work on a wet roof.

Clutter leads to accidents:

Help maintain a clean work area. Pick up nails and other sharp items. Please put tools away when you are not using them so that no one steps on them or trips over them. Always watch your step.

Heavy lifting can injure your back:

Don’t do it! Ask the site supervisor for help.


Step 4: Individuals

Now that you have completed the orientation process, you can sign up to volunteer with us. Please visit our registration page for more information.


Step 5: Groups

Volunteer groups of five or more should designate a leader to serve as their primary contact. Our Director of Volunteer Services, Carlos Beron, will give the group leader all the necessary information for their volunteer experience. Please visit our registration page for more information.