Volunteering with Good Works
Your group has offered themselves to serve. What follows will give you an idea of what you can expect from serving with Good Works. Please feel free to discuss any possibilities for projects or needs with the Good Works staff member coordinating your group. It is our preference that there not be any surprises for your group regarding the projects in which you will be involved. If there are any changes to the schedule, we will discuss these with you. We want you to be comfortable with what we are assigning to your group.
While you are coming to serve with us and help with some very real needs that we have, completing a project is not our primary goal for you. Instead of coming into this volunteer experience with a mind to accomplish something, come into it with an openness to learn from people in this community. This will have a far more lasting impact on you personally.
When you arrive, we will provide a brief orientation to Good Works for your group. While time constraints will dictate what we discuss in the orientation, we do want to provide you with an idea of who we are and how you fit into this community. Keith Wasserman, the Executive Director for Good Works, enjoys spending time with our visiting groups and may do this orientation. Most often, one of the other staff will do this. Occasionally we can make arrangements for you to get a tour of the Timothy House, our shelter for people without homes in SE Ohio. Please let us know if this is a priority for you. At the very least, we will describe the people you will serve and the projects you will be working on. We want you to know how these are important to Good Works overall vision of service in this community.
Good Works Staff or Interns and Your Group
Your group will be working alongside our staff or interns in some capacity. They have several objectives in their leadership role with your group.
- To facilitate the formation of relationships. Much has been said about this already, but we recognize that there are some people in your group that will be uncomfortable meeting the people we are serving. The staff or intern will seek to help you to get over this hurdle. In most cases they have met the person you are spending time. In some cases the interns are struggling with this themselves. But they have intentionally placed themselves into this uncomfortable role in order to allow God to work in their lives and foster personal growth.
- Generally supervise your project. The staff or intern will provide general oversight of what is happening on the project. We are training them in the types of things that should and should not happen on a project. Please respect their leadership.
- Assist you with any needs you might have in the process of doing the project. We want to make sure that you have the materials and tools needed to accomplish the project. The staff or interns are responsible to make sure this happens. Our goal is to be ready before your group is ready to go. However, inevitably we get onto a project and encounter something we did not expect and must get the needed items.
- Minimize the possibility that someone will get hurt. Safety is a major concern of our staff and interns. They have been trained to identify unsafe situations and interrupt any behavior that might result in someone getting hurt. You will be asked to read “Safety Review Sheets” for the specific equipment you are going to operate. It is not our desire to insult or offend anyone in your group, but to make sure that no one gets hurt.
- To not allow horseplay to get out of hand. While we want your group to have good time, we will not allow a situation where someone could get hurt, equipment will get damaged or resources wasted. We do not consider it appropriate to have a paint fight, splattering paint on people or on property. It is a waste of resources, especially to someone with limited income. Please help us monitor these kinds of things.
In the course of a year Good Works has about 1,000 volunteers serving with us. Every one of these volunteers makes a difference in the life of our community in some way. It is very likely that while you are here as a volunteer, you will be serving with one or more of these other volunteers connected to Good Works. This is not an accident. When possible, we very much like to see our volunteers serve together and discover each other. What follows is a brief description of some of these volunteers.
You will be serving with individuals who have made a long-term commitment to us. They are seeking a growing, educational experience in this ministry. In some cases they may be in supervisory roles. They are providing leadership on a project for your group. They are the connecting point between your group and Good Works. However, they may not necessarily have the skills to do the specific task that has been assigned to you. In these cases, we are counting on the members of your group to provide project leadership. You will most likely have contact with people in the following internships:
Occasionally we will have two groups serving together on the same day. It may be that the first group that signed up was a small group and we felt another small group would work well with them. Often this is church group with us for the day as well. Depending on the make-up of these two groups, we may mix your group members with theirs or keep you separate.
These individuals often volunteer with us once a month. They are not only wanting to make a contribution through a regular commitment, but they are also wanting to connect to a community.
Transformation Station Volunteers
This volunteer opportunity gives people the chance to get a resource they need while also helping someone else. After completing their volunteer time, they are eligible to receive donated vehicles, appliances, furniture, bicycles and food. This gives you a chance to not only help our friends struggling with poverty, but to also serve with them! Some of these individuals have been assigned community service from the courts.
Types of Projects
There are about as many types of projects as there are groups, but we can give you an idea of the type of work you might be doing from the accomplishments of past groups.
Some groups have installed hearths and built storage sheds. Others have done specific construction, electrical and plumbing work in our facilities. Mechanics have worked on our vehicles. Many have helped Good Works by caring for the yards and garden and splitting wood. Other groups have painted, cleaned, moved, and restored parts of our facilities that needed some refurbishing. In the past years volunteers have built:
- The addition onto the Timothy House
- Our Administration Building with a Bed and Breakfast
- A picnic shelter
- A retreat cabin
- Playground areas for children
- A bridge
- The Transformation Station
- The stage for our amphitheater
- Recycling bins
- Hope Center
No doubt you will be building on the work of previous groups. We have found that each group has a unique set of standards in going about their work, as you will also. Each group has sought to do their project to the best of their ability under our leadership. Please respect the efforts of the groups that have gone before you, as you will want others to respect your work.
Neighbors Helping Neighbors is an initiative to help people in our community who are elderly or disabled. We will plan to make this a part of your experience with us. This is an opportunity to meet someone in Athens County while also providing practical assistance to them. Mowing is a common request as many of those we serve are not physically able to do this nor can they afford to pay for it.
We welcome groups of all skill levels. There is much to be done on the facilities and properties requiring general skills that can be easily taught and supervised. We are often in need of groups that are willing to mow lawns, weed gardens, split wood or do light house cleaning.
We are also thankful for those who bring specific skills to serve at Good Works such as floor layers, masons, electricians, plumbers, carpenters, roofers, etc. Please let us know about the skill level of your group and any persons with skills that can be employed on particular specialized projects. These skills are an asset to us and we want to take advantage of them to the extent the individual is willing. We are extremely grateful for those who, working day after day in their fields, share their trade skills with us on a weekend to help us develop this ministry.
As an organization, we can promote the Work Retreat program in two ways. We could promote our need for volunteers by specifically describing the project we need help with. Though sometimes we do this, we generally prefer not to. Since we are a ministry focusing on people and relationships, we feel strongly that starting with the project gets the focus off of these relationships. We want you to come to a community to help people,not to do a project.
Our preference is to promote the ministry of Good Works as a whole. Then we will generally describe the various types of projects that you could be involved with, determining the specific project after we know the skill level of your group. We want to know about you first. Who are you as a community and what do you have to offer our community? What are your goals for your group? As we learn about you, we can then entrust to you the needs of our friends who have sought assistance from us or to assign specific projects on Good Works properties.
This is why the Team Profile is so important to us. This information tells us about you and the unique people that are offering themselves to serve. The more information you provide us, the better we can know you before you come.
Tools and Materials
Most of the tools and equipment owned by Good Works have been donated to us. We do our best to keep our equipment safe and in working order, avoiding those frustrating scenarios of getting onto a project site and having equipment that does not work. Unfortunately, sometimes this does happen. Please be understanding as we try to make the best out of a situation that we would rather did not happen.
We are not able to fund materials needed for Neighbors Helping Neighbors. This may be an area your group could help with while you are with us. If you are interested in making a donation toward materials for Neighbors Helping Neighbors, please let us know as soon as possible. For some people, this makes the difference in getting the project done for them.