Volunteering is an activity that leaves you with a feeling of accomplishment. Whether you are building something, doing people-to-people volunteering, or even donating goods, giving back always leaves you feeling uplifted.
There are many excellent ways to get involved with your community—and volunteering with Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity is one option that presents a lot of different opportunities based on your interests. If you are a hands-on type of person, participating in a homebuilding project such as Women Build or the House that Built Beer would be a great option for you. If you still want to give back but feel your skills would be applied better elsewhere, consider volunteering with ReStore, with locations in Minneapolis and New Brighton.
The best part? No experience is necessary! In fact, the less experience you have going into a Twin Cities Habitat project, the more you might glean from it.
Take Cindy Zoul for example. Cindy has been volunteering her time at many organizations throughout her life and has been a steady participant at Twin Cities Habitat build sites.
While giving back to her community was always a focal point for Cindy, her involvement with Twin Cities Habitat really took off once her son, Zackary, became a Site Supervisor. Now, about once or twice a year Cindy works alongside her son on a home-building project—once she even built with him in the Dominican Republic!
Cindy began volunteering at homebuilding sites with a background in painting. Cindy shared that “there are usually various projects going on at one time, and you'll be able to choose what you would like to work on. So, as a person who has painted their own home, my default early on would be painting because that was what I was comfortable with.”
Learning New Skills as a Habitat Volunteer
As Cindy became more comfortable on sites, she began swapping her paintbrush for a hammer or screwdriver. “You stretch your own boundaries a little bit and start doing things that you might not have thought you could do,” Cindy remarked.
Over the years, and thanks to the fantastic site supervisors and knowledge of other volunteers, Cindy began working on projects that she had never dreamed of doing before. Learning new skills in an encouraging environment is just one of the many drivers for volunteers.
“One day we put sheetrock up in the ceiling. That was interesting for me—I had never done that before!” Not only did Cindy help with putting it up, but she and the other volunteers had to work together to best apply everyone’s skills to get the job done.
“You've got to figure out how to make the project work. You know, who will cut the holes, who holds up what, that sort of thing.”
Of course, volunteers are not putting up sheetrock without any guidance or instruction; rather, site supervisors, who are well-versed in building, spend the beginning of each volunteer day going over safety rules.
“You'll introduce yourself to the group. Then the site supervisors will give a safety intro. I appreciate that there's a lot of built-in instruction at the beginning. It also helps you understand what your day will look like and makes sure everybody's comfortable with the jobs they will be helping with.”
Through all the projects Cindy has helped on, one thing has remained constant: volunteers and supervisors alike are always inviting and friendly.
She recalls one build site where a group came in from a business for a team-building project. They all worked well together, and when the team gathered for a group picture at the end of the day, they insisted that Cindy be a part of the photo, too. It’s special moments like these that enhance each volunteer experience.
“Love for service is evident within everybody on site. Who doesn't want to be part of something where you can work alongside such kind people from all different walks of life?”
Cindy also shared, “Even if you volunteer one to three times a year, it's an amazing experience. It certainly will inspire you to do more work with Twin Cities Habitat, as well as do more with every part of your life.”
However you decide to get involved with your community can make a lasting impact. If you are interested in volunteering with Twin Cities Habitat for the first time or are a returning volunteer, check out our upcoming opportunities listed here. As Cindy said, even volunteering one day a year makes a huge difference in our lives and the lives of neighbors in our community.