Before I took part in my A Brush with Kindness volunteering event with Habitat for Humanity, I stopped by their NYC corporate office to meet with their volunteering team. I was keen to find out more about their A Brush with Kindness program, and also what it is like to volunteer for them. Today, I wanted to share what I learned from the Habitat for Humanity team in the hope that if you are thinking about volunteering this might help you understand how you too can volunteer for Habitat for Humanity.
Many of you may know this, but I learnt that Habitat for Humanity is an international organization that operates through local chapters across the world, all of which are local, self-run, not for profit organizations. I think this is great as they have the support of an international organization yet they can also be adaptive to local needs. NYC has very specific housing needs and building homes in NYC is very different than other places in the USA and the world. In fact, Habitat for Humanity NYC have just started their biggest project ever in the city, which is very unique: a 50-unit housing project.
One of my main takeaways from speaking to the HFH team was that you don’t have to dive into volunteering on a full build construction project to start off with. Many people, myself included, can be intimidated by full-scale construction! That’s where the Habitat for Humanity A Brush with Kindness project comes in. A Brush with Kindness projects are all about giving a fresh coat of paint and some TLC to public spaces or areas that are run down. For example, A Brush with Kindness have painted and made over community centers and shared public spaces in multiple New York City Housing Authority properties.
This is especially great for younger people as A Brush with Kindness projects mean that volunteers as young as 14 can get involved, compared to 18 for most Habitat for Humanity projects. Also, A Brush with Kindness projects are great for those new to volunteering because these projects are really well managed. Each A Brush with Kindness project is led by an experienced lead who has been involved in many of the projects before. Plus, Habitat for Humanity provide all the materials, tools and training needed to volunteer. All volunteers have to do is commit a day of their time to help out.
Habitat for Humanity NYC has a simple online sign up system which makes it super easy for anyone to get involved. There are no paper forms to fill in, volunteers just need to visit this website and register their profile. Then, they can sign up for events online and complete all the necessary forms and details online saving time on the volunteering day.
I am so excited to be part of one of the A Brush with Kindness projects here in the city! I am going to be helping bring some color and fresh coat of paint to a public housing community center in the Lower East Side of NYC, and hope also to have festive surprises along the way. I was shocked to learn that NYC has some of the lowest volunteering rates in the country so I hope this post prompts some of my lovely readers here in the city (and beyond!) to get involved with your community. Oh, and remember that the Neighborhood of Good® website is the perfect place to start your search. My friends at State Farm created the portal and it makes it super easy for you find opportunities and local organizations that are looking for help. So, why not get a head start on those New Years resolutions and get involved in something this holiday season! You can read more about getting involved in volunteering in my volunteering series here on the blog.