Handymand? Handywoman? These 20 Charities Need Your Skills
In the spirit of the holiday season, we thought we would devote some space on our blog to helping others.
There are thousands of great charities and nonprofit organizations around America doing great work and who thrive on donations from the community. But donations don’t necessarily need to be in check form; sometimes, it’s even more beneficial when a person can donate time, skills and energy to an effort.
Below are 20 charities that are actively seeking volunteers who are handy at building and repairing. These organizations are building and rebuilding homes for veterans and families in need, they are rebuilding communities on the Gulf Coast and in New Jersey, and they are enlivening public spaces such as parks and hiking trails.
If you are a handyman or handywoman, and you would like to help someone else this holiday season (or any other time of the year), consider volunteering for any of the following efforts.
And if you're just getting into the handyman or handywoman scene, and want some pointers, be sure to check out some blogs on DIY home improvements such as garage floor coatings and garage organization.
Americans Helping Americans
Americans Helping Americans was founded in 1990 to help impoverished communities nationwide, particularly those communities that often get overlooked. Many of their current efforts focus on rehabilitating homes throughout Appalachia.
How to help: To learn about AHA’s current volunteering opportunities, get in touch through this page and be sure to include an email address to which they can reply.
All Hands Volunteers
All Hands gives immediate support to communities around the world “with maximum impact and minimum bureaucracy.” That is to say the organization values energy and commitment. Current opportunities for volunteers include projects in Detroit, in Colorado, and in the Philippines.
How to help: Go to this page for more information on volunteering.
Habitat For Humanity
Habitat is probably the best-known organization where a person with trade skills such as carpentry, plumbing, or roofing can make a difference. There are scores of local Habitat chapters, and volunteer opportunities across the country are numerous.
How to help: Go here to find volunteering opportunities in your area.
Homes For Our Troops
Homes For Our Troops builds specially equipped homes for injured veterans. “Most of these veterans are multiple amputees, paraplegic, quadriplegic or have suffered severe traumatic brain injury (TBI),” the organization’s site reads. “These homes restore some of the freedom and independence our veterans sacrificed defending ours, and enable them to focus on their family, recovery, and rebuilding their lives.”
How to help: Homes For Our Troops lists upcoming building events and whom those are for on its website, so go to this page and check out events scheduled for your area.
Operation Finally Home
Operation Finally Home has a similar goal to Homes For Our Troops in that its efforts result in brand-new, mortgage-free homes for disabled veterans as well as widows of fallen soldiers. “We bring together corporate sponsors, builder associations, builders, developers, individual contributors, and volunteers to help these Heroes and their families transition to the home front by addressing one of their most pressing needs – a home to call their own,” their site reads.
How to help: If you would like to participate in a build, go to the Get Involved page, select “Builders” in the drop-down menu toward the bottom of the page, then fill out the application with all of your details.
The Handyman Project in Mesa County, Colorado
Mesa County, in western Colorado, has ongoing volunteer opportunities specifically for retired seniors who want to help out. The Handyman Project offers minor home repairs for county residents who are unable to either afford or make the repairs for themselves.
National Association of Homebuilders
NAHB partners with a number of organizations, including the NFL Players Association, to help build and rehab important community facilities such as St. Ann’s Infant and Maternity Home in Hyattsville, Maryland, or Decatur Cooperative Ministry’s Family House in Atlanta.
How to help: The first step is to join your local builders’ association, which you can find on this page. Then, keep in touch with the local association to see what opportunities are available.
Rebuilding Together is a network of some 166 affiliates that was first founded more than 25 years ago to help low-income homeowners make necessary modifications and sometimes extensive rehabilitations to their homes. Each year, there are more than 10,000 projects that unite more than 100,000 volunteers.
How to help: Find your nearest Rebuilding Together affiliate via this page, then get in touch with that organization to find out what opportunities there are.
Common Ground Relief
Common Ground Relief is based in New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward and is committed to rebuilding that neighborhood, which was devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. “We are particularly looking for those with expertise in one of our project areas,” the organization’s website reads. “If you have experience in construction, dry wall hanging, carpentry, painting, roofing, plumbing, electric work, legal aid, environmental science, media/PR, computer technology, education or any other field that you think may be helpful to our work, please let us know!”
How to help: Go to this page for information on volunteering and online application forms.
Rebuilding Hope in New Orleans
St. Charles Avenue Presbyterian Church in New Orleans responded in the days following Katrina by forming RHINO, which to date has built 34 homes via Habitat for Humanity. RHINO’s other efforts include working with local food banks and other New Orleans-based charitable organizations to simply rebuild the city.
Catholic Volunteer Network
The Catholic Volunteer Network encompasses more than 200 member organizations both in the US and abroad. One area of focus is families in need in Eastern Kentucky, where CVN volunteers go to make home repairs.
How to help: Go to the page for the Christian Appalachian Project; note that a commitment of at least three weeks is required for volunteers.
Samaritan’s Purse is a non-denominational Christian organization that responds to natural disasters and other emergencies in the U.S. and around the world. In the U.S., Samaritan’s Purse uses teams of volunteers to rebuild houses for disaster survivors who lack insurance or other means to rebuild on their own.
How to help: Go to the SP Volunteer Network’s Current Projects page to select a project and sign up. Current reconstruction projects are underway in New York, New Jersey, and Oklahoma, along with projects each summer in Alaska.
International Relief Teams
IRT was founded in 1988 when San Diego attorney and real estate broker Barry La Forgia left his previous careers to pursue volunteer medical and non-medical charitable work around the world. A current emphasis of IRT is helping New York and New Jersey recover from the devastation wrought by Superstorm Sandy.
How to help: Go to the Superstorm Sandy Recovery page on IRT’s website for more information, then click Contact on the left-hand side of the screen to get in touch about volunteering opportunities.
Asylum Hill Congregational Church in Hartford, Connecticut
Asylum Hill has spent the last seven years working with a local developer to rehab some of the historic homes in the church’s neighborhood. “Over the next six months, there will be a need for construction volunteers on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday each week,” the church’s website reads. “There will also be periodic Build Days for families and other groups within our church. The work will include carpentry, hanging sheetrock, painting, and finish work under the supervision of crew leaders with years of experience in working with volunteers.”
Appalachian Trail Conservancy
America’s legendary 2,200-mile hiking trail is maintained by 31 different volunteer organizations, which the conservancy manages. Every year, volunteers are needed to repair bridges, build shelters and clear parts of the trail.
How to help: Go to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s website, and from there you can find the volunteer opportunities closest to you.
TreeFolks in Austin, Texas
TreeFolks plants trees and beautifies the Texas capital’s park space. “We plant native 15 gallon trees to beautify, provide shade and wildlife habitat, to reduce water runoff, and improve the quality of life in Austin neighborhoods,” organizers write on their website. “You will learn the importance of urban forest stewardship and how tree planting helps Austin’s environment and its citizens thrive.”
How to help: Go to the Volunteer Opportunities page at TreeFolks.org for a list of upcoming events.
Chicago Urban Art Retreat Center
CUARC uses public art to bring people together to consider social issues and to simply provide a safe place where artists and other community members can learn from one another. And to create these spaces, they need the help of volunteers. “Are you interested in helping with the Children’s Program?” CUARC organizers write.
“Maybe you are more interested in helping with a room makeover for the women’s residence? Perhaps you would like to be the entertainment at an CUARC event? Or, maybe you would like to help with publicity, office duties, or mural painting? Maybe you would like to help with gardening chores?” The options are many if you are in Chicago.
How to help: Go to CUARC’s volunteer page on their website, and you will find volunteering details plus contact information at the bottom.
Aeon develops, owns and manages affordable apartments in the Twin Cities area that provide stable homes to more than 3,500 people every year “Aeon’s developments are multi-million dollar investments in our community that transform vacant, blighted areas into vibrant places to live,” organizers write. “Our work helps people build and rebuild their lives and community.”
How to help: Go to Aeon’s volunteer page on the organization’s website, and you will find a list of upcoming volunteer opportunities.
Beyond Housing is a St. Louis-based organization that works to ensure everyone in their community has access to quality, stable homes. Then, it goes one step further: “While most organizations focus on one, maybe two, impact areas within a community, we understand that, in order to have a real impact, we must focus on all of the areas that make up a thriving community — housing, education, health, job readiness/access and economic development,” organizers write.
How to help: Go to Beyond Housing’s Home Repair/Rehab page and fill out the application form.
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