Volunteers making a difference
By Stephanie Choate
Williston resident Ellie Campbell knows how hard it can be to find the right place to live.
For the past seven years, she has spent five to 10 hours a week volunteering with local organization HomeShare Vermont, working to match people looking for housing with those who could use assistance in their homes.
“I decided to get involved because it a very worthy cause and I was familiar with trying to find a place to live at one point in my life and how hard that is without some kind of help from people in the know,” she said.
This year, HomeShare Vermont is celebrating 30 years of matching people. The program—which is targeted at seniors but has no age or disability requirements—matches homeowners with a home sharer who moves in to provide assistance in exchange for affordable housing.
“It’s hard to find housing that’s affordable,” Campbell said. “When you can find affordable housing and you have a generous enough heart that you want to be of value to somebody else, that’s what makes a great match.”
Campbell is one of the volunteers who vets potential candidates—conducting in-depth interviews, reference checks and multiple background checks.
“We do a lot of hands-on work, and most importantly we check in with them periodically after a match,” she said.
Campbell said she loves “everything” about her volunteer efforts, from the work the organization does to the people they represent and the people in the office.
“We don’t have business relationships, we have friendships that go on,” she said.
Campbell said volunteering can be very rewarding when you find the right match for your interests.
“This has been said many times, but I think people volunteer to help someone else, then they realize down the road that it’s a huge benefit to them.”
HomeShare Vermont provides free informational meetings the third Wednesday of every month at 412 Farrell Street in South Burlington, at noon and 5:30 p.m. For more information or to RSVP, call 863-5625 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Local volunteer opportunities
There are plenty of ways to get involved in the local community. Here is a sampling of opportunities from United Way of Chittenden County. For more information or to volunteer, contact the United Way at 864-7541 or email@example.com.
- The American Cancer Society’s Williston office is looking for volunteers age 18 or older to cover the reception desk for 2-3 hours a day, Monday through Friday.
- Volunteer as a community recruiter for the Girl Scouts, getting girls and adults excited about the opportunities provided. Volunteers could set up an information table at a community event, host a sign-up or put up flyers.
- Volunteer “Road to Recovery” drivers help drive cancer patients with no transportation to and from regularly scheduled cancer treatment appointments. Drivers are on call, and should have a good driving record and reliable vehicle.
- Meals on Wheels drivers are needed to deliver meals to seniors in Colchester, Essex, Jericho, Underhill and Williston on a regular, seasonal and substitute basis. Meals are picked up between 10 and 10:30 a.m. The route takes approximately one hour.
- COTS needs Playroom Volunteers to spend time with kids in the shelter in Burlington. Help with games, coloring, painting or other activities that you and the kids can do together. Minimum two hours a week. References and background check required.
- The Shelburne Museum will be hosting a variety of events during July. On Sunday, July 22, it is hosting the Day-Long Circus-Palooza, featuring circus artists, food and carnival games. Volunteers can help with set up, run carnival games, greet visitors and more. Three- to five-hour shifts, 8 a.m.–5:30 p.m. Shelburne Museum also needs volunteers to greet visitors, guide them to activities sites and help them experiment with a variety of media for Artscape, set for July 26.
For more volunteer opportunities, visit www.unitedwaycc.org.
Williston resident nominated for volunteer award
A Williston resident has been nominated for United Way of Chittenden County’s new Building Block volunteer awards.
Karin Davis was nominated in the health section for her service to the Cathedral Square Corporation, which provides housing and services for seniors and individuals with special needs.
The awards are meant to recognize the impact community volunteers have on the quality of life in Chittenden County by serving in one of the three United Way building block to a better community—education, income and health.
This year’s 44 nominees will be honored at the United Way LIVE UNITED Celebration Breakfast on Sept. 7, from 8 – 10 a.m. at the Sheraton Hotel & Conference Center in South Burlington. The event is open to the public. Seats are $18, and reservations should be made by Aug. 28. For more information or to register, call 860-1677, ext. 822, or go to www.unitedwaycc.org.