Habitat for Humanity brings in new volunteer coordinator
In 2013, Habitat for Humanity had 300 volunteers give 3,500 hours of service to the organization, which serves both Summit and Wasatch Counties. Now Habitat has brought on a new volunteer coordinator, Sean Meyer, who wants those numbers to grow even more.
Meyer is Habitat’s AmeriCorps Volunteer Coordinator and brings experience as a former education assistant with Red Butte Gardens and a volunteer coordinator with the Living Planet Aquarium. He also served in the U.S. Air Force out of Grand Forks, North Dakota. He believes volunteers are crucial to the work that Habitat does in the area.
"To me, there’s nothing greater than having people who want to donate their time and want to be somewhere," Meyer said. "Volunteers, especially for this organization, are key."
Shellie Barrus, Office and Programs Manager for Habitat, said all of the Habitat chapters in the state applied for a joint grant to get an AmeriCorps position to manage volunteers. Funding from the Park City Community Foundation helped to bring Meyer on as well.
"We wouldn’t be able to survive if we didn’t have the great volunteer core that we do," Barrus said. "We want to make [Habitat for Humanity] a place that’s fun. It’s all about community."
Meyer moved around the country a lot as he was growing up, having lived in California, Florida and Texas before coming to Utah when he was 18. After spending four years in Grand Forks with the Air Force he decided to come back to Utah and find work in the non-profit sector.
Being able to connect with and bring people together to achieve common goals are strengths Meyer says he possesses.
"To make [volunteers] feel that they’re appreciated, to let them know how hard they’re working that’s all people really need," Meyer said.
Both Meyer and Barrus agree that bringing affordable housing to the community is important to help families stay in the area that may not otherwise be able to. Last Friday, Habitat had a volunteer team building day at a home for a local family on Marsac Avenue where Meyer and others were on-site to help plant a tree and work on other ‘to-do’ items.
"Habitat is here to give [families] the opportunity to be homeowners. It’s absolutely wonderful and amazing," Meyer said.
Barrus said that individuals who work and support a community should be able to live in that community and send their children to school there.
"They continue to work here because they have passion about living in this community," Barrus said. "They help build this community they should be able to live here."
In 2014, Meyer said Habitat is looking to undertake more new construction projects, some rehab projects that can include repainting and weatherization and to increase staffing and hours at the ReStore on Silver Creek Drive. The money raised at the ReStore goes directly to repairing and building homes in the community.
Meyer wants to build the core of volunteers that Habitat has while also ensuring they are recognized for their work.
"You get to work with people who want to be here and work," Meyer said. "You can pay someone to do something and they’re not going to have that same gratification."
Habitat for Humanity will host a volunteer recognition event at the ReStore where individuals can learn more about volunteer opportunities on Dec. 10 from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. For more details, contact Sean Meyer at email@example.com.
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