July 19, 2012

World Changers: Day 4

It's the last day, and each house is getting the last touches before the volunteers return home. When they go, they leave something brighter than when they arrived. That's a goal we can all strive for in our lives.

Small details - like this tiny hatch - receive attention on the last day.
There's something that stands out to me in the pictures from this week, and I wonder if you have noticed it as well. It's the imperfection -- the splashes of paint, the shaky borders, the unreachable corners.

July 18, 2012

World Changers: Day 3

There's something about sunshine and fresh air and warm weather that could make a person take any excuse to head outside. Whether you read a book in the shade, sip lemonade on the porch, or trundle about the flowerbeds, there's something blissful about this summer weather.

But summer is not a good season for strenuous activity, at the risk of heatstroke or dehydration. The World Changers volunteer teams are painting and climbing scaffolding in the relentless sun. To keep everyone healthy and safe, the teams take regular breaks to rest in the shade and drink water.

These rest breaks may be one of the best times to talk with the volunteers and get to know them a bit better. Each crew has a fun nickname, often referencing their tools, and a unique dynamic.

Break times are determined by a "Break Master", a student responsible for choosing morning and afternoon break times as well as managing the crew's water cooler and other break supplies such as cups and ice.
Can you tell where the old paint ends and the new coat begins?

There are other positions on the crew held specifically by the students rather than on of the adult staff. However, it seems to me that "Break Master" is far and away the best title.

Teamwork isn't just for large volunteer projects like this, either. When you work on a DIY project around your own home, it is a good idea to grab a friend to work with. It makes the physical labor easier, but, more importantly, keeps you from feeling overwhelmed by the little problems that always pop up.

Especially if you repay them with a tall glass of lemonade on the porch.

July 17, 2012

World Changers: Day 2

Tuesday, and the work begins. The teams of volunteers saw the homes they'll be working on for the first time last night, and aside from one dropped paint bucket, everything is good to go. And while we might wish for a bit less heat, the clear skies are going to help us meet our deadline of painting 14 homes by the end of the week.

Volunteers grab a quick break outside one South Buffalo home.

July 16, 2012

World Changers: Day 1

World Changers have arrived in town, and there's painting to be done. So let's get to it.

At Burgard High School, loaded buses were pulling into the parking lot. Teenagers were spilling out, stretching their limbs after a long ride, and scrambling about finding their teams for the week. In the back, staff member bustled about a wagon loaded with carefully sorted paint buckets, making sure each team of volunteers would have the paint brushes, masks, scrubbers, gloves, and garbage bags they would need for the coming week.

July 3, 2012

Meet Heidi and Kelley!

NHS of South Buffalo has been working with AmeriCorps volunteers for several years, and right now we are pleased to have two in our offices! Heidi Eckstein and Kelley Brannon, both serving through the AmeriCorps VISTA program, have been working to spread awareness of our programs and workshops.

Heidi Eckstein teaches a pre-k class about recycling.

Meet Kurt!

Kurt Vogt was looking for a senior project - the capstone of his four years at Canisius College. He went to the Office of Community Based Learning and learned about community organizations seeking volunteers. Interested in NHS of South Buffalo's programs, he contacted us and offered to create a documentary as a service-learning project.