Volunteers pose for a picture after a hard day of work.
With so many non-profits and volunteer organizations rooted here in Birmingham, it is clear that the people of this city are passionate about their home.
Yet often times people are overwhelmed by the amount of volunteer opportunities available to them, and they don’t know where to start.
That’s just what Hands on Birmingham is for.
The organization, which began in Birmingham in 1998, seeks to connect people with meaningful service opportunities throughout the metropolitan Birmingham area.
“We are a conduit for a lot of people to engage in community service in a very easy format,” said Karla Fields, the PR and Fundraising Manager for Hands on Birmingham.
But how exactly does Hands on Birmingham work?
With more than 200 non-profit partners, the organization seeks to work with the volunteer on a personal level by serving as the sort of liaison between the general public and the city’s non-profits.
“Whatever your interest area is, we can always connect you to an organization that meets the need of whatever you want to do during your volunteer experience — and it doesn’t have to take a lot of time,” Fields said
A group works on a playground in the Birmingham area.
While Hands on Birmingham does coordinate several days of service throughout the year and is available for custom group trips, each individual is encouraged to venture into the city and give any time he or she might have.
Volunteers can go to the Hands on Birmingham website, search projects around the city by date, area or type and then register to be a volunteer at that particular project. Projects may be a one-day event or a reoccurring project.
“You can go on our website Friday and register for something and be engaged Saturday,” Fields said.
Last year, more than 8,000 people donated more than 25,000 hours of service and time to the community, and with the deliberate planning that goes in to each of Hands on Birmingham’s projects, it is easy to see why.
“Our staff can scope a project, we can tell you how many volunteers it takes to get that project done, the materials that would be needed to get it done, order the materials, go and pick them up. We will get everything set up so it’s pretty much whenever those volunteers arrive we can tell them how many need to go to this station, and assign the volunteers to a particular station,” Fields said.
For Hands on Birmingham, success not only lies in the completion of a service project, but also in the satisfaction and hard-work of the volunteer.
“When they leave, they can see the immediate impact that they’ve made and its always a good feeling, ” Fields said.
For more information about Hands on Birmingham or to find out how you can get connected with a project, please visit http://www.handsonbirmingham.org/.
By Sarah Anne Elliott
Photos courtesy of Hands on Birmingham