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Volunteering

Here you’ll find information on what volunteers do, the important role they play, and the next available training series. You can also access your volunteer application (PDF) and have the chance to check out our Volunteer FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions). Take a peek.

Volunteers Wanted!

Volunteers are a fundamental and vital element in our Healthy Sustainable Homes program. They help citizens learn about common pollutants found in their homes, which could be making them ill. Upon successful completion of the training, volunteers will receive certification as a Master Home Educator. Visit fcgov.com/healthyhomes or call 970-416-2832.

Do you care about your health, your family's health, and other peoples' health? Are you concerned about environmental health issues such as exposure to mold, dust, hazardous household chemicals, and other pollutants?

Do you talk with friends, relatives, neighbors, and community members about health problems and solutions? Would you like to increase your knowledge about indoor air quality and improve your ability to communicate? If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, you'd probably be a great volunteer for the Healthy Sustainable Homes Program!

Volunteers are a fundamental and vital element in our Healthy Sustainable Homes program. They help citizens learn about common pollutants found in their homes, which could be making them ill. Upon successful completion of the training, volunteers will receive certification as a Master Home Educator, after they have completed 20 hours of training and 20 hours of community service conducting community assessments.

To enroll in the volunteer training, prospective volunteers must complete an application and participate in an interview selection process. Attending the 20 hour training and completing 20 hours of community service are the most important requirements to become a Healthy Sustainable Homes volunteer -- you don't need to be an environmentalist or an expert in anything.

We look for diverse individuals who are committed to actively participating in the training sessions and who will volunteer to improve the health of their communities. We want people who will enjoy working together to improve their own and others' health.

You’ll learn to recognize hazards such as lead, dust, household chemicals, mold, and other air pollutants; use low cost or no cost methods to reduce risks; teach others about health hazards in their home and how poor air quality can affect their health; and conduct free in-home environmental assessments.

The topics covered in the Healthy Sustainable Homes Training trainings include: moisture and biological contaminants, dust, lead, toxicology, cultural diversity, secondhand smoke, asthma, household chemicals, ventilation, landlord/tenant rights and responsibilities, and communication and behavior change.

Volunteer Training Schedule for 2015

The volunteer training series for this Spring will take place April 7, 9, 14, 16, 18, 21, 23, 2015

Location: City of Fort Collins Community Room,
215 N. Mason (unless otherwise noted)
Program Overview, Communications, & Other Resources Tuesday, April 7 ,2015
5:30 p.m. - 8 p.m.
KEEP IT: Dry & Well Ventilated Thursday, April 9, 2015
5:30 p.m. - 8 p.m.
KEEP IT: Clean & Pest Free Tuesday, April 14, 2015
5:30 p.m. - 8 p.m.
KEEP IT: Free of Contaminants & Air Quality Overview Thursday, April 16, 2015
5:30 p.m. - 8 p.m.
KEEP IT: Well Maintained, Review of Assessment Tools, & Home Asessments Saturday, April 18, 2015
8:30 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Asthma, Allergies, & Allergens Tuesday, April 21, 2015
5:30 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Volunteer Safety, Record Keeping, Presentations, & Graduation Thursday, April 23, 2015
5:30 p.m. - 8 p.m.

Volunteer FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q: What kind of volunteers are you looking for? Do I have to be a professional in the environmental health or sciences field?

A: We are looking for residents primarily in the Fort Collins area who care about having a healthy home and educating others about ways to make their homes healthier. Our volunteers often suffer from asthma, allergies, or chemical sensitivities or have family members or friends who do. The volunteers are interested in learning ways to reduce triggers to these conditions in their homes. To volunteer, you don’t have to be a professional in the field, but we do ask that you are willing and able to make the commitment of time to complete both the training and required outreach hours. Our volunteers vary greatly in age and occupation. We are invested in having a culturally diverse group of volunteers participate in the program.

Q: How technical is the training?

A: This is not a technical training, although it does include some technical elements. Our goal is to give you a basic understanding of indoor pollutants (recognizing the hazards and knowing how they impact our health) and to help you find low cost or no cost solutions to these problems. You don’t have to be a scientist, but you do have to be willing to read, study, and actively participate in the training.

Q: Who are the trainers and what are the classes like?

A: Our trainers are all specialists within their fields who come from a variety of backgrounds. They offer their expertise to our integrated training and are an excellent resource for our volunteers. Each class session is taught by either one or two trainers.

Q: Why do you have the training on weeknights and why is there a Saturday class?

A: Because of the number of hours involved in the training we have to include a Saturday to accommodate a practice assessment/walk-through of a home. We hold most of the classes in the evenings because we’ve found that it’s more convenient for our volunteers to meet then. This schedule allows those who work or are in school during the day go through the training.

Q: If I can’t make this training, when will you have another?

A: We hold Healthy Sustainable Homes trainings once a year in the Spring. If you let us know, we will make sure you are notified of application deadlines.

Q: Will I get university or continuing education credit for the training?

A: No. Even though the training is comprehensive, we are not able to issue credit for the classes. The goal of our training is to give you the information to do educational outreach to residents, family and friends, and to the general community.

Q: What will the training cost?

A: There is no charge for the training. We require our volunteers to put 20 hours of outreach back into the program over the course of a year in return for the 20 hours of training.

Q: How many people will be selected?

A: Since the training involves a lot of participation and interaction, the class size is limited to approximately 25 volunteers.

Q: What if I can’t attend all of the classes?

A: Because of all the valuable information taught during each class, it’s very important that you attend all of the classes. We understand, however, that things come up (prior plans, sickness, etc.) and you may have to miss a class. We do ask that you let us know which class you can’t attend and that you have another volunteer take notes for you and collect any hand-outs. We also ask that you write up one page on the topic you missed.

Q: Should I apply if I don’t like public speaking?

A: Our volunteers fulfill their outreach hours in a number of ways that don’t necessarily include public speaking. There are many opportunities to educate others without having to speak in front of a large group. Each of our volunteers comes up with an individual outreach plan with our program staff that takes into account what populations they want to reach and how they prefer to work.

Q: What type of volunteer outreach does a trained Healthy Sustainable Home Volunteer conduct?

A: All of our volunteers perform indoor air quality home assessment visits in the community (each takes about 1 to 1 1/2 hours to complete). During the visit, the volunteer meets with the resident and walks through their home with them, addressing ways that they can reduce their exposure to toxins. They often pair up with other volunteers to do the visits and either come up with their own referrals or take referrals that we get through our office. Volunteers also can get involved in a number of different projects. They may help out at booths for fairs and other community events, do slide show presentations, lead a household hazardous waste workshop, work with a special project targeting childcare providers, or write articles for our volunteer newsletter. We encourage our volunteers to be creative with their outreach ideas and we do what we can to support you so you can be a successful volunteer.

Q: Is a background check conducted?

A: Yes, in order to protect you and the individuals whose home you’ll be visiting, a background check will be conducted prior to you receiving a home assessment assignment.

Q: Are there readings and homework for the class?

A: Yes. We do have a volunteer training manual that you will receive on the first night of training and there are readings that correspond to most of the classes. There are usually a number of hand-outs from each class also. We ask that our volunteers complete two practice in-home assessments during the course of the training.

Q:What happens after I finish my 20 hours of community outreach?

A: We hope that you will, like many other trained Healthy Sustainable Homes volunteers continue with your outreach work. There is no limit to your involvement. If you have any other questions, please call the Healthy Sustainable Homes program at 970-416-2832.