Coming off a very busy October, the HomeWise program has spent the last several weeks actively recruiting a new class of volunteers and looking to the future. Between October 2 and November 18, program staff and volunteers gave away nearly 250 efficiency improvement kits to county residents. These kits include weatherstripping for windows and doors, LED lightbulbs, low-flow faucet aerators, and socket sealers to help prevent air leakage from exterior wall outlets and light switches. Each kit also includes detailed information about how to use the included materials.
On November 10, the program opened a call for volunteers for 2022. Through December 10, applications will be accepted to join the program’s second class of volunteers, starting in January. Volunteers do not need to have any prior experience with home improvement, weatherization, energy or water conservation. Every volunteer will receive training on the environmental, technical, and social aspects of the projects the program undertakes, regardless of skill level or past experience. Anyone interested in volunteering (over age 18) is encouraged to apply.
In addition to reviewing incoming applications, HomeWise program staff have been taking individual meetings with members of the HomeWise internal and external advisory councils. These meetings provide an opportunity to dig into what’s on tap for the program in the coming year, and to discuss ways different county agencies and departments, and partner nonprofits, can collaborate with HomeWise. Outreach to potential new advisory council members is ongoing and interested parties are encouraged to contact program staff via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In advance of Thanksgiving, HomeWise staff will hold a visioning session to discuss big picture questions and ideas for the year ahead. This session will help inform the direction of the program in 2022 and beyond.
In December, staff will host a virtual volunteer celebration to thank our inaugural class of volunteers for their dedication, patience, flexibility, and incredible contributions over the past year, especially as the COVID-19 pandemic necessitated changes to program plans. This celebration will also provide an opportunity to introduce newly accepted volunteers and to bring them into the fold before they begin training in January.
December will also be spent preparing for volunteer training in the New Year. HomeWise volunteers are given ample information and opportunities to ask questions and to practice their hands-on skills before they are deployed into the community. In the weeks ahead, program staff will make adjustments to training materials used in early 2021 and will explore potential online platforms and tools to help enhance the training experience.
This article is part of a series. A new HomeWise Monthly Update will be published roughly every four weeks and will provide a snapshot of work completed and anticipated activities in the weeks ahead. Check out our Home Energy Savings news feed, or follow us on Twitter and Facebook to keep up with all the latest HomeWise news.