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Volunteer trainers mentor incoming volunteers

Habitat Niagara has approximately 180 volunteers to help keep its three ReStores programs running smoothly – without them, our ReStores wouldn’t exist.

“We wanted to ensure that new volunteers understand all the intricacies around our ReStore operations, especially around safety. That’s why we developed the Volunteer Foundations program,” said Angela Daley, Habitat Niagara’s Manager of Volunteer Engagement.

Part of the Volunteer Foundations program includes existing Habitat Niagara volunteers who train new volunteers coming into our ReStores.

“Our volunteer trainers are a big help, without them we have to dedicate staff to do the training and that can be challenging with limited resources,” explains Angela.

The Niagara ReStores have one to two volunteer trainers per store, and one of those trainer’s shares his experience with the program.

Peter Holman has been volunteering with Habitat Niagara since 2014, starting off at the St. Catharines ReStore. In 2015, he helped with the renovation of the newly acquired ReStore in Fonthill and has been volunteering there ever since.

“When I learned about the Volunteer Foundation program, I thought it was something that was definitely needed as there had been no formal program prior to that,” said Peter. “With that in mind, I signed up for the train the trainer session.”

Once the trainer has completed their training, they can set up day one safety training with new volunteers which includes a safety tour and training on equipment. This session is mandatory for all ReStore volunteers.

“When I first meet a new volunteer, I’ll sit with them in the lunchroom and have a brief “get to know you” chat and go over what they’ve done so far, what safety videos they’ve watched and proper safety attire,” Peter explains. “I then take them on a tour of the store both inside and out during which I’ll address the various items on the day one check list such as exits and fire extinguishers. Once that’s done, we’ll spend time with the hands-on items such as lifting, ladders, cutting tools and other equipment.”

Over the past two years, Peter has trained 29 volunteers!

Once day one training is complete, there are several optional training opportunities available that range from electrical testing and power tool use to merchandizing and customer service. Sometimes, the lower safety risk types of training are provided by other volunteers but for things like electrical and appliance testing and repair, and power tool use, this training is taught by a volunteer trainer who has gone through our volunteer trainer program.

“It would be nice to have more of our volunteers trained to be volunteer trainers as it would free up staff time spent doing the training and also create a mentorship type of atmosphere among the volunteers,” said Angela. “If anyone is interested in becoming a trainer, please talk to your ReStore manager, we would really appreciate it!”

We’re always looking for volunteers, learn about all our volunteer opportunities.