NeighborWorks Northeastern Pennsylvania has partnered with Leadership Lackawanna to create a volunteer program that is aimed at providing grass-cutting and lawn care services to older adults in Lackawanna County. The project takes place during the spring and summer seasons and will enable older adults to stay safe and healthy in their homes. For individuals interested in this opportunity, volunteer applications are available here!
Does my partner need to submit a volunteer application?
- It is not necessary for your partner to also submit an application, however if you are submitting the application on behalf of your partner, then you must include their name, email and T-shirt size either in the application or in the message of the email send with the application. Also note, all volunteers will be required to sign a liability waiver prior to their start of service.
Do I need to have a partner?
- No. It is not necessary to have a partner, however some people feel more comfortable having a partner and we fully support either!
What is the process for matching older adults with volunteers?
- Once a volunteer application is submitted, the NeighborWorks Volunteer Coordinator will review the information and match the volunteer with a homeowner already on our waitlist based off: residential address, distance preferred, etc.
- All clients on our waitlist are current clients of NeighborWorks Northeastern PA, and have all had their homes inspected by a staff member. We do not send volunteers to any homes deemed unsafe or inappropriate.
What will happen after I submit my application?
- You/your group will be contacted by a representative from NeighborWorks Northeastern PA to confirm your participation, and provide necessary information and liability waiver. Waivers must be returned to Alyssa Espinoza prior to the start of your service, or you will not be able to volunteer.
- You will receive information about your project (including the project address, the homeowner’s name, and some brief background) once matched! We will send a letter to the homeowner letting them know who their volunteer will be and when to expect their volunteers. The homeowner will only be provided with your email address, however please let me know if you would prefer to give them your phone number.
What is expected of me as a volunteer?
- Volunteers are expected to cut the grass of the older adult with which they are assigned when or before it reaches 8 inches in length or what is required within the municipal code for the particular service site.
- Each volunteer will need to sign a liability waiver. Please note – individuals who have not signed a waiver will not be allowed at the site.
- Volunteers will be expected to accurately track the hours they spend volunteering with this program and report them each month to their NeighborWorks point of contact. Timesheets will be sent once applications are received.
- Volunteers are encouraged to dress appropriately for the weather, keeping in mind that grass may get on their lower legs.
- All volunteers should work to their best ability, take all safety precautions seriously and have fun.
- Volunteers are expected to respect the homeowner, the property/project site, and all equipment that is used. We ask that volunteers do not smoke/drink alcohol on the homeowner’s property.
- Volunteers should not do work beyond lawn care unless comfortable.
- For pairs: Each group should designate a leader who will act as the primary point of contact for the project and will be responsible for distributing information to their team as well as assisting with directing the tasks at the worksite.
What will I need to volunteer?
- Volunteers are not required to bring any tools/materials. To be eligible for the Cutting with Care program, older adult homeowners must have a working lawn mower at their residence available for volunteer use. Homeowners are also responsible for obtaining and purchasing gas for the lawn mower.
- Weedwhackers and garbage bags are not necessary, but can be available upon request.
- Sunscreen and insect repellent is highly recommended, but not required.
- All volunteers will receive a Cutting with Care volunteer T-shirt. You are encouraged to wear these shirts when servicing, but it is not required! Volunteer T-shirts will be provided based on responses on application.
How do I begin my service?
- Once you receive your client information, you may reach out to the client to begin coordinating a time for the first grass cutting. Once you arrive at the client’s home, you may begin your lawn care services. If you notify the homeowner when to expect you, it may not be necessary to knock upon arrival. Please focus on mowing the most used portions of the lawn first in order to provide a safe environment for the older adults to leave their homes.
- After the initial visit, please come up with a schedule with the homeowner to continue the mowing throughout the summer. Volunteers should try to mow approximately twice a month.
When does my service end?
- Volunteers typically serve until the grass stops growing; however volunteers may choose to end at their own discretion based on what fits their schedule best. (Grass may continue growing until early October).
- It is up to the volunteer to let their homeowner AND NeighborWorks know when they plan to finish service.
How else can I help?
- Make a donation. Donations can be made at our website by clicking here! Donations will help us expand the program to neighboring counties!
- Reach out to others! Volunteering is a rewarding experience and should be shared! Reach out to friends and family to let them know about Cutting with Cares’ goal to help ease the burden of the summer season for older adults in Lackawanna County, and let them know they too can make a difference through this program.