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Cutting With Care

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!

Volunteer Guide

Supplies Needed

  • Volunteers are not required to bring any tools/materials, but may choose to do so at their own risk. All clients assigned to volunteers should have a working lawn mower at their residence available for volunteer use. Clients are also responsible for obtaining and purchasing gas for the lawn mower.
    • If a lawn mower breaks or is no working at the time of service, let the client and a NWNEPA staff member know. It is not the volunteers responsibility to fix the mower.
  • Weed-whackers and garbage bags are not necessary, but can be used if the client has the equipment AND the volunteer is comfortable doing so.
  • Sunscreen and insect repellent is highly recommended.
  • All volunteers will receive a Cutting with Care volunteer T-shirt. It is encouraged for volunteers to wear these shirts when servicing, but it is not required.
    • Volunteers can opt out of receiving the T-shirt.

Volunteering with a Partner

  • There is no requirement to have partner when volunteering, however volunteers may choose to have a partner if they would like.
    • It is not necessary for the partner to also apply, however if you are submitting the application on behalf of your partner, please include their name, email and T-shirt size in the application. Please note that anyone volunteering will be required to sign a liability waiver prior to their start of service.
  • Groups should have no more than 2 people unless requested and approved by NeighborWorks Northeastern PA (NWNEPA) staff member.

Volunteer Expectations

  • Volunteers are expected to cut the grass of their assigned client before the length of the grass reaches around 8 inches. The volunteer will create a schedule with the homeowner to ensure the yard is maintained throughout the spring and summer seasons.
    • Volunteers are not expected to assist with weed removal, hedge trimming, etc., but may choose to do so at their own discretion.
    • When the volunteer can no longer serve the client, they should plan to communicate this with both their assigned client and a NWNEPA staff member with advance notice if before the end of the summer season.
    • Volunteers should try to mow approximately 2 times a month.
  • Volunteers are expected to return their liability waiver prior to their first day of service.
  • Volunteers will be expected to accurately track their hours spent volunteering for each assigned client. They will report them each month to Aging in Place Project Specialist Alyssa Espinoza ( A blank hour tracker will be sent out with client information for the volunteer to fill out by the first week of the following month.
    • If the volunteer forgets to submit their hours, a reminder email will be sent out at the end of the season for all hours completed. Hour tracker submission allows us to expand our efforts with this program, so it is important volunteers return accordingly.
    • Hours should be rounded to the nearest half hour and can include: phone calls, service, talks with client at residence, and travel.
  • Volunteers should dress appropriately for the weather, keeping in mind that grass may get on their lower legs or arms. Long pants and shirt are recommended.
  • Volunteers are expected to respect the client(s), the property/service site, and all equipment that is used. We ask that volunteers do not smoke/drink alcohol on the client’s property.
    • Volunteers should be always assess the yard before beginning their service each time and be extra cautious when mowing near areas with stumps or rocks. Review our safety handout for more information.
  • Volunteers should report any inappropriate or dangerous situations they come into contact with while volunteering to a NWNEPA staff member at their earliest convenience.

For groups:

  • Each group should designate a leader who will act as the primary point of contact for the project (typically the applicant) and will be responsible for distributing information to their team as well as assisting with directing the tasks at the service site.

After the Application is Submitted

  • You/your group will be contacted a NWNEPA staff member to confirm the submission of the application as well as provide additional information and documents.
  • Liability Waivers: Waivers must be returned to Alyssa Espinoza ( prior to the start of service. Waiver document will be sent out with client information.
  • Once the volunteer is matched with a client, they will receive information about your service site (including the client’s address and phone number). The client will be informed AFTER the volunteer confirms the client is a good match for them.
  • A letter will be sent to the homeowner informing them who their volunteer will be. Volunteers are responsible for reaching to their homeowners before beginning service to introduce themselves and create a schedule both the volunteer(s) and the client agree upon.

Beginning Service

  • When arriving at the client’s home, the volunteer should knock to let the client know they are there unless discussed otherwise. Mowing should be prioritized by the most visible portions of the lawn first. Volunteers are not required to do any additional properties the homeowner may have.
  • Clients and volunteers should agree upon what parts of the lawn they want prioritized within the volunteers' abilities.

Matching Volunteers with Clients

  • Once a volunteer applies, a NWNEPA staff member will review the information submitted and match the volunteer with an eligible NWNEPA Aging in Place client based on: residential address, distance preferred, etc.
    • Volunteers will be notified if we do not have a client within their preferred distance and given the option to choose to service the next closest client.
  • All clients on our waitlist are current clients of NWNEPA. Volunteers will not be sent to any home deemed unsafe or inappropriate.
    • Volunteers may request a different client if they feel that is in their best interest.

End of Service

  • 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?

  1. Make a donation! Donations can be made at our website under the “Donate” tab. Please specify the donation being for Cutting with Care program!
  2. Get others involved! 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.

Other Questions can be directed to Alyssa Espinoza at 570-558-2490 or


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