Thursday, October 26, 2006


NoLa Habitat/Mission FAQ

I just received a great email this morning from Melissa Manuselis of New Orleans Habitat for Humanity. She is so excited about the idea of some football fans coming down to volunteer the week of the game. Melissa is going to be helping us coordinate the trip for whoever wants to go and will be a great point of contact for all of us who are interested.

Melissa provided me with an FAQ about volunteering which I have pasted below. This should give you a good idea about what we will be doing and address the usual concerns of people who volunteer.

Once I get a count of how many folks are committed to going down, Melissa will begin the group registration process for us.

Also, if you have other specific questions for Melissa, feel free to email her at

Thanks again!!



Q-When can I volunteer? How long do I need to volunteer?
A-Currently we are working Monday through Saturday, 7:15 am to about 2:30 or 3 pm.
We start so early to avoid the afternoon sun, yes people must be there at that time for sign-in, the safety orientation and this is when they assign the projects for the day. A person may sign up to volunteer any number of days; we just ask that they work the full day for which they are signed up.

Q-How do I volunteer?
A- Please visit and click on “Musicians Village” to get more information on the project. To complete the online volunteer training and registration, click on “Volunteer” and you may choose to volunteer as an individual or as a group (more than 5 people). After you complete the online volunteer registration and training, our Volunteer Coordinator, Melissa Manuselis, will confirm the dates you will be here, the number in your group and your contact information via e-mail. She will also give you all the details about the worksite.

Q-What does it cost?
A-Certain large groups, associations, schools, and corporations may need to pay per person. College groups coming around Fall Break and Spring Break need to sign up through Habitat International’s Collegiate Challenge, and there may me additional costs associated through that process. Student groups that come at other times of the year can sign up through us, and do not have to pay to volunteer, though they are fully responsible for their accommodations, etc.

Q-Can I come for free?
A-No, it is the responsibility of the volunteer to arrange their own travel, food and housing accommodations. We offer hotel and rental car discounts for the convenience of volunteers traveling from out of town.

Q-Can children volunteer?
A-Yes, volunteers aged 16 and 17 may work without parental supervision after having presented the waiver signed by their guardian. 14 and 15 year olds may also work onsite but are somewhat more limited in the tasks that they can perform and must be supervised at all times by someone of 25 years or more.

Q-Do I need to be an expert?
A-No, no experience whatsoever is required. All the instruction that you need will be given onsite.

Q-Can I work even though I have some physical limitations?
A-Yes, there are a number of tasks that can be performed that do not require serious lifting such as painting, hammering or finish work. For more serious limitations there may be opportunities to work at the restore or the office

Q-What goes on at the worksite?
A-Homes are at all stages of the construction process, foundations, framing, to finish. You will not know what you will be working on until the day that you work. Assignments depend on what needs to get done that day, weather conditions, etc.

Q-What do I wear?
A-Footwear needs to be sturdy and closed-toe and closed-heel. Boots or sneakers are both considered appropriate footwear, however boots are preferable. Wear weather appropriate clothing dependent upon the season. Sunscreen, hats and sunglasses may also be a good idea.

Q-Should I bring food or water?
A-Yes, you should bring your own lunch to the site, however, water will be provided onsite.

Q-Should I bring my own tools?
A-It is not necessary to bring any tools, though you may bring your own if you wish. Labeling is not a bad idea for your tools.

Q-Where should I stay?
A-The French Quarter is a great, central place for out-of-towners to stay in addition to being stocked with restaurants and hotels. Additionally, there is Camp Hope, an elementary school turned into modest volunteer accommodations. At $100 per week (or $20/day) including meals, it is a great value for our volunteers.

Q-Is it safe?
A-New Orleans is like any other city. People should use their best judgment and use their instincts. No serious crimes have been reported on or near the worksite, possibly due to the great rapport between Habitat and the local precinct, located just two blocks away. Additionally, the local police and the National Guard patrol the area.

Q-What if I have allergies/asthma?
A-Our worksites in New Orleans are new construction, and therefore pose little risk for mold allergies to get irritated. You should, however, take into account the humidity, heat and abundance of plant life. Bring your medication with you and be sure to take breaks when necessary.

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