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Volunteer

Volunteer

Volunteer at community gardens

Volunteering at Vermont Youth Conservation Corps community gardens

The five Dismas Houses in Vermont could not exist without volunteers. Founded and sustained by a dedicated and enthusiastic group of individuals committed to providing a positive alternative living situation for newly released prisoners, Dismas House has continued to benefit from the time and talents of hundreds of Vermont residents.

The daily presence of volunteers in the house is a living link between the residents and the greater community from which they have been separated. Through volunteers, their interest, encouragement, and acceptance, come affirmation, reconciliation and reintegration of residents within our community.

The ways in which this is achieved are as varied as the volunteers themselves. Love and care are expressed through homemade meals prepared and served Monday through Friday, in painting parties, landscaping efforts, and donated construction materials. Residents, staff, and volunteers work side by side at annual fund raisers, including the annual celebrations and auctions in Hartford, Burlington and Rutland. Other volunteers lend professional expertise such as legal advice to policy-making, computer programming skills to organize mailing lists and other information, vocational counseling to direct job-hunting efforts, or grant writing experience to attract much needed funding.

But above all, Dismas volunteers are friends: friends who believe in the worth of each individual, who support the belief through their faithful presence in the house and who share the Dismas mission with others in the community and beyond.

Dismas volunteers are people like you!

 

To volunteer, please contact:

Burlington House: Kim Parsons, kim@dismasofvt.org, (802) 658-0381

Hartford House:  Samantha Shafer, samantha@dismasofvt.org, (802) 698-8661

Rutland House:  Geraldine Burke, geraldine@dismasofvt.org, (802) 775-5539

Women's House: Geraldine Burke, geraldine@dismasofvt.org, (802) 775-5539

If you are an international volunteer, please contact incoming@vfp.org for an application or visit the Volunteer For Peace website www.vfp.org.

Volunteer Opportunity Descriptions

COOKS

DESCRIPTION:
Students, international volunteers, and former prisoners live together and share weekday dinners with staff and volunteer cooks from the broader community. The evening meal is the centerpiece of the day where community building takes place.  One of the chief ingredients is the presence of our volunteer cooks. As they come month after month they become an important part of the Dismas community.  If the residential community and staff can be likened to the nuclear family, the volunteer cooks are the extended family: cousins, aunts, uncles, etc. 

Volunteers willing to deliver a main course and dessert to the Dismas House on a monthly basis may sign up to do so by completing a volunteer request form and submitting to the Dismas Offices. Volunteer cooks have the option of dinning with the residents, and most enjoy that opportunity.  The form may be found on our website at: dismasofvt.org

VOLUNTEER PROFILE:
Anyone who wishes to cook a meal for the residents of Dismas House may do so. The meals must be delivered to the House on the day the volunteer choose between the hours of 3-5pm. Dishes/containers must be picked up by the volunteer. Occasionally there may be dietary guidelines to follow which will be communicated to the cooks on a case-by-case basis.

 

LOCAL COUNCIL MEMBERSHIP

DESCRIPTION: A committed group of volunteers, the Local Councils are charged with the stewardship of the Dismas programs located in their communities. As part of this group you have a chance to contribute many different sub-committees.

VOLUNTEER PROFILE:
Please reach out to the local chair for involvement.

Council meeting schedules can be found on the Dismas event calendar, or under each house description.

 

GOVERNMENT FORMS AND APPLICATIONS

DESCRIPTION:
Dismas of Vermont provides a therapeutic community home to people leaving incarceration. Many of our residents rely on various government programs for support and medical care, and like all of us, encounter the necessity to complete often baffling state or federal forms for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and basic activities like driving or civil court proceedings. Successful navigation of these forms aids both the transition from incarceration to Dismas, as well as the transition from Dismas to the community. To enhance the success of these government transactions, volunteers can guide residents through the application process. Volunteers will share their time and general familiarity with the processes, assist in locating and explaining requirements, using on-line tools and where needed, by sharing a familiarity with specific types of applications.

VOLUNTEER PROFILE:
Volunteers must demonstrate a general familiarity with forms and computers and on occasion specific knowledge of certain types of forms. Volunteers will be asked about their experience prior to working with residents. Ideal candidates are patient, enjoy teaching, and like working one-on-one (18+).

 

COMPUTER LITERACY

DESCRIPTION:
Dismas House residents should be afforded opportunities to develop computer literacy skills, both for personal and professional reasons. Volunteers can offer assistance to residents one-on-one, bolstering individual confidence and fostering relationships with community members.

VOLUNTEER PROFILE:
Volunteers must demonstrate a familiarity with computers and will be asked about their experience prior to working with residents. Ideal candidates are patient, enjoy teaching, and like working one-on-one (18+).

 

FINANCIAL LITERACY

DESCRIPTION:
Dismas House provides a therapeutic community home to people leaving incarceration. Many of our residents do not have banking, money management or budgeting experience and would benefit from assistance learning the basic skills of a personal budget as well as assistance with forms and requirements for savings and banking. These skills will assist residents with the next steps in their transition from Dismas to the broader community. To secure their success, volunteers can guide residents through the personal budgeting and money management process by sharing a familiarity with personal budgets and the requirements to open and use checking or other bank accounts.

VOLUNTEER PROFILE:
Volunteers must demonstrate a familiarity with basic financial skills: how to open a banking account, how to read a statement, how to manage personal income and expenses in a straightforward way. Volunteers will be asked about their experience prior to working with residents. Ideal candidates are patient, enjoy teaching, and like working one-on-one (18+).

 

FINDING AND APPLYING FOR EMPLOYMENT

DESCRIPTION:
Dismas House aims to open up possibilities for residents to find gainful employment, with an emphasis on opportunities for personal and professional growth. We accomplish our goal through continued relationship building with local businesses, as well as networking for residents. To help secure their success, volunteers are asked to guide residents through the job search process by sharing a familiarity with local resources and practicing the skills needed for job applications (i.e. resume writing, interview tips, etc).

VOLUNTEER PROFILE:
Volunteers must demonstrate a familiarity with job application forms, the necessary identification, and basic writing skills. Ideal candidates are great listeners and have a willingness to share from their own experiences (18+).

 

MEDICAL, DENTAL AND VISION ISSUES

DESCRIPTION:
Dismas House residents may be provided assistance with establishing their personal medical and dental care providers. This would involve establishing a PCP and a dentist in order to set up a regular treatment plan. Volunteers will be available to offer assistance to residents privately, in person or virtually via Zoom. The purpose is to bolster the individual’s knowledge of the process and to build confidence in how to properly access to healthcare services (medical, dental, mental health, vision, hearing, physical fitness).

VOLUNTEER PROFILE:
Volunteers must demonstrate a familiarity with medical care and will be asked about their experience prior to working with residents. Ideal candidates are patient, enjoy teaching, encourage hands-on learning and like working one-on-one (must be age 18+).

 

MENTAL HEALTH AND COUNSELING RESOURCES

DESCRIPTION:
Dismas House residents may be provided assistance with locating and accessing mental health and counseling resources. Many residents struggle with addiction issues and some struggle with various mental health issues. Volunteers will be available to offer assistance to residents privately, in person or virtually via Zoom. The purpose is to bolster the individual’s knowledge of the process and to build confidence in how to properly access to mental health and counseling services.

VOLUNTEER PROFILE:
Volunteers must demonstrate a familiarity with mental health care, addiction or other counseling resources and will be asked about their experience prior to working with residents. Ideal candidates are patient, enjoy teaching, encourage hands-on learning and like working one-on-one (must be age 18+).

 

FINDING AND APPLYING FOR HOUSING

DESCRIPTION:
Dismas House aims to open up possibilities for residents to find gainful employment, with an emphasis on opportunities for personal and professional growth. We accomplish our goal through continued relationship building with local businesses, as well as networking for residents. To secure their success, volunteers can guide residents through the job search process by sharing a familiarity with local resources and practicing the skills needed for job applications (i.e. resume, interview, etc).

VOLUNTEER PROFILE:
Volunteers must demonstrate a familiarity with computers and will be asked about their experience prior to working with residents. Ideal candidates are patient, enjoy teaching, and like working one-on-one (18+).

 

GENERAL READING AND LITERACY SKILLS

DESCRIPTION:
In some cases, Dismas House residents have limited or no general literacy skills and would benefit from assistance both for personal and professional reasons. Volunteers can offer assistance to residents one-on-one, bolstering individual confidence and fostering relationships with community members.

VOLUNTEER PROFILE:
Volunteers must demonstrate a familiarity with computers and will be asked about their experience prior to working with residents. Ideal candidates are patient, enjoy teaching, and like working one-on-one (18+).

 

TRANSPORTATION

DESCRIPTION:
Residents of the Dismas House require transportation to medical appointments, job interviews and personal errands on an as-needed basis. Also, at times, depending on the particular situation, transportation to and from work.

VOLUNTEER PROFILE:
The volunteer driver must be over 18 years of age, hold a valid Driver’s License and must show proof of insurance. In the event of an accident, the volunteer driver’s insurance coverage would apply.