Barbara Cooper has been volunteering at the administrative office of Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity since January 2016. We recently sat down with Barb to learn about her volunteer experience.
Habitat: Why did you decide to volunteer for Asheville Area Habitat?
Barb: Habitat’s mission connected with me on a personal level, and I wanted to give back the hope and help I was thankful enough to receive since I’ve been in WNC. Asheville has become a new start – a safe place – for my daughter and I, and I wanted to be a part of the journey of making that happen for others.
Habitat: What does a typical volunteer shift look like for you?
Barb: I volunteer every Thursday from 11am to 3pm at the front desk in the administrative building. The day always flies by so quickly. I am answering phones and directing inquiries, filing paperwork, inputting information into spreadsheets, and sending out thank you postcards to donors. Sometimes I help out on special projects staff members asked me to do… and always with a smile on my face!
Habitat: How do you spend your time when you’re not volunteering with Asheville Area Habitat?
Barb: I am enjoying my retirement. For the most part, I spend free time with my family because they are the most important people to me. I’m also in the process of training for a 5K race in September. Please wish me luck, I’ll need it!
Habitat: Do you have a specific story from volunteering that stands out to you?
Barb: One particular Thursday, there was a big group of people meeting in the large conference room. Needless to say, there was a lot of traffic in the ladies and men’s restrooms. Evidently, one of the men’s bathrooms got backed up, and one of the members from the meeting came to me and reported the problem. I asked him if there was a plunger and he said he didn’t see one. So I took it upon myself to go in and rectify the situation. When the men’s bathroom was fixed, I went back to my desk to do more work for an hour. Then a woman came to me and told me the ladies restroom had a similar issue. I just chuckled to myself and marched back in to the bathroom to resolve that problem. Once that was done, I went back to my desk and told my supervisor about what had transpired. She laughed, thanked me for what I did, and said “It was not in your job description. You went over and beyond the call of duty.” As you can imagine, that’s one memory I will never forget!
Habitat: How do you see your volunteering as a part of Habitat’s mission to “bring people together to build homes, communities, and hope”?
Barb: Habitat’s mission is extraordinary, and I have the privilege of being a part of it. My job as a volunteer in the administration building is to be open, welcoming, receptive, and kind. I connect with people, as well as direct inquiries and provide educational material if they ask for it. I might be the very first person they see on their journey to a new home and a new life. If I can give them hope and put a smile on their face, I believe I will continue to play a positive role in Habitat’s mission.
Habitat: How has volunteering at Habitat impacted you?
Barb: Habitat has given me an opportunity to grow as a person by giving back to the community. I truly look forward to every Thursday because I know the work I do makes a positive difference. Also, I’m very thankful I found Habitat because it’s been an amazing platform that has helped me develop and utilize my clerical skills.
Habitat: What would you say to someone who is considering volunteering at Asheville Habitat?
Barb: I would say go for it! My experience has been nothing but positive and I imagine the same can be said for anyone else that begins volunteering at Asheville Habitat.
Today, we’re thanking Barb for her commitment to Asheville Area Habitat and her service to everyone who enters Habitat’s doors in the pursuit of decent and affordable housing.
Interested in volunteering with us? Click here to learn more or sign up.