Would you like to engineer a dream for someone?
Sometimes, a device is all that stands in the way of an individual with a disability achieving independence or pursuing their passion. And when that device is not available in the marketplace, that’s when May We Help steps in. May We Help volunteers design, build, and deliver custom devices at no cost to hundreds of clients every year.
The team consists of approximately 75 engineers, industrial designers, inventors, welders, woodworkers, seamstresses, doctors, OTs, PTs, and makers and thinkers of all types. The general sentiment of a May We Help volunteer is best summed up by this volunteer who said,
“There’s nothing as satisfying as using my skill set to help others.”
And while at many non-profits, volunteers assist the staff to see through the organization’s mission, at May We Help, the staff exists to support the work of the volunteers. Better still, the founders remain two of the organization’s key workhorses.
At May We Help, there are always opportunities to do some good for someone else. Here are some of them:
Some May We Help projects require high levels of technical sophistication but others do not. Sometimes, a creative approach is all that’s needed to bring a smile to someone’s face.
Here’s one example! In this case, a team of volunteers mounted a pair of crocs to a set of bike handlebars for a child who’s missing his thumbs and fingers and needed an alternative way to hold the handlebars. [pics].
In addition, maybe you don’t have a technical skillset now, or maybe you do but it needs a little polishing up. If that’s the case, May We Help offers classes to volunteers who want to learn how to use the equipment in the shop or improve their existing skills.
And if working on projects isn’t your thing but assisting at May We Help is, we’re always looking for people who want to help with cooking for the volunteer meetings or helping out with events like our Adaptive Equipment Swap [w/ link], Halloween
Festival [w/ link?] and fundraising events.
- Project Timelines
The length of time it takes to complete a project varies greatly, and there are many factors that can impact project completion. May We Help volunteers are expected to assess each project on an individual basis to determine a 30, 60, or 90 day completion timeline. This serves as a guide to ensure that the projects are staying on track and moving along as intended.
May We Help volunteers are expected to have frequent and timely communication with clients from the start of a project through delivery. Communication and collaboration with the client is essential to each phase of the project process. Additionally, volunteers are asked to remain in regular contact with the Project Manager and provide project status updates via email at least two times per month.
Volunteers are expected to provide project completion information which includes; the number of hours, pictures of the device, receipts for materials, and if available drawings and/or description of the design concept.
We leave it up to the volunteers to decide if they would like to work independently or as part of a team. Sometimes it is dependent on the size/complexity of the project and diversity of skills needed to complete it. Collaboration and teamwork is an important part of the May We Help process!
- After submitting the volunteer application, volunteers are required to complete a background check prior to beginning work at MWH. Background checks are completed through Goodhire.com and the initial cost of $20 is the responsibility of the volunteer. After one year of volunteering at May We Help and having completed at least one solution, May We Help can reimburse the $20.
- Volunteers must attend a one-time orientation, workshop overview, and safety course.
- Before taking on a project, all new volunteers will be paired with a seasoned volunteer for at least one or two projects in order to experience each step of the project process, from discovery to delivery.
- Once volunteers feel comfortable with the May We Help project process, they will be able to work on projects independently or as part of a team.
May We Help is able to pay for project materials through the generous donations of its individual donors and corporate partners.
Chris & Janet Garner