About 400 lawyers rolled up their sleeves to work on a Fuller Center project in the Lakewood Heights area last Saturday in partnership with Hands On Atlanta.
Hands On Atlanta is a branch of the HandsOn network, which matches service organizations such as The Fuller Center for Housing with volunteers. The network consists of 250 organizations across 16 countries.
“Hands On is a facilitator for community service,” Mark Galey, director of The Fuller Center of Greater Atlanta, said. “It’s a really great partnership. They handle most of the administrative work.”
The local Hands On network also provided the team of high-profile volunteers and tools for this particular Fuller Center project, which consists of renovating and beautifying five homes in the Lakewood Heights community in Atlanta for families in need.
Typically, corporations pay Hands On Atlanta a fee to match their employees with a project hosted by a non-profit or civic group in the community for a day. This not only helps serve a need within the community, but also helps spread the word about these services by creating a three-fold marketing opportunity for the group hosting the project, the volunteers and Hands On.
Though the scope of the project was too large for volunteers to complete in just one day, Galey said the lawyers made tangible progress on Saturday.
“There’s no physical way they could’ve completed everything,” he said. “But they did a lot of work on landscaping, and when the volunteers left, I can assure you they saw a difference.”
Ensuring that the volunteers leave with a sense of accomplishment is a crucial aspect of the partnership, as Hands On always surveys the volunteers for feedback on their experience.
“Depending on the feedback we get, that will dictate how many volunteers we get in the future. Hands On was in Lakewood last year and brought two large groups … so we know we got good feedback,” Galey said. “We want to make it a pleasant experience where people want to come back. A lot of it has to do with the story behind the project … if volunteers don’t have a connection, they won’t come back.“
The Fuller Center of Greater Atlanta’s partnership with Hands On Atlanta began in 2008, when they worked on tornado recovery projects together. Other Fuller Center covenant partners have experienced success working with Hands On, including Greenwood/Leflore in Mississippi.
“Since then we’ve become associates with their staff members because of the work we do,” Galey said. “I view the Hands On partnership as an extension of what we’re doing.”
Building relationships with Hands On staff members is something Galey strongly encourages other Fuller Center Covenant Partners to do as well, calling it a “no-brainer.”
“Leaders of the Covenant Partner will get burned out if they try to do it themselves. Hands On can be a marketing arm for a Covenant Partner … they’ll provide volunteers, resources, huge marketing opportunities, and will help spread the word. They do a lot of work,” he said. “If a CP has a project, present it to Hands On, and see where it can lead. See how it can affect people."