How do I become a volunteer at Unity House?
Start by completing a Volunteer Application and come to a Volunteer Information Session at The Front Door, our main building at 2431 Sixth Avenue in Troy. Held monthly, these sessions are a chance to learn about volunteer opportunities throughout Unity House, tour the Front Door and ask questions. The volunteer information session is for learning about volunteering. There is no obligation to volunteer in attending an information session.
For volunteer groups, we ask that at least one main contact person attend the volunteer information session and coordinate a group project with our Volunteer Coordinator at volunteer@unityhouseNY.org or (518) 274-2607 ext. 4135
What does Unity House do? Unity House is a non-profit human services agency. Unity House is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for people living in poverty, adults with mental illness, victims of domestic violence, children with developmental delays and their families, people living with HIV/AIDS and others whose needs can effectively be met by Unity House services and philosophy.
For more detailed information on the history of Unity House, please go to the “about us” section of our website. You can also learn more about Unity House philosophy, programs and services by attending a volunteer information session. This hour long information session does not obligate you to volunteer in any way. It is a chance to hear about Unity House programs and services, to learn about the volunteer opportunities throughout Unity House and a chance to ask questions.
Do people live here at The Front Door, the community resource center at 2431 Sixth Avenue in Troy? No, there are no residences at the Front Door. It is a community resource center. In 2013 Unity House opened The Front Door and consolidated many services under one roof. The name, The Front Door, conveys the value of offering dignity to people living in poverty. Often offered back-door treatment, people living in poverty deserve respect and compassion so they may have dignity and hope.
Currently the Front Door is the location for programs such as community resources including our thrift store, food pantry, community meals, laundry/shower facilities, library and recreation room, job search and employment coaching with financial literacy support. Also, housing support services and case management, the administrative offices including human resources, finance and development departments. Both the Unity Sunshine Daycare and Preschool and the Unity House Domestic Violence Services Program are located at their own locations. There are volunteer opportunities throughout Unity House.
How much time do I have to commit to volunteering at Unity House? Some projects are one-time, a few hours. Others are more sustained. The amount of time you or your group commit depends on what job you would like to do. You can learn more by attending a Volunteer Information Session, usually held monthly. Again, you can also call our Volunteer Desk at (518) 274-2607 ext. 4135.
What kind of volunteer opportunities are there? There are many different ways to serve. Example jobs might be one-time cleanup or organization projects, office tasks, kitchen jobs, enrichment programs or even off-site work you can do on your own. You can learn more by attending a Volunteer Information Session or calling our Volunteer Desk.
Is there an age restriction? Children under the age of 18 must be supervised by an adult and may be restricted from certain activities that are not suitable. In certain situations children ages 10-16 may be restricted, and younger children are limited. For safety, we ask that parents be with their young children at all times. Please contact the Volunteer Coordinator about appropriate jobs for young children. No one under the age of 14 is permitted to work in the kitchen.
I want my young children to volunteer with me, what can they do? Volunteer opportunities at Unity House are limited for young children. Offsite options for families with young children who want to volunteer might include conducting a drive among family and neighbors for needed items such as food or toiletries, conducting a toy and book drive at holiday time, or donating gently used toys/clothes to Sojourner Place, our shelter for victims of domestic violence. We applaud families who volunteer with young children and make every effort to make the volunteer experience for young children a rewarding one. We can offer age-appropriate tours of some programs and thank children, letting them know how much we value their service and what an important part of our community they are.
Can I volunteer with my family or friends? Yes! There are volunteer opportunities for groups of all sizes. Jobs range from outdoor lawn cleanups to painting projects, to cooking in our community meals program to stocking in our food pantry.
What kind of volunteer opportunities do you have for groups? Groups can serve in many ways. Come to a Volunteer Information Session to learn more or contact our Volunteer Desk.
Are there evening and weekend volunteer opportunities? Yes, there are volunteer opportunities to meet all schedules. Consider attending a Volunteer Information Session and meet with our Volunteer Coordinator to learn more.
I am mandated to complete volunteer service, can you help me? Please call Diane Cameron Pascone, Director of Development at (518) 274-2607 ext. 4133.
Where can I find information on internships at Unity House? Unity House works with local schools for students interested in doing an internship. Check with your school’s intern office to see if there are opportunities at Unity House. If your internship requires credentialed oversight, please call the Volunteer Desk at (518) 274- 2607 ext, 4135.
Is there a dress code for volunteering? Yes, each program has requirements specific to program and job. For example, you must wear closed-toed shoes in many spaces and in the kitchen for Bethany, our community meals program, you must wear a hair net, which we will provide. Generally, we ask that you come in clothes you can comfortably move around in.
Do you perform a background check on volunteers?
Yes. All volunteers must complete a volunteer application, attend a volunteer orientation and submit to a background check. In addition, volunteers must meet with our Volunteer Coordinator for an interview.
Can I claim benefits while I volunteer? Check with your provider on eligibility.
What if I don’t like my volunteer work? There are many volunteer job opportunities at Unity House and you can change jobs. If a job is not for you, we will help you find another opportunity. In addition, our Volunteer Desk can refer you to an organization that may be better suited to your skill set.
What if there is a problem while I am volunteering? Volunteers are not expected to solve problems on their own. Talk to your manager where you are volunteering. You can also talk to the Volunteer Coordinator about any problems. Unity House also offers a grievance procedure, should you have a problem you wish to address in a more formal manner. We strive to provide resources to ensure volunteers have a safe, worthwhile experience in our programs while adding value.
Can I volunteer from home? Most jobs are on site, at a Unity House program or office. If you are interested in working from home, there are opportunities throughout the year to solicit goods or services that will benefit Unity House programs and events. Contact our Volunteer Desk at (518) 274-2607 ext. 4135 to learn more.
Do you offer counseling? No. Unity House offers case management services for adults living with mental illness or chronic medical conditions. While counseling may be a part of an individual’s wellness plan, Unity House does not provide that service.
If I volunteer in in a food program, can I bring in food I’ve prepared at home? No, food served at Unity House must be prepared on site. If you or your group are interested in cooking a meal to serve, it is recommended that at least one member of your group attend our volunteer information session. Then, should you wish to proceed, plan your service with our Volunteer Coordinator. Again, the volunteer information session is for informational purposes. There is no obligation to volunteer.
Do you have a question or concern that is not addressed here? Contact our Volunteer Desk at (518) 274-2607, ext. 4135 or at volunteer@unityhouseNY.org.
Any other questions not covered here? PLEASE, reach out to us, your questions help us make our Volunteer Program better!
Thank you for considering Unity House for your volunteer time. We consider volunteers vital to our success and are grateful for your interest.