Home of the Sparrow’s volunteers make our community stronger and Chester County a better place to live in. But they might also be happier and healthier. A growing body of evidence shows that helping others improves our health, well-being and potentially increases our lifespan.
Over the past two decades, thousands of volunteers helped us to provide a safety net and support to women and children in Chester County who are in need of safe and affordable housing.
Catherine Twomey House
Between 2015 and 2016, more than 800 volunteers dedicated 8500 hours to Home of the Sparrow and the renovation of the Catherine Twomey House in Coatesville. The work was done almost entirely by volunteers from local companies, community groups and schools. In 32 workdays, they took down old structures within the four apartment units, basement and hallways and renovated them. The Catherine Twomey House is a welcoming place now, where Pre-Senior women between ages 55 to 62 can live safely and dignified until they find a permanent home.
Because of our volunteers, we are highly efficient
Our well-established volunteer program makes it possible for us to keep our overhead cost as low possible. Because of that, we can invest 83% of all donations directly into our programs. This is an excellent ratio that we are very proud of. Because of the volunteers who dedicate their time and skills every year, we can be highly efficient and focus on transforming the lives of women and children.
Volunteering may reduce high blood pressure and increase a person’s lifespan
There is no doubt that volunteering makes our community a better place. But there is a growing body of evidence that shows the benefits on our own physical and mental health. Volunteering is almost guaranteed to make us feel better. According to a study by the United Health Group in 2013, 94 percent of people who volunteered in the last twelve months said that volunteering improves their mood and 76 percent said that volunteering has made them feel healthier. The same study shows that 78 percent of people feel less stressed after they volunteer. A study by Carnegie Mellon University shows that volunteering may reduce high blood pressure and increase a person’s lifespan. In summary, helping others gives us a sense of belonging and it helps us to lead healthier, happier lives.
“It is truly incredible what young people manage to do in our community – you’d be surprised”
Volunteers help us in many different areas – administration, to maintain our facilities, hold fundraisers and family events and provide professional services to our clients. According to Ashley Stirling, Outreach Coordinator at Home of the Sparrow, there are more and more children and teenagers who want to volunteer. Last year, a young girl organized a 5k for Home of the Sparrow instead of celebrating her ninth birthday. She planned it all by herself because she wanted to give back instead of getting gifts. “It is truly incredible what young people manage to do in our community – you’d be surprised”, Ashley says.
For 2017, we have an exciting new initiative in the making. Mom’s Night Out is a collaboration between Home of the Sparrow and West Chester University’s Panhellenic Council. While members of the Panhellenic Council – many of them education majors watch the kids, single mothers in our programs get three hours to themselves. The women in our programs work incredibly hard to stay in their homes and we look forward to providing this opportunity once a month.
If you want to become part of the Home of the Sparrow family, please visit our volunteering page or get in touch with Outreach Coordinator Ashley Stirling at 610-647-4940 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks to our volunteers at:
- XL Catlin,
- Villa Maria
- Kennett Roteract
- Fox & Roach
- Grove United Methodist Church
- Upper Main Line Rotary
- Elizabeth Church
- Johnson & Johnson
- Sherwin Williams
- 4 Counties Garden Club
- Eerie Insurance
- Chatham Financial
- Representative Duane Milne
- Paoli Presbyterian Church
- Chester County Library
- Nota Bene Boutique
- Agnes Irwin School
- BNY Melon
- Nolen Companies