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All Hands and Hearts

About

All Hands and Hearts efficiently and effectively addresses the immediate and long-term needs of communities impacted by disasters. By listening to local people, and deploying our unique model of engaging volunteers to enable direct impact, we rebuild safe, resilient schools, homes and other community infrastructure.

Through volunteer and community engagement, we aim to help families recover faster after natural disasters using our “smart response” strategy. By rebuilding in a disaster resilient way, we prepare them for future events and, through the process, strengthen both volunteers and communities.

Reviews

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Dionte
7/10
No, I don't recommend this program

the bigger picture

My overall experience with the all hands and hearts hurricane laura relief program in Louisiana was pretty interesting i must say i had a couple of problems with two of the team leaders. When i left the program the best part of the program was the volunteering, this program taught me that its not about the people your staying with but its about the people you are helping and thats the big picture i will be volunteering with all hands again but unfortunately not this program.

What was your funniest moment?
When i was walking to the van and my shoe strings locked together and i tripped.
Response from All Hands and Hearts

Hi Dionte,

Thank you for sharing this feedback. I'm sorry to learn you did not have an entirely positive experience on this program. We aim to provide a safe and inclusive environment for all of our volunteers, and I'm disappointed to learn this is how you felt about our Hurricane Laura Program. If you would like to discuss this issue more please reach out to volunteer@allhandsandhearts.org and a member of our team will be in touch to listen to your concerns.

Despite there being challenges, I'm pleased to learn that you found the fieldwork positive and impactful. I hope that any negative interactions do not prevent you from rejoining one of our programs in the future.

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Denise
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I had a great experience

I have volunteered with All Hands and Hearts in other places and can say that going to Louisiana was one of my better experiences. The accommodation is communal. However, the facility is clean, spacious, has great showers, a place to cook, and is comfortable. The staff on the program are great. They ensure that volunteers are taking care of. They also provide activities for volunteers to do. The volunteers are provided food 5 days a week which is great. The staff will take you to the store if you need grocery items. If you would like to go somewhere on the weekends, there is a way to get around. If the staff are available, they will take you or you can get a Lyft. I really enjoyed my time here and especially love the work they are doing on homes.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
At this program, they are rebuilding homes that were affected by the hurricane. So, there are many tools that I had to learn how to use. One of the tools was a circular saw. I really didn't want to use any type of saw since my friend had recently cut off his finger using a saw. Needless to say, I was scared. The staff member was patient and demonstrated how to use the saw. Afterwards, the staff member had me use the saw while guiding me through the process. I was very relieved afterwards that I overcame my fear.
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Anthony
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Absolutely great experience

I have volunteered with All Hands previously and had great experiences but I have to say that this was the best staff so far. The staff are personable, helpful, knowledgeable, and overall great people. I miss them so much!

During my time in Louisiana I felt that I helped out, contributed, and learned new skills, but also met amazing people. Only if you are an amazing person who wants to volunteer for the right reasons (because I am feeling very protective of this organization and of these people) run, don’t walk, and pull your voluntrigger.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I would have planned to stay longer. I wish I was still there honestly.
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Joél
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A Wonderful Way to Meet Wonderful People

I have been numerous All Hands and Hearts programs and each time is a life-changing experience. The ability to help people in need, while being surrounded by the best people from around the world, is why I keep coming back to these programs. The most fulfilling programs for me are the ones where you get to meet and work alongside the people affected by the disaster. It's a powerful experience to join with the community and help them rebuild their lives.

I can't wait to get back out to another program now that I'm vaccinated!

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Alexander
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

DM12 Bahamas

This has definitely been one of the highlights of the year! One of the best decisions I’ve made! It’s truly amazing to be surrounded with like minded people who share a passion of volunteer service. By interacting with the local community, you really get a true sense of the work your doing and the immediate impact it’s having on the people. The program not only challenges you but provides opportunities for constant learning and growing outside of your comfort zone. A little work, a little play and a little fun make for a great experience! Highly recommended!

Programs

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Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Chloe Wheeler

Job Title
Volunteer Engagement Coordinator
To promote and facilitate fundraising for the program.

What is your favorite travel memory?

My favorite travel memory was when I was given the opportunity to come out to Los Angeles. Despite there being a pandemic, I have been given the chance to travel and be a part of the solution. I have gotten to see a new part of the world while providing COVID-19 relief. Most people are not given that opportunity, especially with free airfare.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

The way I have changed/grown since working for All Hands and Hearts is that I have become much more confident due to the support from the organization and coworkers. They fully believe in me and my capabilities which empowers me to remind myself that they're right and I can do this. I have accomplished more than I ever expected in this position.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

I just love that so many people have volunteered before and multiple times. For example, one volunteer here on the program currently is their 6th project! People fall in love with All Hands and Hearts and will jump from one project to the next. What I also love is that people who may have not had the best time on a certain program still give others a chance. They don't let one bad experience ruin All Hands and Hearts for them.

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

I would go on any of the programs that All Hands and Hearts however, I am interested in helping out with the Australia wildfires. That was a dream opportunity for me, personally. Traveling to a new part of the world and helping that community out is all I want to do with my life. I am so thankful All Hands and Hearts allows for me to actually achieve this goal of mine.

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

I do happen to live where I work which can be difficult but most of the time, I love the opportunity to gives to connect with your coworkers and volunteers. I'm especially proud my team for being so resilient. Lots of ups and downs, yet we have always stuck together and found solutions for any situation.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

Networking and support are absolutely crucial to being successful. Especially in my specific role of fundraising, those connections are what actually gets people to raise money for the organization. That just boils down to the people. The people are the ones that make this a successful organization.

Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Jessica Thompson

Job Title
All Hands' Director of Volunteer Coordination
Jess Thompson is All Hands and Hearts' Training and Development Manager. She helps make sure staff and volunteers have the training they need to be efficient and effective in the field.
Director of Volunteer Coordination

Did you volunteer abroad? If so, where and what inspired you to go?

I volunteered with All Hands for 16 months in Indonesia and Haiti before becoming staff. Like all of our volunteers, I was driven to help those who need support following the impact of a natural disaster

As with a large number of our alumni I signed up for just a couple of weeks but the work was so meaningful, my fellow volunteers so inspirational and the communities so welcoming I found I didn't want to leave. In the last five years I have now been to 17 projects, and a part of many more from my desk at home, and seeing communities being supported on the road to recovery is as satisfying as it was my first week on the ground as a volunteer.

What does the future hold for All Hands Volunteers - any exciting new programs to share?

As a disaster response organization it is impossible for us to predict where and when our next project will be. We have cleaned up after floods, rebuilt after typhoons, cleared debris after tornados and shoveled snow after the historical snowstorms that hit the Boston area this year.

If local mechanisms, agencies and individuals are overwhelmed by the scale of the damage All Hands will look at ways that volunteers can plug in and fill the gaps, whether this mean winterizing homes in Colorado or building boats in Samar. We're always looking for unmet needs in the communities we serve and how we can use the motivation and dedication of our volunteers to address them.

Do your volunteers require certain qualifications or go through a training process?

All Hands is committed to enabling motivated people to assist communities affected by natural disasters. We try to remove as many barriers to participation as possible so that our volunteer population is as diverse and innovative as possible.

We do not require our volunteers to have any special skills or previous experience, and there is no minimum or maximum amount of time you must sign up for. If you have the time and ability to travel to the location of our of our projects, and we have space, you're in! Our Team Leaders will share their expertise with you, making sure you have all the information and techniques you need to have a positive and productive time in the field.

What is the level of cultural immersion your volunteers receive?

All of our projects involve lots of interaction with the local community. We welcome local residents as volunteers, and many projects hire a large local workforce to help us with highly skilled tasks such as translation and construction.

You'll also work side by side with the homeowners and beneficiaries you're assisting, clearing basements of debris, building houses, cutting down and removing fallen trees and so on. Outside of the workday, you are free to explore the area as much as you'd like, eating in mom and pop restaurants, riding local transport and getting roped into the local sport of choice - your skill level is irrelevant!