My husband called me out the other day because I hadn’t actually volunteered once this year. My goal is to volunteer once a week, but it probably ends up being a couple of times a month. I’m starting to make up for my laziness this week. Tomorrow, I’m doing my usual shift at City House, and today I helped build a ramp with the Dallas Ramp Project through the Random Acts of Kindness Meetup group.
The Dallas Ramp Project builds more than 240 ramps per year with all volunteer labor for people identified by the City of Dallas, social services organizations, and hospitals. They work on the second and third Saturdays and the last Monday of each month.
They are now part of the Texas Ramp Project, which builds ramps all over Texas and even in Oklahoma City.
I would not call myself a handy person and had no experience before I attended my first ramp build. The leaders are good about teaching you what you need to do.
We met at the warehouse near the Galleria around 7:45 to split into groups. (They meet an hour earlier during the summer.) The group leaders split us up and put the lumber into their trucks, and then we drove to our respective build sites. Today they were building five ramps all over the metroplex. Ours was near Fair Park. One girl drove by herself because she needed to go somewhere afterwards, but I rode with a couple of other volunteers.
We unloaded the wood and tools, which the group leader brought, and the more experienced guys started measuring and laying everything out. They cut all the wood, so basically, all I had to do was put screws wherever the guys pointed using the cordless drill. They showed me the best technique for using the drill. I wasn’t perfect, but it was fine. It took 8 of us about 3.5 hours to build a big, awesome ramp.
Afterwards, we showed the ramp to the recipient, a double amputee. He seemed to like it. He wasn’t as chatty as the lady at my last build, but I think it will do him some good. I don’t know how he was getting down his steps before.
I know my hand is going to be sore tomorrow from squeezing the drill, but it wasn’t very hard work. There was some lifting and a lot of bending over.
Our team lead said that, although there are sometimes too many volunteers on Saturday, there sometimes aren’t enough, and people have to wait longer to get the ramps they need. So they could use your help. He said you don’t have to sign up in advance. Just show up!