Lincoln Academy student volunteers who helped with window inserts as part of CHIP Community Cares Day are, from left: junior Allison Roberts, senior Violet Duong, junior Jake Kaiser, senior Jaqueline Pelletier, senior An Kha, senior Nandi Gero, senior Henry Dang, junior Arsen Mikaelyan, senior Coco Sánchez, senior Delane Le, senior Margaret Duong

The buzzing of saws, drills and chatter could be heard from Lincoln Academy’s ATEC building on Saturday morning as student and adult volunteers gathered to participate in Community Cares Day, a day of service organized by the Community Housing Improvement Project (CHiP). Students from Lincoln Academy’s Residential Life Program and several day students joined with adult community volunteers at project sites across Lincoln County. This year the group built insulating window inserts for eight homes participating in CHiP’s fuel assistance programs. The inserts reduce fuel consumption and can be used year after year to help keep families safe and warm throughout the winter.

“It was a great experience to volunteer and help people from our community,” said Coco Sánchez, a senior in Lincoln Academy’s Residential Life program from Spain. “Volunteering is always enriching and a good opportunity to help people with not as many resources.”

LA staff Ryan Wynn and Sarah Kennedy offered a training workshop on August 30 for volunteers who were interested in stepping into leadership roles, providing instruction on design, tool safety, and construction. These student leaders in turn were group leaders for the big work day on Saturday, September 9. This is the 5th year Lincoln Academy has hosted window insert construction at ATEC and the 7th year LA’s Residential Life program has volunteered with CHiP at the start of the school year.
Kennedy also serves as a volunteer board member for CHiP and looks forward to this hands-on project every year. “I love this project because so many people can get involved in one day. The students learn how to use power tools and build a finished insert,” said Kennedy. “They especially enjoy building the wooden frames. It can be a little tedious to attach the plastic film and shrink it with a hairdryer, but the students learn some great new skills and understand they are making a finished product that will help others.”

This year’s student volunteers were also joined by adult volunteers from the community including Brad Craig, Mary Piasecki, Brittany Gill, Darcy Austin and Jim Austin from CHiP, and Maya Crosby and Jake Abbott from Lincoln Academy. “It was great fun to be included in this project and I learned a few things about woodworking as well,” said Piasecki who joined the group as an adult volunteer for the second year in a row. “Watching these young people address themselves to the task, parsing out the measuring, cutting and assembly jobs without assistance from the adults in the room was heartening to see. A great teamwork project!”

CHiP and Lincoln Academy extend special thanks to Hancock Lumber for their generous donation of materials and Round Top Ice Cream for a sweet treat to celebrate at the end of a hot volunteer day.

Lincoln Academy will host additional opportunities for volunteers to build insulating window inserts for CHiP this fall. For more information or to join as a volunteer, please contact Sarah Kennedy