Chelsey Churchill, SEPTL’s April volunteer of the month, has a nearly contagious enthusiasm for volunteering with the tool library. She confesses to having told her husband that her goal when she became a volunteer was to be selected volunteer of the month some day.
Chelsey, who works as a house cleaner and part-time caregiver, volunteers for two and often three shifts per month at the SE Portland Tool Library. She discovered the library when her car broke down and she needed a timing light. Her employer suggested she try SEPTL to see if it might have the necessary tools to repair the timing light. When Chelsey investigated SEPTL’s website she noticed there was a request for volunteers and a way to sign up.
Chelsey admits this is the first time she has ever done any volunteer work, but she was drawn to help SEPTL members get the tools they need. She is so committed to assisting SEPTL members that she proposed to the SEPTL Board that she and her husband Joe open the tool library on Thursday nights to provide more hours to return and borrow tools. Her proposal was accepted gratefully and SEPTL will now welcome you Thursday nights from 5:30 to 7:00 pm through the end of July.
Chelsey says that one reason she wanted to open the tool library on Thursdays is that members often ask her why the library isn’t open more often. The answer, of course, is not enough volunteers.
When asked if she had any advice for people thinking of volunteering with SEPTL, Chelsey commented, “Don’t think too hard about it and don’t be intimidated.” She began with the tool library during the busy summer months and learned on the job with the help of more experienced volunteers.
Part of volunteering with SEPTL is just learning to think creatively as opposed to knowing a lot about tools. She gives the example of a man who was building a doll house and needed some tiny clamps. Together they searched through the library until Chelsey suggested using clothes pins which the doll house maker thought was genius.
Chelsey mentioned that one day when feeling somewhat depressed she rode her bike to the tool library and sat next to it even though it wasn’t open. Just being near the tool library, as well as being part of its success, lifted Chelsey’s mood.
SEPTL members can stop in on Thursdays and personally thank Chelsey for her great commitment to the Southeast Portland Tool Library and perhaps catch some of her enthusiasm themselves.
Thanks again, Chelsey!
– Barbara McLean