How does DreamBuilders determine where their work is done each year?
Each fall, the DreamBuilders leadership team develops a list of target destinations for the following year. Potential destinations are areas impacted by recent natural disasters (hurricanes, tornadoes, forest fires, etc.) DreamBuilders travels to New Orleans once a year, because bulding needs--Post-Katrina--remain huge. Based on consensus, one or more of the target destinations are selected for further consideration. We assemble a scouting team to investigate the target destination.
A "Scouting Team" is several adults and/or teens who travel together (at their own expense) to the destination to meet with the local organization and evaluate feasibility. We attempt to complete all scouting trips prior to the end of the calendar year. The scouting teams then present their recommendations to the full leadership team for a decision.
What do you look for when considering a destination?
What is a "blitz build?"
1. Need. DreamBuilders is dedicated to helping those who can not recover from disasters on their own.
2. Safety. Is the location free of crime and potential health hazards
3. Readiness. Is the destination in its reconstruction phase? It can take more than a year for some locations to remove debris and rebuild the infrastructure to support new construction.
4. Volunteer lodging. Is there sufficient accommodation for the volunteers?
5. "Boots on the ground." Is there a local organization that handles the identification and selection of families in need? Do they have the property for the home construction? Do they have experience construction supervisors? Do they have the funds to purchase the materials?
6. Obstacles. Are there minimum age restrictions on the team members?
Do I have to belong to a congregation if I want to volunteer?
A blitz build is considered an attempt to start and complete a house in five days. Essentially, a blitz is to accomplish as much as possible in those five days, starting with a foundation. Sometimes the availability and timing of inspections and supply deliveries can hinder the progress. DreamBuilders has worked on many blitz build weeks and actually did participate in a build where the family moved in on Friday afternoon after starting with just the foundation on Monday morning.
No, but if we are only able to accommodate a small number on a mission trip, we will let our DreamBuilders congregations have the first opportunity to register before we open it up to others. Also, we always travel with 2/3 teens and 1/3 adults. We will start a wait list when we reach our 2/3 teen number.
What is the minimum age for youth/teens to participate?
Teens must be in 7th grade or older to participate in one of our local projects (ARC of Howard County or our Baltimore project). Teens must have completed 9th grade to go on a mission trip.
What skills do I need in order to work on a project?
No specific skills are needed, just a willingness to learn. We always have experienced missioners (adults and teens) who share their knowledge and skills with the other missioners. Each organization that we work with has construction supervisors who guide and teach the volunteers. We usually work in small teams and each team is led by an experienced adult or teen missioner. Observing our safety rules is a must.
If donating or paying by check, to whom shall I write a check? Are donations tax-exempt?
Make all checks payable to ST MARK'S EPISCOPAL CHURCH (not DreamBuilders). We are a non-profit organization as designated by the United States Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. § 501(c)) You should consult your tax advisor to determine eligibility of your donation.
What tools will I need to bring?
Usually our tool list includes a sturdy tool belt (not the canvas tie-string kind that you get for $2 at the hardware store), hammer, tape measure, carpenter's square, pencils, and safety glasses. On our mission trips, the sites are usually well-equipped with ladders, saws, power tools, nails, etc. Hard hats are required for some tasks on the work site and it is always nice to have your own hard hat. DreamBuilders will sell hard hats and safety glasses at our pre-trip meeting.
How can my congregation become a member of DreamBuilders?
We are always willing to expand our membership. We ask that any congregation wishing to join, supply 3-4 committed volunteers for the DreamBuilders leadership team and actively participate in our fundraising.
What is the leadership team and what does it do?
The DreamBuilders leadership team consists of adult (and sometimes teen) volunteers from each of the participating congregations. The leadership team meets regularly throughout the year (usually monthly). As mentioned above, the leadership team determines target destinations for mission trips and sends scouting teams to explore. Once the scouting reports are in, the leadership team decides where to go and organizes and conducts an annual general information meeting to announce the year's program. The leadership team performs all of the necessary administrative tasks (e.g. registration, finances) and arranges for air and ground transportation, lodging, meals, worship, extra curricular activities, etc and conducts pre-trip meetings. They also interact regularly with the local organizations, sometimes via conference call. An advance team arrives 1-2 days prior to the missioners to ensure everything on the ground is ready for their arrival. The leadership team conducts a debrief following each trip and discusses lessons learned that will help improve the experience of all the missioners.
The leadership team also organizes local weekend projects, often doing prep work on weeknights before a weekend project. Members of the leadership team also provide the lunches and snacks for the weekend projects. Fundraising is always important and members of the leadership team frequently brainstorm about ways to raise money for our projects. More often than not, a fundraising effort is led by one of our leaders.
The DreamBuilders leadership team welcomes anyone who would like to join us. Contact