Volunteer Spotlight

Story by Jessica Carreras

July 21, 2017

Volunteer Partner Spotlight: Coalition For Temporary Shelter

People volunteer at Coalition On Temporary Shelter

At the Coalition On Temporary Shelter (COTS), parents and caregivers in need of housing for their family get much more than a roof over their heads—they receive assistance with finding permanent housing, getting an education and becoming self-sufficient.

The shelter houses about 45 families at a time, and the average family brings in three or four children. They also offer early Head Start childcare, GED certification and other classes, and activities for the families. Their main facility is in downtown Detroit.

“We work with families to find quality housing. We don’t put a time limit on that,” explains COTS Chief Development Officer Frankie Piccirilli.

But with extensive services comes big demands on staff. That’s why COTS turned to the United Way online volunteer portal to grow their volunteer base and fill urgent needs.

“Volunteers are very crucial to COTS,” says Volunteer and Stewardship Coordinator Konah Kolleh. “We’re focused on our day-to-day operations, and volunteers help us be hands-on with our families that are here.

“We’re only so many people, and the volunteers really help make a difference.”

COTS most critical volunteer need is for a child care assistant to help supervise children while parents are taking part in classes at the center.

“The volunteers play a key role in allowing our parents to participate in classes. We really want the parents to be fully engaged in those conversations,” explains Konah.

Child care assistants are needed several times during the week on an ongoing basis. Click here to apply for the position. 

Volunteer opportunities

Volunteers are also needed at COTS to help with meal service and do a variety of projects, such as hosting workshops, mentoring residents or hosting donation drives. Social, corporate and religious groups are also welcome, and should reach out to Konah directly at kkolleh@cotsdetroit.org.

The team at COTS stresses that volunteers make a difference in the lives of parents looking to get their family’s life back on track. And most volunteers find the experience to be very rewarding for them, too.

Chief Strategy and Learning Officer Delphia Simmons added that she often sees volunteers able to put their emotions into their work at COTS in a way they can’t at their day-to-day jobs.

“There are people with enormous talent, and this is a great opportunity for them,” she says. “They can bring their heart and their passion to it.

“If you have passion, bring it here to COTS.”

United Way’s new volunteer portal connects volunteers in Southeastern Michigan with hundreds of opportunities that fit their skills and interests. Find your perfect opportunity at LiveUnitedSEM.GalaxyDigital.com.