CAHA volunteer coordinator love his job
December 2, 2004
Jeff Coulam, of Carson City, is the new family and volunteer coordinator for Citizens for Affordable Homes Inc. The 24-year-old Carson City man will graduate from the University of Nevada, Reno with a bachelor’s degree in psychology in May.
He is fluent in Spanish.
CAHI is a nonprofit housing development organization and Nevada’s leading builder of self-help homes.
For a family to qualify from the program, it must meet low-income guidelines. Each family must put 35 hours a week into constructing its home and contribute 65 percent of the labor. CAHI organizes volunteers to assist the families.
What do you do at Citizens for Affordable Homes Inc.?
I keep track of the families’ hours. I also go on the job site, and while there, I make sure everything is going smoothly. If families have any conflicts or problems, they tell me.
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I’m a mediator between the families and the construction supervisor. I also mediate between the job site and CAHI.
As the volunteer coordinator, what I do is help recruit volunteers to come out on the job site and help families build their homes. I also keep track of the volunteers’ hours.
Why did you come to work here?
I thought it’d be a great opportunity. I went into psychology to work with people, and I could do that here. I can interface with families building homes. It’s great to see the families accomplish something that great.
What is one thing you’ve learned about sacrifice since taking this job?
One of the big things is that the families have to work 35 hours a week to build their homes.
I can imagine they are exhausted doing that after working a full-time job. That’s a big sacrifice on their part. But it’s rewarding.
Do you have a family?
I’ve been married to Amanda for about 21Ú2 years, and we’re expecting our first child in April. If it’s a boy, we’ll name him Jacob; if a girl, Molly. My family lives in Gardnerville, but they’re moving here soon. My wife’s family is in Carson City.
What are your educational and professional goals?
My first educational goal is just to graduate. And as for career goals, just enjoy this job. I’d like to go to graduate school to pursue psychology further. I really love this job.
Who do you most admire?
I admire my dad, Dale, just because he’s taught me everything. And my wife because of the wonderful example she is to me.
You spent two years in Guayaquil, Ecuador, as a Latter-day Saints missionary. How was that experience?
That was a great experience. I was able to learn about a totally different culture and people.
The experiences I had there were awesome, such as just seeing people improve their lives, even if they accepted my message or not.
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