Local Coordinators Experience – A Conversation with Kit Lane

WindowDressers had the pleasure of speaking with Kit Lane, the Local Coordinator for the Ellsworth Community Build. This year marks Ellsworth’s sixth Community Build since 2017 and Kit’s sixth year volunteering as the Local Coordinator. Including this year’s Build, the Ellsworth Team has built 1,418 total inserts for roughly 217 homes in their area since 2017. 

We sat down with Kit to ask her a few questions about why she’s continued to volunteer with WindowDressers and hear about her experience as Ellsworth’s Local Coordinator.     

We asked Kit what she liked most about volunteering with WindowDressers and serving as the local coordinator. 

“There’s a lot of variety to it because I’m also the lead measurer. So I’ve measured basically all of the inserts for our build. I’m there at the measuring and going out and meeting people just going all over the countryside. I covered pretty much all of Hancock County. That’s how I get to see a lot of the countryside and you know, drive around and meet people in all different walks of life.”

“One of the interesting pieces about doing this work is that there’s a bazillion little details between the pitch that you give to the customers and the outreach and then the actual running of the build. How to set up the floor space, where to put your different items and all the different little tricks that go into teaching people how to do their task at each stage of the assembly line. All those little details that you’ve accumulated over the years. It’s kind of nice to be able to put those all into practice and have things work reasonably well. And see to see the finished product all stacked around the walls of a build space when you’re all done. It’s pretty satisfying. It’s pretty neat.”

What do you think makes the WindowDressers program so worthwhile to keep continuing over the years?  

“It’s a true nonprofit community. We’re really not trying to make money; we’re trying to reach everybody even if they can’t afford to pay for inserts. It’s a grassroots effort and all of the volunteers are really passionate about this. They wouldn’t keep doing this if they weren’t so it’s a great group of people to work with.”

“The upper echelons of WindowDressers rely a lot on feedback from everybody who’s working right down to the person who puts in the least amount of time. Anybody who has suggestions they listen to them and it’s sort of a continuous, quality improvement loop that they really pay attention to. All sorts of organizations say they have continuous quality improvement, but this one is really hands on. You know, they really ask everybody ‘What can we do better, what suggestions do you have for making this easier, quicker, smarter?’ and then they implement those, and they bring those suggestions to the whole group. So that’s wonderful to have everybody really participating and everybody being heard.”

We asked Kit about her own experience getting WindowDressers inserts.

“We built our own house in 2000 so it’s a new house and we had new windows. So, we had decent windows, double panes and all that. So, in 2017 when we did it the first year I said to my husband, ‘Do you think we should get any inserts for our windows?’ He said, ‘Nah we don’t need inserts.’ We live right on the water and when the storms come in the wintertime and the wind is howling off the water, the little cobwebs at the upper corner of my Windows kind of fluttered in the breeze. And the next year he said, ‘Do you think we should get inserts this year?’ I said, ‘Oh gee what a great idea.’”

“So, we’ve gotten more inserts every year. We got them for one room that year and then we got them for two rooms the next year…Having the inserts also gives us a chance when people come to visit us to show them the inserts in action. It’s fascinating because nobody has ever noticed the inserts unless we point them out.”

Thank you to Kit for taking the time to speak with us about her experience as a Local Coordinator for the Ellsworth Build. We are lucky to have her on our team and excited for another great Build season. The Ellsworth Community Build is right around the corner – sign up to volunteer with Kit and her team today! 

The Ellsworth Build takes place Sept. 16th – Sept. 20th, 2023 at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church 231 Main St., Ellsworth, ME 04605.

Click the link to volunteer at this Community Build.

Click this link to see the full list of Community Builds happening this year.