BEFORE MAKING A DECISION ABOUT VOLUNTEERING IT IS IMPORTANT FOR YOU TO:
1. Research the causes or issues that are important to you. Look for a group that deals with the issues about which you feel strongly.
2. Consider what you have to offer. Look for a volunteer opportunity that will put your gifts and talent to good use. Similarly, think about your personality and how your organizational skills or communication style might fit with different organizations.
3. Think outside the box, open your window and see what the bigger picture may have to offer to you.
4. Don’t wait to be asked. There are many ways to find organizations looking for volunteers. Ask others about where they volunteer. Call your local United Way. They often have a clearing house for organizations seeking volunteers.
5. Examine whether you are ready to make the commitment of time. Say what you will do and do what you say.
THE BEST WAY TO FIND YOURSELF, IS TO LOSE YOURSELF IN THE SERVICE OF OTHERS. Ghandi
WHAT SHELTER CARE OFFERS POTENTIAL VOLUNTEERS:
Shelter Care has staff, some are paid and some are not. Shelter Care views volunteers in our programs in the same way we view staff hired into the program. As such, volunteers are held to the same level of accountability as any other staff person. Depending on the opportunity you choose, staff will offer you the necessary orientation to prepare you for working in the program. Some opportunities require classroom training such as the outreach worker, while others that provide hospitality require less. All opportunities require an interview with the program supervisor after completing the volunteer application. Any volunteers who work with children are required to have a background check.
♦ Once a volunteer has completed the required training or orientation, they are expected to staff up the program with the same level of commitment and excellence as paid staff.
Hospitality Volunteers – Hospitality volunteers provide companionship, support and compassion to members of the Jubilee Center. Often they extend the same welcoming presence you would to someone in your own home. Hospitality Volunteers participate and support activities in the Center such as bingo, field trips, health activities, weekly house meetings and other center activities designed to enrich the lives of our members.
♦ Groups may volunteer to prepare and serve the mid-day meal, prepare breakfast, create special projects or opportunities for members.
Child Care Specialist – Child Care Specialists must have big hearts for loving children and a willing spirit ready to reach out to children set adrift by homelessness. Rocking, reading, playing, loving the children in our care, as well as food prep, diapering, supporting parents and bringing a sense of order and calm to the child care space are some of the ways these volunteers help.
♦ Groups may sponsor special events/activities for the children at MAYA’S House.
Outreach Workers – Outreach workers will connect with the families on our waiting list and provide support, advocacy and networking while they wait for an opening in the Shelter Care Housing Program. Volunteers must possess an open mind, a strong sense of self awareness and the ability to look beyond stereotypes and long held perceptions of people who are poor. Outreach workers must be flexible and able to work late morning and afternoon hours.
Resources Volunteers – Resource volunteers provide resources such as food, household appliances and supplies, furniture, organize apartment set up teams, clothing, diapers, provide transportation, hygiene supplies, whatever supplies or equipment it takes to establish a household, or whatever resources a person might need to survive.
Heavy Lifters – Heavy lifters are furniture haulers, always a much needed resource. Shelter Care receives calls from community members willing to donate furniture to our families. However, without the “Muscle to Move” the furniture we most often have to say no to these contributions. Having some volunteers who are able to fetch the furniture would make a significant difference for our families and staff members.
Fundraising – Fundraising volunteers provide ideas, leadership, organization and energy to support the ongoing efforts to fund our programs and expand our services. Volunteers are a critical element in the successful implementation of agency events.
Board Directors – The board of directors is the governing body of Shelter Care ministries and as such, board members provide leadership, advice, counsel and support to Shelter Care. Board members bring their expertise, energy, contacts, networks and financial support to the organization in an effort to strengthen the existing resources of Shelter Care. Board members are voted to the board for two, three-year terms and are required to attend meetings, sit on a board committee and make a contribution to support the agency budget. Board meetings are held on the fourth Wednesday of each month at 5:30 pm.
A volunteer is a person who can see what others cannot see; who can feel what most do not feel. Often, such gifted persons do not think of themselves as volunteers, but as citizens – citizens in the fullest sense: partners in civilization. Anonymous
If you believe yourself to be one such person and strive to live a life that touches the world and leaves your community in better shape than you found it, Shelter Care wants you. Make the call, complete the volunteer application and join Shelter Care in ending poverty, homelessness and despair in Rockford.
Call Carol West, Volunteer Coordinator, at 815-964-5520 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org