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Tips for Effectively Utilizing Volunteers:
Volunteers are never to be left alone with a child or adult
Volunteers are told not to bring any outside food into program areas. As a role model, please follow the same policy
Volunteers are not permitted to administer medication, provide personal care, or feed any individual (unless they are CPR Certified and specifically trained to feed a client)
Volunteers are reminded not to use cell phones while they are volunteering. Please remember to follow the same policy.
Volunteers are not allowed to surf the web or use a computer (especially a staff computer) unless their work assignment specifically requires one (i.e. data entry, board maker, etc.)
Volunteers are a great means to assist with activity planning and preparation (e.g., organize supplies, make copies, cut-outs, laminate, prep materials, etc.)
Volunteers are a great resource for maintaining a healthy learning environment. During downtime they can wipe down and disinfect regularly used items or common areas
Volunteers are a great medium for providing a little extra one-on-one for individuals who need extra encouragement and attention during group activities
Volunteers are permitted to take pictures during their service, if approved by staff and/or the client and the client has a signed HIPAA agreement/photo release
Volunteers have potential to be a future staff member, advocate, parent, or family member. Remember to support them in a manner that leaves them with only a positive impression
And finally… volunteers are a blessing. It is how Redwood began and it is what we need to continue to thrive. Thank your volunteers often and treat them with respect like any fellow employee
When I decided to volunteer this year as part of my personal Lenten experience, I thought of it as a great gift, but little did I know that I would be gifted far more in return. Redwood has left an indelible mark on my heart and I am most grateful for the lessons learned and memories I will always treasure.
To be honest, I entered the process with a little fear and trepidation, but the Volunteer Orientation soon put me at ease. The Community Outreach & Training Coordinator oozes enthusiasm. Her love for Redwood is contagious, especially on the tour as she kindly interacted with each group along the way. I found her cheerful and welcoming with her open office door a constant reminder that an answer to any question was always near.
On Mondays, I volunteered in the Work Activity Center. As I entered, I was met with the staff’s constant battle cry for their workers: “You can do it! You did it! You’re awesome!” The staff is so supportive of the participants and the faces of the clients show their pride in the achievements set before them. Some of the adults proudly showed me their hard work and were eager to explain the steps involved in their particular tasks. Faces beamed as each job was completed and tallies recorded of work well done! The Work Activity Center is a beautiful example of the dignity and value of every person! John was most gracious in welcoming me and involving me in ways that matched my skill set as a teacher. I was thankful for the opportunity to teach the States class on several occasions. John and the staff were so supportive as I took up the challenge of the virtual “road trip.” The clients were eager to learn and bubbling with excitement as each state was introduced. If only all students approached learning with such openness — a teacher’s dream! It was such a fun experience.
On Wednesday, I volunteered in the Nursery. The “superwomen” of the Nursery left me in awe. They lovingly care for the babies with such tenderness and aptitude that I was left humbled in their presence. The physicality and patience with which they approach the demands of caring for eight babies is remarkable. The babies are loved and nurtured with such depth that these ladies must truly recognize their role at Redwood not just as a job but a calling — a calling to bring up this next generation on a firm foundation of security, attachment, and love. It is a beautiful reflection of love incarnate!
On Fridays, I was welcomed into the world of “Toddler B.” Each Friday I left with the hugest smile on my face and giggle in my heart. Tammy and Ann have built such a fun wonderful learning experience firmly grounded in structure, loving guidance, and wide-eyed wonder. In the midst of comforting boo-boos and modeling peaceful, respectful interaction, these teachers lead the children through and exploration in the wonder and beauty of this world that helped kindle in me an appreciation of the often unnoticed miracles that quietly surround me.
I leave Redwood after this experience as one of your biggest fans. Your hard work for and steadfast dedication to the preservation of the dignity and value of each person matter age or circumstance is heroic. I applaud your effort and thank you for the opportunity to witness the fruit of your labor. May God bless you all abundantly in future endeavors.