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Volunteer FAQ

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Volunteer FAQ

Welcome to the Vision Loss Resources Volunteer Community!

Thank you for your interest in working with Vision Loss Resources, we are delighted to have you as a part of our community.  Please feel welcome to contact your supervisor or a Volunteer Coordinator with any questions or concerns. In case of an emergency, any member of the Community Services Staff can assist with questions, concerns or feedback.

What are the Core Values and Mission of Vision Loss Resources?

The mission of Vision Loss Resources is to create a community of service, skills and support for people with vision loss. The Core Values of our agency include Community, Service, Respect and Innovation.

The agency is rich in history and tradition and the growth and success of the organization is shaped by all who contribute to the community and our ability to respond to the changing needs of those we serve. Vision Loss Resources exists to serve the clients. Our clients do not receive services because of us. Rather, we are able to provide services because of them. As a volunteer, your unique contribution will enhance and expand the services we offer. Your skills and expertise are important ingredients in the service delivery process and a treasured link for many.

I will be working one to one with a client. When should I contact them for the first time?

You will receive information about your client, including their name, specific requests, and the best time and way to contact them. Note that your first visit does not have to be in that two week period, just the initial phone call to introduce yourself and hopefully schedule your first visit.

Do I need to send you my planned schedule with my client?

No. We trust our volunteers to manage their own schedules with their clients and make sure the needs of the client are being met based on the agreed upon frequency of visits. With the hours reports each month we can see if you and the client have been meeting in case there is a question.

I don’t remember how or why you need my hours. What do I need to do?

As a United Way agency, we use volunteer hour information as a basis for conversations about funding for the program. Having accurate information each month and each year is vital to the continuation of the program. You may call, email, fax or mail in the hours. If we do not hear from you and are not aware of a leave of absence, we will follow up with you.

I volunteer with Community Center activities – how do I know if one has been cancelled?

If an event you have signed up to volunteer for is cancelled for any reason other than weather, a staff member will contact you to let you know. If there is a threat of bad weather, please check the Hotline to learn about any cancellations. Cancellations will be updated by 6:15 a.m.

As a Shopper do I need to use the Financial Matters Form (FMF)?

If you are assisting in any financial transaction, that is when we need you to keep track on the FMF. Refer to the FMF for examples of what a transaction is. It’s a good idea to take along a copy of the FMF and your signature guide you received at orientation in case you need either of these when working with your client.

Do I need to worry about my client’s budget when shopping or writing checks?

It is not your responsibility to manage your client’s finances. However, it may be helpful if the client is on a fixed income if you offer to help them track the costs. A good question to ask at one of your first visits is “Do you have a budget you are trying to stay within at the store today?” Then you know what to suggest if for example they need a can of black beans but have a very limited budget.

What do I do if I am shopping with a client and they end up without enough money?

Volunteers should never pay for items for a client. Help them determine what items to put back to meet their budget. Make suggestions if they seem unsure and help figure out the math. If you notice they are keeping things that are not a necessity ask questions like “Gosh, how much do cigarettes/magazines/lottery tickets cost? Would it help you get more food if you went without those right now?” Or, if you have heard them talk in such a way, “I remember you saying you wanted more _____ in your diet, so maybe you should keep those and put back ______.” Ultimately it is their choice on what items they do purchase, just work to help them reach a compromise in these situations with their budget.

How will my client handle and identify money?

Organizing and folding the bills in various ways can allow a person with vision loss to identify their paper money by touch. Some clients will not need assistance in doing monetary transactions and some may request your help identifying bills or coins. Just be receptive to their needs and offer assistance.

Each person may have a unique way of organizing their money. If you observe that the client seems to be struggling, ask if they have a way to organize their money that works for them. You may learn their unique system. Or you may learn that they don’t have a system at all; in that case, let them know that Vision Loss Resources specialists can provide training on money organization.

What do I do in case of an emergency with my client?

If you are working with a client outside of a Vision Loss Resources office and they need emergency medical attention or there has been a car accident the following procedure is recommended:

1. Call 911. Provide needed information to emergency personnel to assist client. Ask your client if they have a preferred hospital they go to.

2. After 911 hangs up with you, (never hang up on 911!) and if possible, ask your client if there is someone they would like you to contact -family or friend. Or look on your Request Form for their Emergency Contact person.

3. Call Vision Loss Resources right away and alert staff. 612-871-2222 or 651-224-7662. You can speak to any Community Service or Volunteer Program staff. If the offices are closed please leave a message. The staff will assist in following up with the client’s emergency contacts and the client themselves as soon as the message is received.

4. Volunteers are only required to call 911 in the event of an emergency. Providing any emergency medical care is at the discretion of the volunteer. For volunteers who drive, refer to the ‘What To Do in Case of an Accident’ sheet you received at your orientation.