|Volunteers should be provided with name tags, program materials and their tote bag kits at the training. Schools can also customize a “Training Manual” for volunteers. Suggested components of this manual include:
These components can be modified for schools that plan to utilize volunteers at other times of the school day rather than during the breakfast program.
Sample Volunteer Job Description
To act as a mentor and role model to young children while encouraging good eating habits early in life and promoting good nutrition.
Volunteers in this program read books to children that support the nutrition topic of the month.
They help the children understand the importance of eating healthy and what that means. Volunteers encourage the children to eat their breakfast every day.
- Genuinely enjoy being around young children and reading to them.
- Understand that the children rely on their participation and contact the school if there is a problem with attendance.
- Provided feedback to the ISBP Coordinator or school if they have any problems or concerns.
- Attend a training session and an on-site orientation at the school.
- Commit to a schedule.
- Sign in and wear a name tag each time you visit the school.
- Be familiar with and utilize program materials as specified.
- Complete an evaluation at the end of the year.
Tips for Volunteers
Try to keep the conversation focused on the nutrition topic of the month, healthy eating or physical activity. While conversations are likely to veer off in all directions, and that is fine, the goal is to promote increased awareness about the importance of good health and the role that healthy eating and physical activity play.
- Interact with small groups of children at a time.
- Read the book of the month or additional books provided by the school.
- Discuss the book with the children and ask them to restate the main points.
- Discuss how the book relates to them.
- Ask open ended questions. Instead of "Do you like fruit?" ask "What's your favorite fruit?"
- Listen and respond to what the child is saying. Invite the child to tell you more about a topic that interests him or her.
- If a child gives an incorrect answer to a question say "That's a great try!" and tell the correct answer. Always be positive.
- Save handouts or incentives till the end of the period.
100 Ways to Praise a Child
A few kind words can lift a child's spirit and make a real difference in their lives. Be sure to include praise in your communication with the children. It's as easy as saying:
Wow! • Way to go • Super • You're special • Outstanding • Great • Excellent • Good • Neat • Well done • Remarkable • I knew you could do it. • I'm proud of you • Fantastic • Super • Star • Nice work • Looking good • You're on top of it • Beautiful • Now you're flying!• Wonderful • You're catching on • Now you've got it • You're incredible • Bravo • You're fantastic • Hurray for you! • You're on target • You're on your way • How nice • How smart • Good job • That's incredible • Hot dog! • Dynamite • That's beautiful • You're unique • Nothing can stop you now • Good for you • I like you • You're a winner • Remarkable job • Beautiful work • Spectacular • You're darling • You're precious • Great discovery • Thank's for the hard work • You've discovered the secret • You figured it out • Fantastic job • Hip, hip hooray! • I can depend on you • Magnificent • Marvelous • Terrific • You're important • Phenomenal • You're sensational • Super work • Creative job • Super job • Fantastic job • You amaze me • Exceptional performance • You're a real trooper • You are responsible • You are exciting • You learned it right • What an imagination • What a good listener • You are fun • You're growing up • You tried hard • You care • Beautiful sharing • Outstanding performance • You're a good friend • I trust you • You mean a lot to me • You make me happy • That's great • You belong • You've got a friend • You make me laugh • You mean the world to me • That's correct • You're a joy • You're a treasure • You're wonderful • You're perfect • Awesome! • A+ job • You're a-okay • You made my day • That's the best • Cool! • You're my friend • Thanks for doing your best!
Who Should be Recruited
Active adults, retired or semi-retired seniors, or students in service clubs or educational programs requiring community service, are best suited for the ISBP. Each age group will be motivated to serve for different reasons. Young people will want direct service opportunities to enhance their skills and experience. Adults will want challenging assignments in which they feel they are "making a difference" in their communities and making their leisure time more meaningful. Seniors will want opportunities that offer greater flexibility due to their increased involvement with other activities.
Prospective volunteers should have a positive outlook and a love of children. Candidates that fit this description can be found in a variety of places, including:
- Senior centers
- Retirement communities
- Churches and synagogues
- Social and civic groups
- The Small Business Administration's Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE)
- Volunteer centers
- Local colleges
- High schools with service clubs
- Housing developments and adult communities
- Labor unions
- Chambers of Commerce
- Cultural/ethnic centers, clubs and agencies
- Service clubs
- Community centers
Why People Volunteer
It is important to understand that there are many reasons a person will volunteer. The ISBP Coordinator should become familiar with as many of these reasons as possible. By becoming familiar with even a few of these reasons, the Coordinator will be better prepared to motivate and reward volunteers:
- Feel needed, important
- Enjoy a challenge
- Opportunity to be creative
- Explore career change
- Gratitude for service received
- Develop skills and experience
- Update skills and experience
- To share a skill
- To teach a skill
- Get used to working again after illness
- To learn about community
- Because a child wants them to
- Social contacts
- Help a friend or relative
- Release guilt
- Increase skills to add to resume
- School credit
- Public relations for employer
- Cure loneliness and boredom
- Be part of a particular group
- Use existing skills and experience
- Prepare for retirement
- To demonstrate commitment to a cause
- To do a civic duty
- Location, location, location!
- To become an “insider”
- To be able to criticize others
- To be part of a team
- To test yourself
- To be a watchdog
- As therapy
- To assure progress is made
- Because of a personal illness
- To stand up and be counted
- Because of a personal problem
- To test personal limits
- Have fun
- New ideas
- New friends
- Bring about a social change
- Bring about an organizational change
- Identify with a cause
- Be close to the action
- To be a resource
- Find a mentor
- Be a mentor
- Topic of conversation
- Establish peer relationships
- Look for a significant relationship
- Fulfill a court order (community service)
- Peer pressure
- Potential future job
- To get to know a community
- To repay a debt
- Religious / faith-based beliefs
- To gain leadership skills
- To act out a fantasy
- Pressure from friend / relative
- To gain free admission
- To get give-aways / freebies
- To get something you can’t buy
- To be recognized for a talent or skill
- Non-verbal expression
- To instigate
- To report back to someone (spy)
- As a family project
- Because it’s kid-oriented
- To get a day off from work
- To get exercise
BECAUSE THEY WERE ASKED!
Ways To Recruit Volunteers
- Place a newspaper ad.
- Create a public service announcement for radio or television.
- Schedule your volunteers to appear on broadcast talk shows.
- Contact area newspapers to write about the program.
- Hold volunteer recruitment parties at the school office.
- Have open lunches or bag lunches.
- Hold invitational lunches.
- Give presentations to community groups.
- Be on the emergency speaker's list of local community groups.
- Share program needs before the local community board.
- Send out flyers.
- Put flyers on "key posting areas" around town (bulletin boards in public areas).
- Put flyers in appropriate shops.
- Post ads or flyers where likely volunteers congregate:
- Community and senior centers
- Churches and synagogues
- Unemployment offices
- Tenant associations
- Encourage active volunteers to recruit friends.
- Prepare a film or slide show about the school and the program.
- Start a speaker's bureau (volunteers trained to give presentations for the program).
- Pass out recruitment brochures.
- Put ads in membership newsletters.
- Contact local service and professional organization chapters:
- Ask for referrals from local politicians.
- Set up recruitment booths at local schools and street fairs.
- Hold telethons.
- Recruit with personal letters from active volunteers to prospective volunteers.
- Recruit through telephone outreach.
- Contact local unions.
- Reach out to public relations or corporate communications people at local companies about including a call for volunteers in their newsletter.
- Contact local corporations about "donated" executives and "release time" for employees who volunteer.
- Create and send email to everyone in the school's address book.
- Ask other organizations how they recruit volunteers and follow their examples.
- Host a volunteer fair with other nonprofit agencies in the area.
- Ask grocery stores to stuff information about the program in grocery bags.
- Ask local companies to include information about the program with their invoices.
- Contact local service business owners and ask them if they have a pro bono program (work done for free for a good cause).
- Speak to local cable stations about doing a program on the ISBP.
- Contact local Web-based businesses and ask them to post banner ads.
- Post volunteer needs on Internet sites listing volunteer opportunities.
- Create a volunteer section on the school's Web site.
Finding the right type of volunteer is important to the success of your program. A potential volunteer should fill out a volunteer application and be interviewed.
The interviewer must be very knowledgeable about the school's plan for the program. During the interview they should:
- Assess the volunteer's interest in working with young children.
- Provide information about the school.
Provide detailed information about the program and be able to answer all the volunteer's questions.
| NOTE: If a volunteer is accepted into the program, the period of time between the original interview and the start of the volunteer service should be as short as possible.
Sample Volunteer Application
Click here for Sample Volunteer Application [Word 26k].
Once the volunteer has been placed in the school, a welcome letter confirming the assignment should be sent to the volunteer. Pertinent information such as start date, classroom assignment (if applicable) and time to report should be indicated in this letter.
Volunteers should be invited to the school for a walk-through prior to their start day. If this is not possible, the ISBP Coordinator should meet each volunteer on his or her first day and orient them to the school.
Creating Personnel Files for Volunteers
A volunteer personnel file should include the job description, the volunteer’s application, a resume if available, interview notes, and copies of all correspondence with the volunteer. If the school requires a background check or medical clearance, these documents should also be placed in the file. A file card with emergency contacts should also be maintained for easy reference.
Recording Volunteer Hours of Service
A simple sign-in sheet should be accessible for the volunteer's use at the school.
Information on volunteer attendance can be useful for:
- Recognition of volunteer service by hours, months or years of service.
- To help school staff plan for future volunteer activities.
- Data can used in obtaining matching financial and in-kind support for the volunteer program.
The working conditions of the school are very important for volunteer retention Volunteers will respond positively to:
- Well-organized operations.
- Good planning.
- Pleasant physical surroundings.
- Clear volunteer and staff job responsibilities.
- A positive attitude towards volunteers.
The Importance of Recognition
Volunteers need to be recognized, and recognition should be more than an annual event. Volunteer recognition can be wide-ranging and include statements about volunteers that the coordinator presents in the initial interview, words of inspiration at training, the name badge worn by the volunteer, the greetings by school staff when volunteers arrive, the periodic "thank you," special treats at holidays, a suggestion box, and/or a parking space.
Tips for Recognizing Volunteers
Some creative ways to recognize volunteers might include:
- Certificates of appreciation.
- Municipal proclamations to thank volunteers.
- Invitations to and recognition at assemblies.
- Encouraging students to write thank you letters to their Breakfast Buddies.
- Sending birthday and occasion cards.
- Posting a Volunteer Honor Roll or other recognition in a highly visible area of the school, such as near the main office.
- Greeting the volunteers by name.
- Refreshments for volunteers.
- Awarding plaques or other mementos to the volunteer.
- Recognizing volunteers in the school newsletter or send a news release about a volunteer to the media, with the volunteer's permission.
- Color-coding volunteer nametags to indicate achievements (hours, months, or years of service, etc.)
- Including volunteers in school events.
The Intergenerational School Breakfast Program is administered by New Jersey WIC Services. For more information log on to www.nj.gov/health/isbp or call (609) 292-9560.