God calls His people to “Fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart” (1 Samuel 12:24). Volunteers have long helped Immanuel in the mission to connect people with Jesus, grow in relationship with Christ, and serve one another in love. To continue to assist our volunteers, this Volunteer Handbook has been developed to support and protect both our volunteers and youth.
As Christians, we must take our responsibilities to our children very seriously. We fail in our responsibilities if we neglect to take adequate precautions in protecting God’s children and His people. The following guidelines are intended to facilitate a safe and nurturing environment in which children can learn and grow in a strong educational and spiritual environment.
By volunteering with Immanuel, you have a responsibility to the church and school and to your fellow volunteers to adhere to certain rules of behavior and conduct. The purpose of these rules is not to restrict your rights, but rather to be certain the learning environment is not compromised.
We humbly ask that any person wishing to volunteer at Immanuel read this handbook and the Code of Conduct. We would then ask for our volunteers to certify the statements at the end of this document and submit their information for a background check. Once completed, a person would then be allowed to volunteer at Immanuel under the supervision of a staff member. We pray blessings on your service to God’s people!
Peace in Christ,
Pastor Scott Schmieding
Mr. Scott Huster, Principal
A volunteer is an individual who offers a service to the church or school without compensation.
What volunteers can expect:
- A place to serve that fits you. We aim for round pegs in round holes.
- Clear expectations.
- Leaders who are available and helpful.
- Orientation and training.
- Ongoing support.
- Honest, caring feedback to increase the effectiveness of ministry.
What we expect from our volunteers:
- Participation in training provided by the applicable staff member.
- Reliability and promptness, with early notice when unable to serve.
- Follow the event procedures
- Practice professional ethics of confidentiality regarding youth, fellow volunteers and staff
- Completion of tasks within the mutually agreed-upon time frames.
- Response to communications from leaders within a reasonable time.
- Working as a member of the team.
- Giving and accepting honest, caring feedback to increase ministry effectiveness.
Background checks will be performed on volunteers over the age of 18 who work with youth (under 18). All applicants for volunteer positions will be required to authorize a background check through the Missouri State Highway Patrol and/or Protect My Ministry Inc. A link to authorize this check can be found at the end of this document. Immanuel reserves the right to recheck volunteers on an annual basis.
The church/school covers the cost of the background checks. Adults who have been convicted of either sexual or physical abuse will not be allowed to volunteer with youth at Immanuel. Immanuel reserves the right to bar volunteers from service based on circumstances discovered during the background check. Volunteers who present to a group when the teacher/staff is present are not required to get a background check.
Safety and Conduct Guidelines
Volunteers often have the opportunity to observe interaction among youth, staff, and others. Information obtained is confidential and should not be shared with others. Breaching confidentiality can be hurtful to children, their families, and staff. Any concerns regarding information shared with you by a child, or a child’s behavior, achievement, and/or needs should be directed to the supervising staff person.
Immanuel staff are responsible for discipline and work under guidelines that are maintained for the safety and welfare of all. Please seek assistance from an Immanuel staff member in the event that discipline may be needed.
Fire and Emergency Procedures
- Volunteers should make themselves familiar with the fire and emergency exit routes posted.
- If an emergency is to arise, volunteers must follow the directions of the staff individual present.
- In the event that a member of the staff is not present, emergency procedures can be found in each room on campus. If volunteering off campus, follow the procedures of the venue and stay in contact with a staff person.
- Report all injuries as soon as possible to the appropriate staff person.
- Render aid if needed.
- Contact 911 and then notify other appropriate staff in a life-threatening situation. The majority of the staff are trained in CPR and the use of an AED.
- Fill out the appropriate written incident report with the assistance of a staff member.
- Avoid inappropriate or suggestive clothing.
- Dress for the activity in which you will be participating.
Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting
Any volunteer who suspects or receives knowledge that a child may be abused or neglected shall immediately report such a case to the Missouri Department of Social Services. The volunteer shall also promptly notify the overseeing staff member that a report has been made. Resources and training can be found at https://dss.mo.gov The Hotline is: 1-800-392-3738. Resources are also available at the school office upon request. The preference is for the volunteer to make the report in coordination with Immanuel staff, but if time is of the essence or circumstances dictate, volunteers may report directly to authorities and update Immanuel staff immediately afterwards.
Rule of Three
Always be in groups of three or more (i.e., two adults and at least one child or one adult and at least two children). The Rule of Three exists to avoid having one adult alone with students. If not possible, use an open-door policy. Open door policy is defined as the door to the room where children and volunteers are meeting will be left open unless the room or door has a window. Activities in public spaces such as hallways are also appropriate.
Restroom Supervision and Guidance
Volunteers should avoid taking children to the restroom. Elementary-age youth may be accompanied to the restroom for supervision and assistance when needed. (However, the children should receive the minimum amount of assistance needed based upon their individual capabilities.) If for any reason a volunteer must go to the restroom to check up on an individual child, they should:
- Seek out another person to accompany them.
- If another person is not available to accompany them, they should go to the exterior restroom door, knock, and ask if the child needs assistance.
- If the child requires assistance, the volunteer should leave the exterior restroom door open when entering the bathroom area and try to verbally assist the child in completing their activities while the child remains behind the door in the restroom stall.
- Any assistance with the straightening or fastening of garments should only be done in the presence of staff or another adult.
Younger siblings should not accompany parent volunteers when they are serving. Younger siblings can be a distraction to youth, staff, and parent volunteers. Special circumstances shall be discussed with your volunteer supervisor.
Transportation and Field Trips
Volunteers provide a valuable service by helping to supervise youth on educational and recreational field trips. In order to maintain the security and safety of our youth, it is critical that the following procedures be followed:
- Adults must be 21 years or older to provide transportation for Immanuel events.
- Rule of Three- A child should never be alone in a vehicle with an adult. Two adults or one adult and multiple students should be in the vehicle at all times, unless a parent is driving their own child.
- Youth should be transported directly to their destination. No unauthorized stops should be made.
- Parental permission is required for all youth to be transported.
- Drivers must have a copy of their valid driver’s license and insurance certificate on file with the office prior to the trip.
- Drivers are to obey all traffic laws and are to make every reasonable effort to assure the safety of their passengers, including a seat belt, or safety seat if required, for every passenger. Missouri law requires that every passenger wear a seat belt.
Drugs, Alcohol, and Firearm Protocols
- Outside of members of law enforcement, volunteers are prohibited from possessing any type of firearm, weapon, or explosive on school premises or while on school sponsored field trips.
- Volunteers are prohibited from being intoxicated or under the influence of controlled substances while volunteering.
- Immanuel is a tobacco free campus. Tobacco products shall not be used on the premises.
- Volunteers are prohibited from the use, possession, or sale of an illegal controlled substance in any quantity when volunteering.
Volunteer Code of Conduct
As a volunteer of Immanuel Lutheran Church and School, I will be the hands and feet of Jesus by agreeing to do the following:
- Treat fellow volunteers, youth, staff, and others with kindness and respect.
- Be professional in dress, manner, and presentation.
- Support the mission of Immanuel and speak highly of the ministry opportunities that are provided.
- Always maintain professional boundaries including using only appropriate touching (hugs or similar gestures within sight of other adults).
- Maintain a constructive attitude and courteous demeanor while volunteering.
- Only do what is in the best personal, spiritual, and educational interest of every child.
- Follow through on promises and communicate openly with my supervisor, fellow volunteers, and others as necessary.
- Report any inappropriate conduct or relationship between an adult and a student immediately to my supervisor.
- Support my team, smile, and be positive!