Volunteer service begins with application process
by Linda Bloom
Individual mission volunteers often can choose where they want to serve - as long as they have an invitation.
"We do not place anybody where it is not requested," said Greg Forrester, who is national coordinator of the individual volunteers program for the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries.
Those requests come from heads of churches or various programs and are later confirmed by the local bishop or church president when a specific individual is chosen.
The process for potential volunteers begins with an application form, three references and a medical form. The applicant is interviewed by the conference volunteer-in-mission coordinator and/or the jurisdictional coordinator.
An interview also is conducted with Forrester or Jeanie Blankenbaker, head of mission volunteers for the General Board of Global Ministries, at a volunteer training event. "Until I actually see them face-to-face, I'm not going to place them anywhere," Forrester said.
Individual volunteers can list three preferred geographic areas for placement by looking at a potential site list. Once they receive an assignment, which is usually for a minimum of two months, volunteers must be prepared to pay for all expenses, including transportation, lodging and meals. In some cases, the host will provide lodging or a small stipend, but that is not guaranteed.
A report is submitted at the end of the mission period, along with an evaluation from the volunteer's supervisor at the site. Those reports are used as a basis to consider future placements. Many individual volunteers go on to another placement, Forrester said.
More information is available online at www.missionvolunteers.org or by calling Forrester at (607) 756-7799.
Date posted: Mar 23, 2005