Frequently Asked Questions
▪Please note: TASK is not a provider for court-ordered service hours, only service hours for schools, organizations or businesses.
I have registered and received a confirmation email with an access code but cannot see any volunteer opportunities. Why not?
You have registered (applied) and still need to be approved. If you are under the age of 18, approval will typically be received in 24 hours. If you are 18 or over, we will need to run a background check and will not be approved until the check is complete- this could take up to 3 days. You will receive a 2nd email letting you know if your application has been approved or denied. You will not be able to see and register for a program until this final step.
I have been approved but still do not see volunteer opportunities. Why not?
When you are looking at your home page, make sure that you have all the volunteer opportunities selected. There is a collapsible checklist on the upper left hand side. If the programs are not selected, you will not see the choices.
What is expected of me while volunteering at TASK?
As a TASK Volunteer I agree to:
▪ Be prompt. Please show up at least 20 minutes before the scheduled event to help set up equipment.
▪ Ask for help if you need it.
▪ Provide for the general welfare, health and safety of all TASK athletes and volunteers.
▪ Dress and act in an appropriate manner at all times.
▪ Follow the established rules and guidelines of TASK and/or any agency involved with TASK.
▪ Report any emergencies to the appropriate authorities after first taking immediate action to ensure the health and safety of the participants.
▪ Abstain from the consumption or use of all alcohol, tobacco products and illegal substances while working with TASK athletes or while involved with TASK programs.
▪ Not engage in any inappropriate contact or relationship with athletes, volunteers or other participants of TASK
Expectations when working with your athlete…
▪ Initiate athlete participation. Some athletes might need to be talked into playing or invited to play.
▪ Be enthusiastic while working with your athlete - don’t just stand around. Smile and enjoy yourself. If you have fun, he/she will too.
▪ Encourage participation and team cooperation- be a cheerleader for all the athletes.
▪ Treat all athletes with respect.
▪ Be a role model- lead by example.
▪ If your athlete runs or leaves the area, follow him or her.
▪ Always be with and supervise your athlete. If he/she needs to go to the restroom, let a head coach know. Don’t send anyone by themselves anywhere.
▪ Your main socialization should be with your athlete - not with the other volunteers. Assisting your athlete comes first.
I have no experience and am worried that I might be uncomfortable with the level of skill required to work with children with disabilities.
Our program manager knows each of the volunteers and athletes at TASK. Maura helps to match volunteer to athlete. Many of the children at TASK just need a “buddy” who can complete the activity with them. Many children need encouragement and someone who can help model the activity so they can complete the activity. At TASK, we focus on what children CAN do and encourage supportive words. You will NEVER be alone with a child, and there are volunteers and instructors around you who can assist, if needed. If you ever have ANY questions, please do not hesitate to ask!
What are some tips for supporting athletes with disabilities?
Use encouraging words and focus on specific positive actions, and not the negative.
Positive language: amazing, awesome, excellent, fantastic, good, great, outstanding, spectacular, super, unbelievable. Although these are general positives, it is nice to use specific circumstances to support our athletes. When we give the athletes specific circumstances, this is something that they will remember to reinforce the great things that they are doing, build confidence and self-esteem. To really support our athletes, it is nice to take “great job” a step further and specifically focus on what the athlete did that was “great”.
An example, an athlete completed an obstacle course, when someone says “Great job!”, there could be many things on the obstacle course that they did “great”. Instead, it is nice to use a specific instance(s) to let the athlete know “Wow! You really jumped high on the trampoline/Awesome, you crawled fast through the tunnel/ Whoa, I was really impressed with how you.
Never "grab" an athlete who is not responding to you or running away
Sometimes our athletes need to "refocus". They may run out of the area that we are working with. When this happens, you should run after the child and try to block the child from running out of the door. Always ask the child "Where are you going?" Sometimes, our athletes forget to ask to get a drink or go to the bathroom. If a child is running away from the activity, try to stand in front of the child and side step to try to have him or her go back. Never let a child run out of the room or towards the door. If you do see a child running away with no one running after the child, PLEASE go by this child.
ALWAYS use “person first” language in your daily life.
This is important for supporting all persons with disabilities. A person with disabilities is ALWAYS a person first. If you are talking about someone with a disability, you use the person first and then the disability. For example, you do not say “disabled child”. The correct term is “child with a disability”. Here at TASK, we use name tags for both our volunteers and athletes, so everyone is called by his or her name.
I do not know what to say or I am afraid I might say the wrong thing! What if the participant is nonverbal?
What to say
It can be scary to talk to people you do not know. Our athletes are in school, work, and have a wide variety of interests. It is the same way you would talk to someone new like a child or young adult. “What do you like to do?” “What is your favorite thing at TASK?” “How old are you?” “What is your favorite thing in school?” “Do you have any brothers or sisters?” Simple questions are always great to get anyone talking! Look at the clothes he or she is wearing, that may give a hint to something he or she likes (i.e.: Cardinals, Music, etc.). Sometimes our participants may not understand questions, repeating and talking slower is another good tip!
A child who is nonverbal
Some of our athletes are nonverbal, which means he or she does not talk. Some of our athletes may not talk but they understand what you are saying. This means you should still give words of encouragement and talk to the child just as you would a child who speaks. Sometimes these children need extra attention because since they may not verbalize what they need, they may not get their needs met.
What should I do if a child is not doing the activity? What if a child is becoming upset or starts to cry? What if a child is using inappropriate language or bothering another child?
If a child is not participating: Sometimes we all need encouragement to perform an activity. Do not feel bad if a child does not perform the activity, sometimes it is other circumstances that are interfering with performing an activity.
As the volunteer, athletes look up to you. Just having you perform the activity and showing how fun it is may encourage the child to perform the activity. Some children may not understand the activity and need you to perform the activity, so they can see how to do it. For example, while you are performing the activity “I am really having fun performing this activity, (child’s name), I think you would have fun performing the activity too!” Enthusiasm is contagious and many times this works in helping children to participate.
Make it fun and into a game! Sometimes, it is hard to get motivated when an activity does not look fun. Saying things like “How many (insert activity) can you do? Or How fast can you go?” It helps to build self-esteem when children can see how they accomplish the goals! For example, you might make 2 basketball hoops, ask the child to see if they can do more hoops then you!
A child who is upset: Safety is our first priority for both you and the athlete. If an athlete gets visibly upset or you are unsure how to handle the situation (crying) alert the program manager or the instructor who is running the program. This occurs very rarely, but if a child starts to be aggressive towards you or other children, alert the program manager or the instructor immediately and other volunteers around you to make sure all children are safe. Sometimes, it is very frustrating for any children who are performing an activity and it is not going the way it is planned.
A child who is using inappropriate language or bothering other athletes: Sometimes children hear something that they think is funny. If you hear a child using inappropriate language, the best thing to do is not laugh or give the child attention. You should say “We do not use that language here at TASK.” If a child is bothering another child, try to move away from that area. You can say “Look there’s a bigger spot over there to keep doing our activity” or ask the child a question that you are working with. “How do you enjoy (activity)?” “What do you like to do?”
I need a certain amount of hours for my school/organization. Is there a way you keep track of hours? Please note: TASK is not a provider for court-ordered service hours, only service hours for schools, organizations or businesses
You are responsible for keeping track of your hours, however, all TASK volunteers must sign up ONLINE and in CHECK-IN INPERSON.
All TASK volunteers must sign up on this website for specific programs. The website to register for specific programs is: https://www.volunteermatters.net/vm/MenuHome.do?owner=task
ALL volunteers must sign in when they come into the building and alert the program manager or another TASK member when he/she has completed the program. This occurs at the table at the front of the gym with the program manager or another volunteer who is sitting at the table. This is the way that TASK knows that you have actually showed up for the hours that you signed up for. It is very important to BOTH sign up on the website and sign in, so we can have a two check system.
I need documentation of the hours I worked.
Please wait until after the specific programming is over and approach the program manager. He or She will be happy to sign something for you once the programming is over and cleaned up. If you need a letter written, contact the volunteer manager. You will receive your letter within 48 hours.
I have volunteered before, why do I have to come 30 minutes early?
Coming 30 minutes early is important to help set up and get ready for the activity. If you have already volunteered, coming early is still important so you know the specific programming for the evening. You are also important to help set up, assist new volunteers and talk to athletes if they come early.