Volunteer Training Pre-read

Thank you again for helping make a difference in an Elder person's life.

Thank you so much for your application to volunteer with Little Brothers – Friends of the Elderly (LBFE) and for the important and meaningful role you are about to play in our efforts to end elder loneliness and isolation through the power of friendship.

We are so looking forward to having you with us for your chosen in-person training session and will reach out to you with a reminder a few days prior to your training. We are excited to help you prepare to share your warmth and kindness with our Elder Friends.

Prior to your in-person training, please complete the pre-read, which consists of the two steps outlined below:

  1. Watch the introductory video
  2. Read the below useful information about our:
  • Volunteer Opportunities 
  • The Matching Process
  • Joining Friendship and Flowers
  • Volunteer Duties, Responsibilities, and Qualifications
  • Volunteer Policies and Procedures
  • Next Steps for Volunteers following training

Volunteer Opportunities: Companionship Services

At Little Brothers – Friends of the Elderly (LBFE) we believe a shared life is a happier life. Our sole purpose is to foster friendships between our Elder Friends and our volunteers so both can enjoy the rich rewards of togetherness and companionship. We welcome folks of all generations to volunteer, including children under 18 volunteering with a parent, young adults, those in midlife, in retirement and people glowing older. When it comes to creating meaningful connection in our lives, no matter our age, we all have something to give, something to share and something to receive. LBFE embraces the desire of all our members to find purpose, joy and community through companionship. Volunteer opportunities include roles for Visiting Companions, Phone Companions, and Friendship and Flowers Visitors.

Volunteer Opportunities: Visiting Companion

The Visiting Volunteer is generally an individual or sometimes a family who is matched with and an older adult to share life-enriching friendship and the caring attention of companionship. The warmth of togetherness enhances connection, dignity and well-being. Elder Friends and volunteers connect in a variety of ways such as visiting and going on outings of mutual interest.

Time commitment: 3 – 6 hours per month. If you wish to include a canine friend on visits, please check with LBFE staff first for required paperwork.

Volunteer Opportunities: Phone Companion

Phone Companions reach out with warmth and kindness to isolated elders. They help ensure elders know that someone cares and is thinking of them, while also offering the reassurance that comes with belonging to the LBFE community. 

Time commitment: Varies depending on number of elders assigned. Expect approximately 20 minutes per elder called, per week.

Volunteer Opportunities: Friendship and Flowers Visitor

Friendship and Flowers Visitors promote well-being through visits to nursing home–bound elders. Volunteers arrive at our Minneapolis or St. Paul pick-up location the third Saturday of the month between 9:00 and 11:00 a.m. to collect home-baked treats and fresh-cut flowers we provide. Volunteers can sign up on a monthly basis and are not obligated to volunteer every month.

Time commitment: 2 – 3 hours/month

Volunteer Opportunities: Administrative Support

The Administrative Support Team member may help with a variety of tasks, depending on the department assigned. Most work takes place at our location, so workday availability is required. A working knowledge of Word and Excel is preferred. Database experience is a plus.

Time commitment: Varies.

The Matching Process

After training, you receive an email with a link to complete your background check

After background check clearance, an LBFE match coordinator sends you a bio and contact information for the Elder Friend with whom you are matched.

If serving as a Phone Companion, call and begin your visits. If serving as a Visiting Companion, call your Elder Friend to introduce yourself and arrange a first visit. Please have a few possible dates in mind to share with the elder for this visit. Bring the icebreaker blanket or quilt you received at training to offer as a gift on the visit!

After your first visit, contact the match coordinator to share how the visit went. We reach out to the elder and ask the same.

To expedite your match, PLEASE use the “Reply to All” feature on all emails regarding your match.

Volunteer Duties, Responsibilities and Qualifications.
Required for all volunteer positions

Duties and Responsibilities
• Complete volunteer application process; attend volunteer orientation and basic training
• Complete a criminal background check
• Immediately report actual or suspected elder abuse or neglect to the Minnesota Adult Abuse Reporting Center at 844-880-1574, which is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In the case of imminent harm, also call 911
• For less urgent circumstances or concerns, call us at 612-721-1400 during business hours
• When faced with situations requiring elder advocacy, always seek out and rely on LBFE’s expertise
• Always identify your LBFE affiliation when volunteering on behalf of the organization
• Document your Elder Friend’s well-being and report concerns via completion of an Elder Engagement Report
• Report volunteer hours via Elder Engagement Report
• Read and adhere to LBFE’s volunteer policies and procedures as outlined in the volunteer handbook
• Provide at least two weeks’ notice if unable to continue your volunteer duties, and, if volunteering directly with an elder, please inform her or him in person

Minimum Qualifications Volunteer Must Demonstrate
• Minimum age: 18 (unless volunteering with a parent or guardian)
• Commitment, reliability and responsibility
• Sensitivity and empathy toward the needs of lonely, isolated older adults
• Flexibility, open-mindedness, patience and acceptance
• Effective communication skills that demonstrate kindness
• Ability to set and maintain clear boundaries
• Punctuality and ability to keep commitments
• Ability to travel to and from residences in Ramsey and Hennepin counties
• Possession of a valid driver’s license with current vehicle insurance, and adherence to all traffic laws when volunteering

Volunteer Policies and Procedures

Confidentiality regarding any identifying or sensitive personal information pertaining to an older adult, volunteer, donor or staff is required and essential.

Criminal background check
All staff members and volunteers are required to have a criminal background check.

Discrimination policy
LBFE complies with the implementation of all facets of equal opportunity policies required by the government. There will be no discrimination on the basis of race, creed, color, religious belief, sex, age, national origin, ancestry, disabilities, marital status, sexual orientation, veteran status, socio- economic status or citizenship.

Drug and alcohol policy
Illegal substance use and/or alcohol abuse, sale or possession on LBFE property or reporting to your volunteer assignment under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance is prohibited.

Harassment policy
LBFE does not allow any form of harassment or conduct that has the purpose or effect of interfering with an individual’s volunteer or work performance. Creating an intimidating, hostile, offensive environment for volunteers, older adults, employees, donors or guests will not be tolerated.

Inappropriate behavior
Incidences of inappropriate behavior (e.g., derogatory or degrading comments, unwanted touch, harassment, illegal activity, etc.) will not be tolerated. Any person who has experienced or witnessed inappropriate behavior, or wishes to make an allegation, should immediately report their concern to an LBFE staff member.

Every volunteer who drives their own vehicle for an LBFE-related event must have a valid driver’s license and automobile insurance that covers their vehicle and liability. LBFE carries an umbrella policy that is secondary insurance covering general liability. This does not cover a volunteer’s vehicle. Mileage reimbursement is not a part of our policy.

Medical advice
You should not give medical advice to an older adult nor should you ever administer medications. If you have concerns regarding a medical instance with an older adult, you should share them with an LBFE staff member immediately.

Repudiation of gifts
Volunteers and staff may not accept individual cash gifts or non-financial gifts from our older adults (with the exception of small token gifts totaling a $25 value or less in any given year); accept a bequest from our older adult; provide financial, banking or tax advice; act as a representative payee or conservator; serve as a trustee for an estate of our older adult; or perform any type of assistance to the older adult for pay. Every volunteer and staff member must sign a Repudiation of Gifts statement. Do not loan money to our older adults.

Next Steps after In-person Training for New Volunteers

1. Take your Volunteer Handbook with you to read and use for your reference. Please be sure to review the Policies & Procedures on page 5.

2. Within 72 hours of orientation, you will receive an email that includes access to our secure background check administered by One Source. You will select from one of two links, depending on whether you prefer to have LBFE pay for the background check or elect to cover the cost yourself.

Note: If you do not have computer access to complete the background check, please contact Ann Fosco at 612-746-0725 or afosco@littlebrothersmn.org for alternate arrangements.

3. You will also receive via email:
● Your orientation cohort friendship list (if you have signed up to receive it)
● A request to make a Nextdoor post with template text included. This is an awesome way you can help spread the word so we can reach more people like you and serve more elders, as a result.

4. Once background checks are cleared:
● Visiting Companions and Phone Companions receive their Elder Friend matches from an LBFE match coordinator as outlined on page 9 (see Match Process Steps)
● Friendship and Flowers Visitors are added to the delivery roster and receive upcoming delivery reminders. Page 15 outlines Friendship and Flowers sign-up instructions
● Bakers are not required to complete background checks and are added to our baking roster. They receive regular invitations to bake for ongoing events and special events including Friendship and Flowers and Home for the Holidays, among others.

5. If you have NOT submitted a volunteer application prior to orientation, please access, complete and return it as soon as possible @ www.littlebrothersmn.org/volunteer-application