Fallbrook energized by volunteers
Last updated 9/11/2008 at Noon
Fallbrook is full of organizations that would cease to exist, or at least slow considerably, if it weren’t for volunteers.
In this election year there are many opportunities to help your local political party. Some may require door-to-door work but many are armchair tasks, like making phone calls from the comfort of your own living room.
Churches are also highly dependent on volunteers. It is something I hadn’t really thought about until a local pastor mentioned to me that if it weren’t for volunteers it would be difficult for the church to function. Once I thought about it, I realized that the ushers, scripture readers, choir members and the women who make coffee and cookies for fellowship time are all volunteers. Nonprofit organizations employ a large chunk of the volunteer labor force, but there are also some for-profit organizations that also welcome volunteer assistance.
Many government offices use volunteers, which they call interns. Some welcome undergraduate as well as graduate college students. I, myself, served an internship in a Los Angeles area Congressional office and quickly discovered that the work was not just fluff or busy work. Each letter I wrote or research project I worked on was important to the inter-workings of the office. Congressional staff members hold the interns to high standards.
Karen Stark, one of two student volunteer advisors with the Fallbrook Hospital Auxiliary (Jane Crocker is the other), took some time to explain the local program. Once called “Candy Stripers” because of the pink-and-white-striped aprons or uniforms worn, the young workers are now called student volunteers. The Candy Stripers of old were only females; however, today the hospital welcomes both female and male student helpers. The dress of the day has also changed from the striped uniforms to polo shirts. Students between the ages of 14 and 18 are encouraged to apply.
Stark, who has been the advisor for three months, said that this is her first volunteer position. She has already put in many hours and works with the student volunteers each weekend. She is impressed with the caliber of the volunteer force at Fallbrook Hospital. “These kids want to be doctors and nurses,” she commented.
According to Stark, the hospital has 44 student volunteers listed but only nine who have completed the qualifications. Each student must complete an application and also write an essay detailing why they are interested in volunteering. The application is then reviewed by the board. Once the applicant is chosen as a student volunteer, dues must be paid and a tuberculosis test taken. There is also an orientation session.
“This immerses them into the adult world, teaches them to follow rules and teaches them responsibility. I’m going to be hard on them, but I’m going to love them – because they are worth it,” said Stark.
The Fallbrook Hospital student volunteers also work at the Skilled Nursing Facility helping residents with crafts, playing games and reading with them. Stark also mentioned that the residents laugh a lot when the volunteers work with them. “These people have such a heritage,” Stark noted. She will be assigning a volunteer to a resident each month and that person will get to know the resident, write an essay about that person and give a speech about that person during one of the auxiliary meetings.
Some other area organizations who welcome volunteers are:
REINS Therapeutic Horsemanship
• Age requirements: 12+
• Training: One day
• Duties: Side-walk during lessons, lead horses, random ranch-type duties
Fallbrook Animal Sanctuary
(760) 685-3533 or
(714) 321-0499, Volunteer Coordinator Pat
• Age requirements: 16+
• Training: Four hours with another volunteer
• Duties: Clean cages, bathe kittens, comb and care for animals
Fallbrook Pregnancy Resource Center
• Age requirements: 15 for office work, 18 for client contact work
• Training: 24 hours; includes bookwork and on-the-job training
• Duties: Office work – set appointments/answer phones; client contact – crisis counseling/parenting classes/pregnancy options and education
• Prefer three to four volunteer hours per week
Fallbrook Volunteer Senior Patrol
San Diego County Sheriff’s Department
• Age requirements: 50+
• Training: Two weeks; regional training at Poway. Includes AED (defibrillator), CPR, harassment issues, ethics and rules, radio and other subjects.
• Duties: Observe and report, security checks on homes, calls/visits to shut-ins, traffic control, run cars to repair facility, deliveries to DA’s office, fire patrols during Santa Ana winds, among other duties
• Volunteer Coordinator Manny Ortega commented, “This is serious business; it is critical that they do things correctly, but we also put smiles on people’s faces.”
Fallbrook Land Conservancy
• Age requirements: Old enough to be responsible and dedicated and a willingness to be there and be consistent
• Training: As needed
• Duties: Trash pick-up, tree planting, mass mailing work, baking for events, face painting on Stagecoach Sunday
• Highway 395 trash pick-up is 8 a.m. on the second Saturday of the month; meet in front of Pala Mesa Golf Club.
• Age requirements: 18+ (They try to match volunteer with patient)
• Other requirements: tuberculosis test
• Training: Three days
• Duties: Varied duties, home visits, massage therapy, musicians to play as therapy, rides to grocery store, respite for caregivers, errands
• Fallbrook Hospice provides comfort care for those with six months or less to live.
Fallbrook Historical Society
• Age requirements: 15+
• Training: One-on-one orientation session (1 hour), then until comfortable on their own, the new volunteer will work alongside a veteran volunteer
• Duties: Greet visitors, show museum, assist with research, office work, inventory, database update (for those with database skills)
• Volunteers do not need to be experts on Fallbrook history.
Fallbrook Food Pantry
• Age requirements: 14+
• Training: No training required
• Duties: Sort food, stock shelves, distribute food to walk-ins, office work, computer work (if skilled)