Basic Guidelines:

  1. Please do not bring more than 10 people TOTAL (including any youth–see #2) to the House to facilitate your activity.
  2. We kindly ask that all youth volunteers be 16 or older if facilitating activities unsupervised. Youth under age 16 are welcome to attend with your group as long as they are assisting with the activity and are supervised AT ALL TIMES (3 youth to 1 supervisor). If you have small children who will not be helping your group, please do not bring them.
  3. When planning your activity, please provide enough materials for 10-15 children to participate. Due to the fluctuating schedules of our families going to and from the hospitals, therapy, doctor’s appointments, etc. RMHCA cannot estimate or provide a head count for the number of children that will be present for your activity. Please do not be discouraged if there is a small turnout for your activity.
  4. For the welfare of the families we ask that you do not visit if you are coughing, feverish, have a runny nose or have been exposed to a contagious disease.
  5. All volunteers MUST wash their hands before preparing or handling food.
  6. Gloves MUST be worn when preparing or handling food. Gloves are located in a box on the kitchen counter next to the pastries.
  7. Please keep all food/drinks in the Conference Room or Dining Area. Do not have food in the Family Room or children’s play area.
  8. Volunteers must NOT:
    • Smoke inside the building. Smoking is only permitted in the designated smoking hut located in the back alley.
    • Give gifts or gratuities to any particular guest (bringing goodies for all guest families is fine, bringing a gift for one child is not).
    • Assume responsibility for a guest child.
    • Provide transportation to any guest.
    • Be alone with any guest in his or her room.
    • Engage in inappropriate activity with guest.
    • Engage in ANY social activity with a guest family unless it is a pre-planned, RMHCA sponsored event.
    • Give legal advice or assist guests in obtaining services.
    • Enter into a financial or legal agreement including loans or borrowing money with any guest.
    • Impose religious or political beliefs (see below).
    • Post pictures of guests on personal social media accounts (see below).

Arriving at the House/Dropping Off Supplies

If you need to drop off supplies before you park, please come through the driveway and ring the doorbell. This is a secure facility and staff/volunteers will have to let you in. If need be, there are carts that you are welcome to use. Once you have unloaded, please move your car to a parking space.

Parking

Please park in any available public parking space surrounding RMHCA and be prepared to feed the meters if you are here during business hours.

Talking to Families

Talking and visiting with guest families IS permitted. In fact, guests love conversing with our volunteers! When talking with a guest, DO NOT ask questions about why they are here, their child’s diagnosis, etc. This is an emotional subject that some guests may not feel comfortable talking about. Often times, guests will choose to tell you about their situation unprompted. If they do so, it is then appropriate for you to engage in conversation about it.

Confidentiality

Any information regarding the medical, psychological, social, or economic status of a guest or their personal information is CONFIDENTIAL and is NOT to be disclosed to any person outside the House or to other guest families.

Respect

You will encounter people of diverse backgrounds and value systems. Regardless of your own political, religious, and/or world view, you MUST demonstrate respect for all staff, volunteers, guest families and donors. This includes not imposing any political or religious views (see below).

Religion

RMHCA is not a faith-based organization. We are an agency that welcomes people of all faiths. Individuals from many congregations and faiths volunteer at RMHCA and their ministry is demonstrated through their kindness, helpfulness and gift of their time and resources.

While speaking with a guest family, showing concern for them and compassion for their pain is appreciated but engaging in prayer services is not appropriate. Telling a guest family that you will remember them in your prayers is a welcome thing, but to facilitate a prayer service is intrusive of their privacy. We ask that you not solicit prayer requests from the guest families, engage in “healing efforts,” conduct sessions of prayer, or hand out any religious materials.

Guest families do not want to disappoint the volunteers nor decline the offer of prayer; therefore we depend upon you to respect their privacy.

Social Media

DO NOT take any pictures of a guest or guest family without the families’ permission. If a guest or guest family is in your picture, you are NOT permitted to post it on to your personal social media account(s). If you are a part of a group and that group has a social media page (i.e.: the “Alpha Delta Pi- Samford University” page on Facebook), you are permitted to post pictures of your group with a guest or guest family SO LONG AS you obtain permission from that guest family, prior to posting.

Some families (but not all) sign a release form for RMHCA to take and post/use for marketing purposes, but not for volunteers to post on their personal pages. We want our environment in the House to be stress-free, and we don’t want to put a volunteer or a family in an awkward position. Feel free to share RMHCA social media posts of guests or guest families to your personal account– as long as it shows that the post came from RMHCA first! We love when our posts are shared with others because it helps expand the reach of our mission. Please contact the Volunteer Coordinator if you have any questions regarding social media.

Media Consent

We love to take pictures of our volunteers in action, so please read and agree to our media consent below. We may want to use pictures for special media or marketing and that may require each person in your group to sign a media consent form. We will discuss this with you, if needed.

  • On behalf of my volunteer group, I agree and authorize Ronald McDonald House Charities of Alabama Inc. and its employees, agents and directors to photograph or video tape me and my group while my group and I are visitors at the Ronald McDonald House in Birmingham. I/we understand that these images or audio/video may be used to document or promote the work of Ronald McDonald House Charities in various promotional media, including print, radio, social media, television, or the internet.
  • On behalf of my volunteer group, I relinquish all future rights and privileges to these images, negatives, videos, or tapes. This consent will remain in effect unless withdrawn by me in writing and hand delivered or delivered by registered or certified mailed, return receipt requested to the Executive Director of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Alabama Inc.
  • If you or anyone in your group has an opposition to this media consent, please contact the Volunteer Coordinator prior to your scheduled date.

Group Leader Responsibilities

As the group leader, you are responsible for relaying this information to your group as it is very important that ALL volunteers adhere to these guidelines. Feel free to email it out to them prior to your designated meal date, arrive early on the date of your meal and read over it all with them, etc. and get their acknowledgment of understanding before your designated volunteer time.

These guidelines are set in place for the safety of all volunteers and guest families. We hope your group will want to participate with our agency within these guidelines. Thank you for understanding!

I’ve read the guidelines. What do I do next?

Please fill out our Activity Group Volunteer Application. Once you have submitted the application, contact the Volunteer Coordinator to get your date set up. You MUST confirm your desired date with the Volunteer Coordinator. Just because you put it in your application as a preferred date, does not mean it is confirmed.

Questions?

Contact:
Volunteer Coordinator, Alice Taylor
205-638-7372
Alice.Taylor@rmhca.org