The founders of the Pasadena Village who came together to explore how they might help each other successfully age in place were all volunteers. From the beginning the spirit of volunteerism was embedded in the Village. The shape of the organization as it emerged over time reflected that dependence upon volunteerism - a very small staff with a board of directors and committees populated by volunteers.
What is a volunteer? A volunteer is someone who freely gives time, energy and expertise without financial compensation or other benefit to help an individual, a group of individuals or a community to work toward specific goals. The work is of value to both the individual volunteering and to the community or persons receiving the volunteer contributions. With different levels of commitment, all Village members have the opportunity to benefit from being a volunteer.
Over time, three categories of volunteers have emerged within the Pasadena Village: informal/unregistered volunteers; registered volunteers; and, vetted volunteers.
Informal/unregistered volunteers: The Pasadena Village is a member driven organization resulting in a culture that promotes informal and often spontaneous acts of giving - for example, contributing to pot luck dinners, helping at events to set up or clean up, gathering together to help staff with mailings, preparing meals for members who are ill or temporarily incapacitated, and more. Members who are engaged in these activities are informal/unregistered volunteers engaging in activities consistent with the culture of the Village.
Registered volunteers: These volunteers include both members and community supporters who wish to contribute to the Village as volunteers. They complete a written application to be a volunteer, identify their areas of interest and are assigned to specific tasks or duties within the organization. These would include: office support, committee chairs and members, technology support, event planning and support, and committees attached to the board, as well as volunteers in the Staying Connected Program who maintain connections with members through visits and phone calls.
Vetted Volunteers: These volunteers are registered volunteers who perform duties for the Village that require an extra level of scrutiny to provide legal protection for the Village and its members. Not only do they complete a written application to be a volunteer, but an official background check is completed for the Village by an outside agency. These volunteers include social work interns, volunteer drivers and those providing support in member homes.