Volunteer FAQ’s

Do you want to get involved but are not sure where to start?

 

You aren’t alone!

 

Below are Frequently Asked Questions and other important volunteer stuff to help point you in the right direction.

 

We are excited and thankful to have you serve with us!

 

Having issues with the Volunteer Website? Click here for help.

 

Click here to download a PDF copy of our Volunteer FAQs.

Where is Wheeler Mission Located?

Wheeler Mission has 9 locations in Indianapolis and Bloomington! Each location is unique and fulfills a different piece of the Wheeler Mission puzzle. When looking for volunteer opportunities, pay special attention to the locations you’re interested in. For more information about our locations, visit our Contact and Locations page.

Can I just come in to volunteer or do I need to sign-up?

All volunteers must be scheduled ahead of time through our volunteer registration system, Volunteer Hub. Volunteers use this system to sign up for shifts and monitor their calendars. Scheduling ahead of time also confirms there is availability on the volunteer schedule, we know to expect you, and ensures that you receive specific information that will be beneficial for your time with us (details, confirmation, etc.). Please reference the below question ‘How do I Start?’ for more information. You will know you are on the schedule when you receive an email stating ‘Event Registration Complete’. Non-scheduled volunteers will be asked to sign up before they can serve.

 

You can access Volunteer Hub by visiting, www.WheelerVolunteer.org! It is a great idea to bookmark this page if you plan to visit it often.

How do I start volunteering at Wheeler?

Find Opportunities: Wheeler Mission’s volunteer website is called ‘Volunteer Hub’. When you come to our home page, you will be able to view upcoming volunteer opportunities that are open and accepting volunteers. You can view events (also known as, shifts) in either a list view or the month view on the homepage. To find specific volunteer opportunities, click the drop-down menu on the left side under the notification center on the home page. It will say “All Events” then you can select specific categories of events. You can also use the search option on the top right side of the homepage, to narrow down results by searching any key word’s location, opportunity title, etc. Upon using one of these features, a list of volunteer opportunities will appear, where you can read the position’s details and qualifications!

Registering: After you’ve identified an opportunity, click ‘Sign Up’ and you will be asked to log in or ‘Create New Account’. To apply, follow the prompts to fill out your Volunteer Profile and submit. Upon selecting submit, you will see a ‘Thank You’ page and receive an email, which will tell you if you have been scheduled to serve or requested more information about that specific opportunity. If you have been scheduled to volunteer correctly, you will receive a confirmation email with details about your shift. If you have signed up for a position that requires more information, then the system has notified a member of our Volunteer Ministry Team to connect with you regarding the next steps for that position (e.g., attending a Wheeler 101 volunteer orientation, tour, etc.). You can expect to hear back from them within 1 business day!

Volunteer Dashboard: Once logged in, your menu at the top of the screen will look a little different. You will see the following listed at the top of the screen or in the drop-down menu under your name.

Events: Viewing all the available opportunities on the main page.
My Schedule: Get a list or calendar view of when you are scheduled to volunteer. Many of you who serve regularly will probably have a schedule to view!
Your Name: Once you select your name a drop-down menu will appear with the following prompts:

Update Profile: To update any details in your profile such as name, email, address, etc., you will select Update Profile’. Please be sure to update this information!
Change Password: Update your password, if needed, here.
Manage Affiliations: Update and manage your affiliations (or skills and availability) here.
Enter Join Code: If you receive a join code from someone on the Volunteer Ministry Team, this is where you will enter it.
View Points: You will earn points for every volunteer opportunity that serve and these points can be redeemed for Wheeler Swag.
View Signed Waivers: Review previously signed volunteer waivers.
View Hours: View your volunteer hours here as well report hours when you serve off-site.
Notification Settings: Edit your personal Volunteer Hub settings.
Change Language: Change your language settings.
Sign Out: Sign out of your account when needed.

What type of service is best for me?

If you are wondering about how to get involved or what service is best for you, you are not alone! For those wishing to serve one or more times, use the drop-down menu to search by category or search by one of the icons on our Volunteer Homepage. We always suggest serving a meal for your first volunteer time! In addition to those options, if you want to serve on a long-term basis, select the ‘Become High Impact’ icon to learn more about our Christ-centered opportunities. Each volunteer opportunity you see will have details regarding qualifications, scheduling, who to contact with any questions, etc.

What if my schedule is inconsistent – can I still volunteer?

Yes! Opportunities such as Meal Service or Meal Preparation can accommodate one-time volunteers or if your schedule changes frequently. We also have Special Events throughout the year where one-time volunteers are needed. You will be able to sign-up for these opportunities by searching on the website through the down-down menu or through icons on the homepage.

What are High Impact volunteers?

High Impact volunteers are dedicated Christians who are growing in their walk with Jesus and are called to have long-term, consistent, hands-on interaction with the guests and residents of Wheeler Mission. Depending on the opportunity, this could be mean once a week, once a month, or somewhere in between! Further qualifications will be listed on each High Impact position description. Click on the ‘Become High Impact’ icon on our volunteer website.

What opportunities are there for groups?

There are many different service opportunities for groups and families! Examples of some of the opportunities are Meal Service, Housekeeping, Store + Donation Center, Work Projects, and Recreation Night. You can search for these opportunities on the homepage under the drop-down menu or through the search feature. If you still aren’t able to find anything, please contact us with the following information: Date/day of the week of interest, timeframe to serve, group size, and ages of volunteers (if under 18) and we’ll help you find your fit!

Does everyone in my group need to sign up, or just one of us?

We require everyone in your group that is over the age of 13 to sign up individually. You can connect with the opportunity contact to reserve spaces so that they don’t fill up before your group is able to sign up if you’d like. Otherwise, please sign up as soon as possible.

Can I volunteer during the evenings or weekends?

Yes! There are many different volunteer opportunities available during the evenings and on weekends for individuals, families, and groups. During the evenings, Meal Service, Recreation Night, and Praise & Worship opportunities are available depending on the calendar. On the weekends, there may be Housekeeping, Work Projects, and serving at our Store + Donation Center. For more information, please go to our website and look for opportunities by date. If that doesn’t get you results you are looking for, contact us with the following information: Date/day of the week of interest, timeframe to serve, group size, and ages of volunteers (if under 18) and we’ll help you find your fit!

How old do I have to be to serve? Are there opportunities for children and teens?

Age requirements are dependent upon the volunteer opportunity. All volunteers under the age of 18 must be accompanied by their parent or an adult chaperone. We require at least one adult chaperone for every 5 children. We ask that guardians please use discernment when bringing a minor to volunteer. Ages will also be listed on each position description on our website, but below is general information about the different opportunities and minimum age requirements:

Meal Service: 8 years of age
Housekeeping: 5 years of age
Thrift Store: 10 years of age
High Impact: 18 years of age
Recreation Night: Since Recreation Night is geared toward groups where extra hands are available to serve, children of all ages, including infants, are welcome. Plus, kids staying at the Center for Women and Children love seeing other children!
Work Projects: Age restrictions will vary depending on the service project (i.e. skill level, tasks needed to be completed, safety, etc.), but generally 13 years of age is the requirement.

Is there a volunteer orientation? Is it required?

Yes! It’s called Wheeler 101. It is not required for all volunteers to serve. Wheeler 101 is open to anyone and is required for prospective High Impact volunteers. This session will not only familiarize you with Wheeler Mission’s values and programs, but you’ll also learn about factors leading to homelessness, including trauma, poverty, addiction, as well as volunteer opportunities and next steps to get involved.

Can I blog or post on social media about my volunteer experience?

With some important restrictions, YES! We encourage you to share about your experiences.

 

We must protect the privacy of our guests at all times. When you post about your volunteer experience on social media, do not share any personal or identifying information about our guests. This includes, but is not limited to: first and last names, ages, or details about children, routine, health, personal history, etc. Please keep this in mind when posting on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, personal blog, etc.

 

  • Permitted post example: Today, I served a meal at Wheeler Mission and met a mom and her kids. It was amazing to hear what they’ve overcome. Please keep them in prayer as they begin their next chapter in their own home!

 

  • Not permitted post example: Today, I served a meal at Wheeler Mission and met Susan and her 3 kids–Julie, Jill, and Joey. Six months ago, Susan had to leave her home on the Southside because her husband was using drugs. But tomorrow, she and the kids move into their own apartment! Please be praying for the kids–they start school at Stonybrook Elementary! And Susan’s first day of work at Target is next week!

 

We encourage you to take photos while you serve, but please refrain from capturing any images of our guests. Even if a guest grants permission to take his/her photo, volunteers are prohibited from doing so. Please limit photos to only include fellow volunteers and Wheeler Mission staff.

 

NOT SURE? ASK! For questions about our social media policy, please connect with Natalee Stafford, Director of Volunteer Services (NataleeStafford@WheelerMission.org). 

Can I take pictures during my volunteer service?

With some important restrictions, YES! We encourage you to take and share group or individual photos and videos of your service.

However, you may not photograph any Wheeler Mission guests/residents. Do not share pictures or names of individual residents or guests on social media. This protects their confidentiality and security in staying at Wheeler Mission.

We LOVE sharing your experiences on social media! Please share your pictures with us by tagging @WheelerMission on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, or by sending photos to volunteer@wheelermission.org. You can also post your videos to Super Service Challenge to help Wheeler Mission raise money. The more votes on a video, the more funds raised! You can post your video through Super Service Challenge apps found on any app store or through www.SuperServiceChallenge.com. Click here to learn more about the Super Service Challenge.

What do I wear to volunteer?

Whether serving at our men’s or women’s facilities, be aware of your surroundings, be modest and wear clothing and shoes appropriate that are for the volunteer opportunity and for the season. Our dress code exists to protect volunteer safety, follow safety standards, and show respect to our guests!

Clothing: T-shirts, jeans/khakis and athletic shoes are appropriate for most volunteer activities and business casual is acceptable for most professional positions. During the summer, shorts that are reasonable in length (finger-length when arms are at sides) are okay.
Shoes: For your safety, do not wear “flip flops” or similar shoes that do not adequately protect your feet.
Kitchen volunteers: Volunteers must wear long pants or skirts below the knee to protect the legs, a shirt with sleeves, closed-toed shoes, and a cap or a hairnet that Wheeler will provide. Long hair must be tied back. Inappropriately dressed volunteers may not be able to participate in the opportunity due to Indiana Health Code regulations.
The following are not acceptable: Short shorts/skirts/dresses, tight-fitting clothing, revealing tops, and/or clothing with inappropriate language/images. If anyone is wearing inappropriate clothing, they will be asked to change into clothes set aside for such purposes. If a volunteer is not compliant with this request, they may be asked to leave.

Will I be volunteering alongside guests or other volunteers?

This depends on the volunteer opportunity! Serving a Meal and volunteering at the Thrift Store are two opportunities in which you may be volunteering alongside other volunteers and possibly guests/residents. If you are serving with guests or residents, know they have been selected and trained by staff to accomplish the tasks of the opportunity. So there is no need for any apprehension!

Will I be trained?

Yes, you will be given instructions by a Wheeler Mission staff member or volunteer leader at the beginning of every volunteer opportunity/shift. In some cases, you will be required to shadow a current volunteer or staff member before volunteering on your own.

Where do I park?

Parking is dependent upon the location of your volunteer opportunity. Prior to your volunteer opportunity, please read the confirmation email that was sent to you for important information such as date, time, address and parking information. Please refer to the information below in regard to the location of your volunteer opportunity and where you should park.

Center for Women and Children – 3208 E. Michigan Street, Indianapolis 46201

You may park anywhere on the street in front of the Center or on both sides of Michigan Street. Wheeler owns the gated lot across the street at the southwest corner of Michigan and LaSalle Streets.

Shelter for Men – 520 E. Market Street, Indianapolis 46204

You may park in the lot on the northwest corner of Market Street and Park Avenue. Wheeler rents 15 spots here. Otherwise, you may use metered parking.

Men’s Residential Center and Administration Building – 245 N. Delaware Street and 205 E. New York Street, Indianapolis 46204

Metered parking is available on New York + Delaware Streets. Due to this location being directly downtown, our lot is very small and is reserved for staff and ministry vehicles. Unauthorized vehicles will be towed.

Store + Donation Center – 2730 S. Madison Avenue, Indianapolis 46225

Please park in the lot behind our two locations (Thrift Store and Donation Center). Spaces directly adjacent to the buildings are reserved for Store Customers and Donors. Please do not park on the south side of the Store near Planet Fitness as this lot is owned and managed by that property group. Unauthorized vehicles may be towed.

Center for Men – 215 S. Westplex Avenue, Bloomington 47404

Please park in any open spaces in the parking lot.

Hunt Training Center Entrance

Once you’ve entered onto camp property, continue to follow the gravel road to the right. You will see a large brown building and parking is available here.

I have some things I'd like to donate and bring to my shift, is that okay?

Yes! We thrive on donations generously given to us by volunteers every day. You can bring donations to any Wheeler Mission location, arrange a pick-up if you have larger items, take your donations to Wheeler Mission’s Thrift Store, or bring them to any of our donation barns throughout Indianapolis. For the most impact, connect with your site’s Volunteer Engagement Manager to ask what is most needed! You can also click here to learn more about financial giving, fundraising, and more about in-kind donations and needs!

If you have a desire to hand out donations directly to our guests, PLEASE connect with a site staff member beforehand so we can work with you to identify the best possible way, day, and time for this to happen. You can also keep up with occasional/seasonal needs by following Wheeler Mission on social media.

Remember, boundaries with our guests are important for everyone’s safety. To read more about boundaries, click here.

What if something comes up and I can’t serve?

If something comes up and you are not able to make it to your scheduled opportunity, visit your Volunteer Hub profile at www.WheelerVolunteer.org. Log in using your User ID and password, then click ‘My Schedule’ on the top of your screen. Find the shift you want to cancel and remove yourself from the calendar. You can also notify the Volunteer Ministry Team or directly contact our Team Member listed in your confirmation email. We require a 24-hour notice for all cancellations for us to properly cover your shift.

Can I do Community Service or Court Ordered Community Service at Wheeler Mission?

Yes, we have limited opportunities available for court-ordered community service on a case-by-case basis. If you are completing court-ordered community service, please be prepared to share necessary paperwork and additional information as needed. Please indicated on your application that you need community service so that we can connect you with the best opportunity.

Do you perform background checks on volunteers?

Yes, but only on High Impact and Professional volunteers. This is to ensure that we are providing a safe environment for our guests and residents. An occurrence in your criminal background does not necessarily discard you from being able to volunteer and exceptions will be made on a case-by-case basis.

How do I volunteer on Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving is the biggest volunteer day of the year at Wheeler Mission. Unfortunately, because of the extremely high demand for volunteer slots on Thanksgiving Day, and the relatively small size of our facilities, we regret that we cannot accommodate everyone who wants to volunteer that day. This is to protect the experience and the safety of all people on-site. Volunteers MUST sign up online to serve on any holiday. Meal service volunteer shifts open 90 days in advance and registration is scheduled on a first come, first served basis.

Do you offer volunteer opportunities during other holidays?

Wheeler Mission operates seven days a week, every single day of the year – and we have volunteer opportunities to match! However, please note that our Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Martin Luther King Jr. Day opportunities often fill up months in advance. If you would like to volunteer during a holiday, be sure to contact us a few months before.

Holidays are special for Wheeler Mission guests, so days like Easter, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, as well as other special days like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day (and the Super Bowl!) are GREAT days to get involved as many of our recurring volunteers take vacation or holidays, too. Please inquire if you are interested in serving on these days – we would be grateful!

Who do I contact if I have questions?

On our volunteer registration platform, called Volunteer Hub, each volunteer opportunity has a ‘Contact’ listed along with their email address and phone number. If you have other questions or inquiries, please email us your question along with your name and phone number to: volunteer@wheelermission.org / (317) 635-3575