Volunteer Information & Guidelines
Thank you for your interest in volunteering at Bridgeport Rescue Mission (BRM)! We want to ensure that your volunteer experience with us is enjoyable and rewarding.
To help make your time with us the best it can be and to make the Mission as safe as possible for all volunteers, guests and staff, we ask that you adhere to the following guidelines carefully and without exception.
Volunteer Schedules are developed by BRM’s volunteer manager, Courtney Pandolfi. We take into consideration the availability listed on your volunteer application, your skills and our current volunteer needs. Available times and the duration of each volunteer opportunity are outlined in our Volunteer Opportunities.
Plan to dress comfortably and appropriately. Certain volunteer roles require special dress considerations to help you better perform your volunteer tasks.
- Women: Please make sure that you wear modest, loose-fitting tops. Crop-tops, halter tops, spaghetti straps and tight-fitting shirts are not allowed. We ask that you avoid wearing shorts or skirts above the knee. Slacks, Capri pants and long skirts (below the knee) are acceptable. Meal service and donation center volunteers are required to wear closed-toe shoes; no flip-flops or opened-toe shoes are allowed.
- Men: Please ensure that T-shirts do not contain messages related to drugs, alcohol, sex, profanity or violence. Meal service and donation center volunteers are required to wear closed-toe shoes; no flip-flops or opened-toe shoes are allowed
Parking is at a premium on BRM premises. Volunteers should use the following on-street parking options.
- Main Campus: Ample parking is available on Fairfield Avenue and Sherwood Avenue.
Guest House: Ample parking is available on Sylvan Avenue in front of the Guest Ho
- Women’s Center: Ample parking is available on Barnum Avenue and Beach Street.
- Donation Center: Ample parking is available along the fence near Unit 2-B.
All volunteers should enter and exit through the main entrance of our Main Campus, Guest House or Donation Center, depending on their area of volunteer service. Each volunteer must sign in and retrieve his or her name badge upon arriving, and sign out and return the name badge before leaving. Volunteers are required to wear name badges at all times when serving at the Mission.
Please leave valuable personal items at home or secured in the trunk of your car. BRM is not responsible for lost or stolen items. Cell phones are allowed, but we ask that you limit your calls while on the premises. Please note that smoking is not permitted on BRM property.
Interaction with Residents and Guests
When interacting with the residents and guests, please exercise wisdom and caution. Displays of affection and concern can easily be misinterpreted. Maintain your personal space and keep a comfortable distance physically and emotionally. We do not permit touching, dating, flirting or romantic relationships between residents or guests and our volunteers. Private conversations and prayer between opposite sexes should include a third party.
While we encourage the development of friendships, please do not attempt to meet a resident’s personal needs (i.e., loan money, offer rides or babysitting assistance, arrange to meet outside of the Mission, give material or financial gifts). Do not hold or maintain personal property for a resident or guest. Please refer resident requests of this nature to the staff supervisor in your area. Staff members work regularly with residents to address their personal needs and concerns.
The staff is responsible for disciplining the residents and guests, if necessary. If you have a conflict with a resident or guest or need intervention, locate your supervisor or a staff member immediately. The staff applies the policies of BRM using their best judgment. If a resident or guest approaches you with a question about policy, refer them to a staff member.
Your safety is important to us. If you are injured or involved in an accident while volunteering you must complete an Injury and Accident Report for insurance purposes. Please obtain an Injury and Accident report from the volunteer manager if needed.
Zero Tolerance Policies
- Violence: Bridgeport Rescue Mission will not tolerate violence on or around its premises by or against staff members, residents, volunteers or members of the public. We expect volunteers, staff, residents and guests to treat one another with respect and dignity. Any incident of violence should be reported promptly to a staff supervisor, the volunteer manager or a member of the staff. Violence includes, but is not limited to, verbal or physical intimidation, contact or threats. Violation of this policy will necessitate removal from the volunteer program.
- Theft: Bridgeport Rescue Mission will not tolerate theft on or around its premises. Theft should be reported promptly to a supervisor, the volunteer manager or a member of the BRM staff.
- Substance Abuse: It is the policy of BRM to maintain a drug-free environment. The possession, use, purchase, consumption, transfer or sale of alcoholic beverages, controlled substances or illegal drugs during the volunteer’s time of service at BRM or while representing BRM is prohibited. BRM reserves the right to take criminal, civil or disciplinary action against such volunteers. Reporting for your volunteer service under the influence of alcohol, non-prescribed controlled substances or illegal drugs will result in dismissal from the volunteer program.
Your confidentiality and the confidentiality of our residents is of upmost importance. Please do not share with residents your personal details such as last name, phone number, email or home address. We ask that you keep all information you obtain through your volunteer service at BRM about our residents confidential, including their names and other personal information. Please do not take photos of, record and/or video residents. Please DO take photos of yourself and of our staff to share on social media and with others about your volunteer experience! Don’t forget to tag BRM on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram!
Please do not promise strict confidentiality or indicate that you will withhold information from the staff on a resident’s behalf. Please inform a staff member or the volunteer manager of any such exchanges immediately.
Our building is equipped with emergency alert and sprinkler system and the capacity to contact the Bridgeport Police Department immediately. In the event of an emergency, your sole responsibility is to get yourself out of the building quickly and safely.
Please contact Courtney Pandolfi at 203-333-4087, ext. 112, or email any time you will be unable to volunteer. Moreover, while we hope you will feel called to serve with the Mission for years to come, we understand that schedules and priorities change. Please contact Courtney if you will need to discontinue your volunteer service.
We welcome your suggestions on how to make the Mission the best place it can be to volunteer. Please email Courtney with feedback, comments or ideas!
Please keep this copy of the Volunteer Guidelines in your records and refer to it often.