Volunteer Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is a volunteer?
A “volunteer” is anyone who, without compensation or expectation of compensation beyond reimbursement, performs a task at the direction of and on behalf of Queen of Hearts Therapeutic Riding Center, Inc. (“Queen of Hearts”). A volunteer must be officially accepted and enrolled by the Center prior to performance of the task. Unless specifically stated, volunteers shall not be considered as “employees” of Queen of Hearts.
How do I apply to be a volunteer?
STEP 1 – For a seamless transition into our volunteer program and for the safety of everyone, all volunteers, no matter what their experience, must complete our on-line training. Follow this link for the free on-line training: https://queen-of-hearts-learning-center.thinkific.com/courses/orientation.
STEP 2 – After you complete your on-line training, call Queen of Hearts Therapeutic Riding Center, Inc. at 951-734-6300. All lesson volunteers will be scheduled for the next “Hands-On” training day. All other volunteers will be scheduled for their first day of service.
STEP 3 – Download and complete the “Volunteer Packet” Fill out the application and sign where indicated. (Volunteers who have not reached their age of majority (18 years old) must have the written consent of a parent or guardian prior to volunteering. The volunteer services assigned to a minor are performed in a non-hazardous environment and comply with all appropriate requirements of child labor laws.) Bring the completed Volunteer Packet with you to your first day at Queen of Hearts.
STEP 4 – Lesson volunteers: Once you complete your hands-on training you will be scheduled to shadow an experienced volunteer and assist with lessons and receive continued guidance towards client-specific needs.
STEP 5 – Upon successful completion of your training, you become an official Queen of Hearts Volunteer!
STEP 6 – Schedule your volunteer day(s) and time(s)
What are the qualifications of a volunteer?
♛ All volunteers must be at least 14 years old. Those who are not yet 18 years old must have the written consent of a parent or guardian prior to volunteering.
♛ All volunteers must be able to perform all assigned tasks.
♛ To ensure program safety, all lesson volunteers must be able walk continuously 1-5 hours at a time and occasionally jog for short distances.
♛ Barn maintenance volunteers will be required to lift about 20 pounds at a time. There are many other volunteer opportunities for those volunteers with limitations (physical or of any other kind).)
♛ After training, volunteers must be able to perform tasks with minimal supervision.
♛ Volunteers must be able to accept constructive feedback.
♛ Volunteers must be able to commit to a consistent volunteer schedule.
♛ Horse knowledge and experience is helpful, but is not necessary.
♛Volunteers must dress in an appropriate and professional manner.
♛ Volunteers must be willing to learn and follow the Queen of Hearts’ procedures.
What are my responsibilities as a volunteer?
♛ Lesson volunteers must arrive no later than 30 minutes before the scheduled lesson time.
♛ If physically able, volunteers may assist instructors and therapists by leading or sidewalking with riders.
♛ Volunteers may assist staff with lesson preparation.
♛ Volunteers may assist with barn and ranch chores.
♛ Volunteers may perform miscellaneous tasks as assigned by staff.
♛ Volunteers may attend continuing education opportunities.
♛ Consistency is very important for the smooth running of our riding program. Therefore, we encourage volunteers to have a regular schedule in the day(s) and hour(s) they volunteer. Your dependability is essential.
Can I complete my community service hours at Queen of Hearts?
Occasionally community service volunteers may be accepted to Queen of Hearts. This will be at the discretion of the Volunteer Coordinator and/or Executive Director but they must be a minimum of 14 years of age and cannot have a record of violent crime.
Do volunteers ride?
Our horses are expected to work five days a week and it obviously would not be fair to them to make them available to all of our volunteers. However, we may offer riding lessons to volunteers if time is available, the horses have had ample rest, and no other lessons are scheduled for the day. If interested, please talk to the program director to arrange a time. No volunteer should expect to be able to ride the horses in exchange for their volunteer service; that would be a barter program, not a volunteer program.
Is there an orientation program?
All volunteers receive an orientation on the nature and operation of the program or activity for which they are recruited and specific orientation on the purposes and requirements of the position which they are accepting in that effort. Volunteer trainings are scheduled throughout the year. All lesson volunteers, no matter what their experience, must complete our on-line training and then our hands-on training. Once you complete your hands-on training you will be scheduled to shadow an experienced volunteer and assist with lessons and receive continued guidance towards client-specific needs.
Will I be trained for my duties?
All volunteers receive training in their volunteer duties. All sidewalkers will demonstrate a proficiency in this task prior to being put in a lesson. All horse leaders will demonstrate a proficiency in horse handling prior to leading a horse in a lesson.
What is the length of a volunteer commitment?
All volunteers are requested to make a minimum of a six-month commitment to the program unless special arrangements are made in advance.
What are the volunteer work hours?
Volunteer work schedules are flexible and may be made at any time as deemed necessary by supervisors based upon business needs and other requirements. Volunteers may also request to make changes in their work schedule. Volunteers are to be on-time and complete their scheduled work hours. Volunteers will record their work hours on the sign-in tablet or hand-written log located in the First Aid Shed. The Volunteer Coordinator records the hours on or before the day monthly statistics are due.
What if I am scheduled to volunteer but I have to cancel?
You are a VERY important part of our program. If we do not have volunteers we cannot have lessons. Please do your best to honor your commitment. If circumstances prevent you from coming at your regularly scheduled time, please notify us as soon as possible at (951) 394-3731. When you cancel please state your name and the day and time you volunteer. The earlier you can advise us the more chance we have to find a substitute.
What Happens if there is Inclement Weather?
In the case of inclement weather, please call ahead to see if we are having lessons. It can be pouring rain at your house and be bright and sunny in Jurupa Valley, and vice versa.
Are there Volunteer Levels for Advancement?
Many volunteers want to be able to work more extensively with the horses. To ensure that volunteers know how to safely and correctly perform a task and to ensure that the horses are treated properly, we have a series of checklists. If you are interested in advancing through the volunteer levels, let an instructor or stable manager know and they will help you get started.
Queen of Hearts offers volunteer enrichment programs and continuing education opportunities throughout the year to help broaden your horsemanship skills, knowledge, and learn more about working with individuals with special needs.
Is There a Mentor Program?
A new volunteer is assigned to a veteran volunteer for the first few days. If, after one session (approximately eight weeks) of volunteering, you would like to be a “Mentor” to a new volunteer, please contact the Volunteer Coordinator.
Is there a dress code?
Dress comfortably for working outdoors. You may want to wear layers in the early morning or late afternoon as the weather is unpredictable. Gloves may be appropriate for the winter but make sure they allow a firm grasp on the lead lines.
Although it may be fashionable, please do not wear shirts, pants or shorts with rips or tears. Also, all shorts must fully cover your behind when you bend over.
Your shoes will need to offer support for walking in sand and be sturdy enough to provide protection for working around horses. All shoes must be closed-toed: boots, and sneakers/walking shoes are ideal, but no flip-flops, sandals, or open-heeled shoes.
You may want to wear sunglasses, a visor or a hat. Sunscreen is also a good idea. Shorts are OK, but not too short. Tank tops are also OK. Please do not wear low-cut tops or tops that expose the midriff. This will distract the attention of some of our riders!
Jewelry is not recommended, especially long earrings or necklaces. It is also suggested that long hair be tied back. Anything that dangles can be distracting to the riders and/or may get caught on the tack.
The use of perfumes or certain lotions are not recommended. The scent may cause reactions in some of the students and some scents may attract bees and other insects.
What do I do when I arrive to volunteer?
When you arrive to volunteer, be sure to sign in at the kiosk in the office shed. It is important for us to keep track of volunteer hours for fund-raising purposes. This is also important for the volunteers who need a formal record of their hours. If you are a lesson volunteer, please arrive one-half hour before lesson time for grooming/tacking horses and for assignment.
What is the confidential policy?
Volunteers are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of all proprietary or privileged information to which they are exposed while serving at the Center, whether this information involves a staff member, volunteer, client, or other person at the Center or it involves overall agency business.
Is this a Drug-, Alcohol- and Smoke-Free Workplace?
Each volunteer is responsible for complying with the drug-free and smoke-free workplace policy as a condition of service and acknowledges receipt of the agency policy. Any illegal manufacture, distribution, dispensing, possession or use of illegal drugs, or unauthorized possession or use of alcoholic beverages on Queen of Hearts’ time or premises may be grounds for dismissal and/or termination. Any volunteer reporting for work under the influence of drugs or alcohol may also be subject to termination or any other action as deemed appropriate by the supervisor.