Vanderburgh County Sheriff Shares Fall Festival Volunteer Safety Tips
The West Side Nut Club Fall Festival is less than two weeks away, and organizers are scrambling to fill volunteer positions at the food booths. There are a lot of public forms to sign up for a shift, but it is important to make sure that everyone is qualified to volunteer.
I noticed that one of my friends needed more volunteers for one of the West Side Nut Club Fall Festival booths. She put out a public sign-up on social media. The good news is that people are signing up. The bad news is that as she was checking on some of the volunteers, she found one that is on the Sex Offender Registry. Yikes!
This raised a huge red flag for me, since there are a lot of nonprofit booths looking for volunteers this year. So, I reached out to Vanderburgh County Sheriff Noah Robinson to get some safety tips.
Conduct Criminal Background Checks:
One of the most reliable methods for screening volunteers is to conduct criminal background checks. Indiana Odyssey provides access to valuable information about a person's criminal history with most court records in the State of Indiana.
Sheriff’s Sex Offender Registry:
You can search for registered Sex Offenders throughout the State, even offenders who have moved here from out of state. Indiana Sex and Violent Offender Registry (icrimewatch.net)
Expand Checks to Out-of-State Volunteers:
It's essential to recognize that not all volunteers may reside in the same state or have a criminal record in Indiana. Organizers should be prepared to extend their background checks to out-of-state volunteers.
In addition to criminal background checks, request references from potential volunteers. After all, you are basically hiring them to work with your nonprofit group. Contacting references can provide valuable insights into an individual's character and reliability. It's an extra layer of screening that can help organizers make informed decisions.
Communicate with Parents and Guardians:
Maintain open communication with parents and guardians of student volunteers. Make them aware of the safety measures in place and encourage them to share any concerns they may have. Building trust with parents is essential for creating a secure environment.