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1 5/4/2015 Boomers and Babies: Engaging Boomer-age Volunteers in Oregon’s System of Early Care and Education Prepared for The Oregon Community Foundation.

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Presentation on theme: "1 5/4/2015 Boomers and Babies: Engaging Boomer-age Volunteers in Oregon’s System of Early Care and Education Prepared for The Oregon Community Foundation."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 5/4/2015 Boomers and Babies: Engaging Boomer-age Volunteers in Oregon’s System of Early Care and Education Prepared for The Oregon Community Foundation by Oregon State University College of Health and Human Sciences July 2008

2 OSU College of Health and Human Sciences 2 5/4/ OSU campus faculty Denise Rennekamp Kate Mactavish Clara Pratt Sally Bowman Bobbie Weber 4 OSU county Extension faculty Sharon Johnson – Jackson & Josephine Counties Fern Wilcox- Wasco County Jeanne Brandt – Washington County Nina Roll – Lincoln County 4 OSU doctoral students Molly Trauten Doris Cancel-Tirado Brandi Hall Rica Amity ESPP II Parenting Ed. Programs Kim Deck, Douglas Co. Kathy Barber, Coos Co. Other support from OSU & Partners Michaella Sektnan - IRB Rocci Taylor – Budget Diane Redd –OCF Dawn Norris- Child Care Division 93 Participants Team Effort

3 OSU College of Health and Human Sciences 3 5/4/2015 Boomer Potential in 5 areas Parenting: Interventions to help parents develop skills Early literacy: Improve the literacy of young children EC workforce: Fill gaps in the workforce Mentor and improve the workforce Advocacy : Build the capacity of advocacy in 3 areas High quality early care and education Access to health care in early childhood Other critical family supports Early childhood program infrastructure : Help EC organizations effectively manage business planning, staffing, or tax completion

4 OSU College of Health and Human Sciences 4 5/4/2015 Research Questions 1. What would make work in these areas of interest attractive or unattractive? 2. What barriers exist to participation? How might these barriers be addressed? 3. What structures and incentives would make this work most attractive and meaningful?

5 OSU College of Health and Human Sciences 5 5/4/2015 Focus Group Method A discussion to collect knowledgeable participants’ perceptions in a “non-threatening environment.” 9 focus groups: 4 Boomer volunteers 5 EC Program Staff Total of 54 participants

6 OSU College of Health and Human Sciences 6 5/4/2015 Location of 9 Focus Groups

7 OSU College of Health and Human Sciences 7 5/4/2015 Key informant interviews Gather qualitative information from a “key informant” who can provide detailed information based on his or her unique knowledge of a particular issue. 39 interviews: 19 Boomer volunteers 9 EC program directors 11 volunteer placement program directors RSVP, Experience Corps, Foster Grandparents, community volunteer centers

8 OSU College of Health and Human Sciences 8 5/4/2015 Boomer Volunteer Experiences Motivations  Life histories (families; kids/school)  Sense of obligation and purpose “We wanted to change the world” “Be part of the solution”

9 OSU College of Health and Human Sciences 9 5/4/2015 Boomer Volunteer Experiences Limitations/Barriers  Personal responsibilities, energy “When my Dad needs me, I have to go.”  Getting in – difficult to find a pathway to volunteering especially for “No one ever called me back!” “ …we have enough volunteers – we’re full.”

10 OSU College of Health and Human Sciences 10 5/4/2015 Boomers want … “Meaning, membership and mastery” Meaning “Do meaningful work” “Make a real difference” “Hire a volunteer to do real job – like a business hires a worker” Membership “Be an integral part of endeavor…” Mastery “I want to be good at what I do…” “Clear expectations” “Training and supervision”

11 OSU College of Health and Human Sciences 11 5/4/2015 Incentives/structures 1. Flexibility in time 2. Opportunities for social interaction with staff and volunteers/ feel part of a team 3. Organizational support: Clarity in job, expectations, training, positive guidance “Harriett, let’s try it this way…” Want agency to assign meaningful work, responsibility Procedures to keep the volunteer safe/address liability issues Mileage reimbursement/expenses

12 OSU College of Health and Human Sciences 12 5/4/2015 Incentives/structures Stipends and job sharing not highly ranked – meaning flexibility, organization, mileage were most important “Staff can’t have so much on their plates that they don’t have time for the volunteers.” “…someone to help me do a good job.” “Be organized, be READY…”

13 OSU College of Health and Human Sciences 13 5/4/2015 Boomers see some unique barriers in EC work High levels of need in kids and families “Even little kids come with baggage.” “Too draining… not fun, not rewarding… endless.” “These young families aren’t like ours…” Other EC barriers Enough energy, patience? Child illnesses Language, cultural issues Technology gap Liability concerns

14 OSU College of Health and Human Sciences 14 5/4/2015 Boomer Advice “BE organized!!” Create flexible roles, variable levels of commitment Get into community and clarify your needs Match volunteer skills with your needs Maintain communication with volunteers; include them in your team Show your appreciation “Say thanks!”

15 OSU College of Health and Human Sciences 15 5/4/2015 “Decide what the volunteer can do to really assist the program, take the time to explain why this work is important and why it must be done on time and within certain parameters, then volunteers will feel like their work matters.” “Even if it is only pouring coffee…”

16 OSU College of Health and Human Sciences 16 5/4/2015 EC Views of Boomer Volunteers Too little energy or personal flexibility for work in child care settings Boomers only want short episodic jobs “They want to come in, utilize their skills, stand back, say ‘Wow! That’s really cool!’ and then go to Mexico for two weeks.”

17 OSU College of Health and Human Sciences 17 5/4/2015 EC volunteer recruitment and retention strategies “We wait for them to come to us.” “We use our personal and organizational networks.” “Offer one time task that can be done in teams of people they know, make it a success and recognize their effort…they will come back…” “RSVP doesn’t know we exist.” RSVP says “we don’t have to recruit placement sites and Boomers don’t ask for EC jobs”

18 OSU College of Health and Human Sciences 18 5/4/2015 EC program expectations ‘Buy-in’ to philosophy Dependability especially in work with vulnerable kids, families “Trainability” and responsiveness to direction from a younger supervisor Professional behavior; confidentiality Pass background check; no drugs, alcohol. “Compassion, empathy, open- minded, tolerance, patience.” “People who have a heart for children and families.”

19 OSU College of Health and Human Sciences 19 5/4/2015 Challenges of Boomers in EC Work with young children is challenging. “Once kids are past being cute and cuddly, they aren’t as appealing” “Kids say things (‘My uncle was arrested.’) that shock volunteers” Will volunteers stay when it gets tough?

20 OSU College of Health and Human Sciences 20 5/4/2015 Challenges of Boomers in EC Generational differences/conflicts with today’s families “Are they able to work with different values?” Training and Supervision “(They have) a lifetime of (inappropriate) responses… like - you are a bad boy!” “(Will they) learn and understand professional practices and respect boundaries” Confidentiality “How much does volunteer need to know to work with a child vs. families right to privacy?”

21 OSU College of Health and Human Sciences 21 5/4/2015 Other EC concerns Preparing staff & children for volunteers “Staff have to see how volunteers are a help, not just another responsibility.” Letting volunteers go Liability Costs of volunteers “Volunteer management is a whole other job…” “Anything that costs $ is out of the question.”

22 OSU College of Health and Human Sciences 22 5/4/2015 Implications & Recommendations Reframe EC Volunteering Broaden limited views of volunteers roles  Address concerns of EC programs  Better engage volunteer placement programs

23 OSU College of Health and Human Sciences 23 5/4/2015 Implications & Recommendations Respect Boomers’ diverse interests, needs Offer time flexibility– balance with job structure and length of commitment Offer a menu of viable jobs that meet diverse EC program needs- short to longer term

24 OSU College of Health and Human Sciences 24 5/4/2015 Build EC Organizational Capacity Review program models ReServe and Experience Corps Work with partner programs to define volunteer positions and required skills Recruit, screen & match volunteer to the job Provide skill-focused training and on-site supervision Facilitate communication Manage paperwork and bureaucracy Assess success of placement Capacity is simply lacking in EC, especially in smaller, more rural programs

25 OSU College of Health and Human Sciences 25 5/4/2015 Final Big messages Tap unrealized potential by reframing current views of all parties EC and Boomers some similar perceptions and concerns Meet needs of both Boomer and EC Build EC organizational capacity Remember Boomers want: “Meaning, membership, mastery”


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