Odyssey Volunteer FAQs
Odyssey students—who are they?
Odyssey recruits students K-12 that tend to be low-income, high-potential academic performers. These students need encouragement, and they will look up to you as a role-model. For this reason, relationships must be kept to a professional standard and volunteers should never be left alone in one-on-one situations with an Odyssey student. At the same time, each student should always be treated with respect and should not be looked upon as a charity-act. Odyssey students have been selected through their own merit and should be viewed as fully capable academics who need adult directive.
To whom do I report, provide feedback, or make suggestions?
First thing in the morning, you will report to the Program Director’s office to sign-in. If you have feedback, suggestions, or concerns, please direct them to Jeff Cohen or Carissa Engelbert in Odyssey’s Pressly office. Volunteers need to promptly report to their assigned instructor to get daily schedules or assignments.
How will I know about upcoming events, trainings, or program changes?
By checking in at the Program Director’s office, you will be notified of any last minute changes or upcoming events. Periodic emails will also be sent and will sometimes require a response.
Will Odyssey write me a recommendation or community service letter?
Yes! Odyssey is happy to help volunteers with their community service requirements. Volunteers must track their own hours, and send an emailed request to Carissa Engelbert at the end of the program. A signed letter will be emailed to you, and can be mailed upon request.
How do volunteer schedules work?
Each volunteer will have the opportunity to communicate their preferred schedule, subjects, and grade level in their volunteer applications. Based upon collective volunteer responses and volunteer availability, Odyssey will design a schedule for each volunteer. These schedules will be divided into morning or afternoon shifts with an obligation to a minimum of 2-weeks (10 consecutive days) participation. Volunteers can and are encouraged to volunteer for longer increments.
Volunteers are expected to find their own transportation to The Westminster Schools campus Love Hall. We highly recommend showing up 10-15 minutes before your scheduled “shift” to ensure you can sign-in and receive any updates before your assigned class meets. If a volunteer is participating in field trips, they will accompany their assigned class on the bus.
What if I need to take a day off from my Odyssey obligations?
Odyssey prefers that volunteers keep their absences null—or at least to a minimum. Students will build a connection with you, and your absence does not go unnoticed. Odyssey Scholars are also held to a strict absence policy & Odyssey expects volunteers to be a beacon of Odyssey rules and principals. If you must miss a day, please email Carissa Engelbert at firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and a quick explanation. We will notify the proper parties.
How can I contribute my own special skills or gifts?
Odyssey has a full-time, year-round staff of three (3) people. We welcome added support, as each and every person involved in Odyssey is directly benefiting our mission and the scholars it serves. Please let us know if you have an interest in a specific subject, grade-level, or other administrative tasks. Odyssey wishes to ensure the best partnership with our volunteers and will be willing to work with you to accommodate your gifts and talents to their full potential. Many volunteers will return even when Odyssey is not in session to help us with clerical work, fundraising, event planning, and much more! All hours are considered community service hours and will be greatly appreciated.