Volunteer

Full-time, live-in volunteer caregivers staff Innisfree’s residential houses. These caregivers live side-by-side with Innisfree’s residents with intellectual disabilities, known as coworkers. Caregivers manage households and provide personal care to the coworkers who live there. Caregivers also work with coworkers in Innisfree’s therapeutic workstations, which include a bakery, community kitchen, farm, free school, herb garden, vegetable garden, weavery, and woodshop.

Apply

  1. CONTACT INNISFREE’S COMMUNITY COORDINATOR
    Contact Community Coordinator Nancy Chappell for a brief pre-screening interview to discuss your interest in volunteering at Innisfree. After this interview, you may request an information packet and application to be sent via mail.

  2. SET UP A 2-DAY TO 3-DAY VISIT
    Arrange a visit to Innisfree at least 2 weeks in advance, planning to come on a Wednesday or Thursday morning. Innisfree encourages weekday visits whenever possible so visitors can see the workstations in operation. Visits are not required for potential volunteers coming from abroad. A visit would include:

    • Tour of Innisfree
    • Meeting coworkers, volunteer caregivers, and long-term staff
    • Working in workstations
    • Lunch in Innisfree’s community center
    • Dinner in one or more community houses
    • Overnight in a community house
  3. COMPLETE AN APPLICATION
    An application includes:

    • Contact information
    • Employment and volunteer history
    • Educational background
    • Essay questions
    • 3 letters of reference
    • Background check
    • Confidential medical questionnaire
    • Tuberculosis screening letter
  4. REVIEW COMPLETED APPLICATION
    Innisfree’s Volunteer Acceptance Committee (VAC) gathers community input on a completed application. Processing a completed application generally takes 2 to 3 weeks, after which the applicant is informed of the community’s decision.

OBTAIN CLASS B VISAS FOR INTERNATIONAL APPLICANTS

International applicants must obtain Class B visas to enter the United States. Upon acceptance as a volunteer caregiver, an international applicant should schedule a meeting with the United States embassy in his/her country to apply for a Class B visa. Innisfree provides paperwork that can be presented at this meeting. However, Innisfree cannot ensure that an international applicant who has been accepted by the community will be granted a visa. For more on Class B visas, visit: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Criteria

A potential volunteer caregiver must be:

  • At least 21 years old
  • Able to make at least a one-year commitment of service
  • Willing to abide by Innisfree’s zero-tolerance policy for illegal substances
  • Patient and empathetic
  • Flexible and positive
  • Interested in living in a rural setting

Innisfree does not require volunteer caregiver applicants to have experience working with people with disabilities or in specific workstation areas. On-the-job training is provided.

Benefits

Each volunteer caregiver receives:

  • Room and board (accommodations and all meals)
  • Monthly stipend of $265
  • Medical coverage for non pre-existing conditions
  • Access to community vehicles
  • 15 days of paid vacation per year ($50 per day)
  • 5 days of unpaid vacation per year (3 around Christmas, 1 around Thanksgiving, and 1 around Easter)
  • 2 days off each week
  • Access to onsite fitness facility
  • Severance pay upon completion of term of service ($65 per month of service for first-year volunteers)
  • Support for student loan deferral
  • Training in first aid, CPR, medical assistance, and personal care

Accommodations

Each volunteer caregiver enjoys the following amenities:

  • Private bedroom in family-style home
  • Bathroom shared with 1 to 2 others
  • Kitchen, dining area, living room, and laundry room shared with all house residents
  • TV, VCR, and DVD player in living room
  • Access to wireless Internet in Innisfree’s office but not in community houses
  • Access to a community house in Charlottesville if caregivers are interested in spending their days off in the city

Responsibilities

Each volunteer caregiver has the following responsibilities:

  • SERVING AS HOUSEPARENT with other volunteer caregivers, ensuring the daily care, health, and human rights of Innisfree’s coworkers 5 days a week.
  • WORKING IN WORKSTATIONS three or four days a week
  • HELPING MAKE COMMUNITY DECISIONS at regular meetings
  • PARTICIPATING IN COMMITTEES committees are small “village maintenance” groups that keep the Innisfree functioning such as: keeping up with car care, planning monthly activities, repairing bicycles, reviewing potential volunteer applications, and coordinating our used clothing donations.
  • ABIDING BY POLICIES set forth in the Innisfree Village Handbook