The Lamb Center serves all sorts of people in all sorts of circumstances. What they all hold in common, they hold in common with us too: they need to be warmly met, to be known, to be loved, and to be faithfully served. Many of our guests regularly experience failure, rejection and humiliation, and we need to bear this in mind as we greet and serve them. Even some of those who appear most at ease in our company suffer terrible wounds which, though invisible to us, continue to ache and bleed. Our guests need us to faithfully practice the virtues of kindness, patience and tender humility.
The central work of our ministry is to faithfully pursue a relationship with each of the souls whom God brings to our door, so that we can begin to penetrate the isolation in which so many of them languish and wither, and so that we may encourage their relationship with God. Isolation paralyzes a soul, and makes change extremely unlikely. A man unknown to others becomes unknown even to himself. In time, he will come to believe himself unknown to God. Unknown, a man is unloved. Unloved, a man will inevitably come to think himself unlovable—unchangeable, unforgivable, unsalvageable. This is how isolation yields to despair. In contrast, a healthy relationship may look very different with each individual guest and faithfulness to each of these souls may demand very different things. Some qualities, however, should be common to our every encounter with a guest:
— We greet each guest lovingly.
— We seek to make each guest feel safe.
— We make ourselves available to them and listen carefully to them.
— We seek to discover their needs with them.
— We seek opportunities to pray with them and encourage them.
— We do not shy away from speaking honestly with them.
— We seek opportunities to share our faith with them.
— We do not let them slip quietly into anonymity at The Lamb Center.
— We set and honor clear boundaries to foster healthy relationships with our guests.
— We are willing to hold guests accountable for their words and deeds, to the degree we believe they can and should be held accountable.
— We examine ourselves for prejudices, and seek to purge ourselves of these.
— We give the “gift of ourselves” through listening.
Thanks to God, The Lamb Center is a safe place for our staff, volunteers, and guests. Our consistency in even very trivial matters of policy and practice contributes to everyone’s safety and contributes to our guests’ sense of fairness, trust and safety at The Lamb Center. If you think a special accommodation is called for, or if you find that a particular policy needs to be changed or adapted, speak to a staff member. A few specific practices that should always be remembered:
- Keep good “boundaries” with our guests. If a guest seems to pay you inappropriate attention, or says things that make you at all uncomfortable, do not feel that you must tolerate this for one moment more. Immediately terminate the conversation and seek a staff member’s assistance.
- Never feel that you owe anyone a hug, kiss or any other physical display of affection that makes you uncomfortable. The Lamb Center is committed to providing an environment that is free of sexual misconduct of any kind including sexual discrimination or sexual harassment. For additional information, please refer to the Sexual Harassment Policy at the end of the Volunteer Handbook.
- Never give a guest a ride, cash, your phone number, or address without first speaking to a staff member. If a guest should ask you for a ride, money, your address, etc., you may simply tell him that Lamb center policy prohibits you from doing so. Please alert a staff member immediately if this happens.
Our first responsibility is to you. Your experience with the lives of our guests may sometimes be painful or discouraging. Please let us know what you are seeing and experiencing at The Lamb Center, so that we can faithfully support you in ministry here.
Guest Privacy and Confidentiality
It is the firm intent and policy of The Lamb Center to care for all of the needs of our guests. Part of that care requires that we offer a safe place of confidence and security not only in physical terms but also in terms of privacy and confidentiality.
Volunteers and Interns will likely be exposed to information about our guests that must not be disclosed outside necessary treatment and counselling at The Lamb Center. Some of this information is protected by Federal or state laws prohibiting disclosure of health care and financial information, and the use or publication of photographs; some is simply a matter of creating an environment of confidence and trust.
We appreciate that everyone has their own fashion preferences. However, sometimes some of our guests respond inappropriately to certain clothing styles. Therefore, please wear clothing that provides adequate coverage and has a loose fit. For your safety and comfort, and for the comfort of our guests, please do not wear yoga pants or clothing that is too short, too low cut or see through. Thank you!
Parking at The Lamb Center is in short supply. Parking in our lot is reserved for staff and volunteers. If you see an empty parking space on Campbell Drive, please park there first.
When You Arrive
At the beginning and end of your shift, please check in with the front desk to record your volunteer time in Roll Call. If you’re unable to be here on a day for which you’re scheduled, please let the volunteer coordinator for your area know so that we can plan accordingly (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Our Daily Schedule
Our ministry is largely conducted in response to our guests and their needs. In the midst of all this spontaneity, our day is anchored in the consistency of a simple schedule:
Open to guests 8:00 a.m.- 3:00 p.m.
Bible study @ 10:30 a.m.
Our faithfulness to this schedule means a great deal to our guests, many of whom know precious little of order or consistency in their lives. Our consistency, even in very mundane things like our schedule and trivial matters of policy, is a sign by which our guests know The Lamb Center to be a safe place and its staff trustworthy.