By Karin J. Martinez, USAG Italy PAOJune 16, 2016
*This is the second article in a three-part series on volunteering.
CASERMA EDERLE, Italy -- Volunteers are abundant and dedicate thousands of hours per year in the Vicenza Military Community, but there is always room for people who want to share their time and talents.
For those so inclined, the U.S. Army Garrison Italy Army Volunteer Corps program office, located here at Army Community Service, is the place to start.
There are more than 130 organizations accepting volunteers, with more than 760 positions from which to choose. Volunteers may be Soldiers, civilians and family members. No matter who they are or where they come from, there is a place for them if they have the desire to contribute. The AVC provides placement opportunities for volunteers based on the volunteer's interests and agency needs, said Yvonne Leible, AVC program manager.
"There is something for everyone," she said. "Our volunteers touch so many facets of the community. They are so vital, and we couldn't accomplish all we do on this installation without them."
The first step to volunteering is to register with the Volunteer Management Information System at www.myarmyonesource.com. This system is the online volunteer management tool that provides standardization across the Army, creating a service history for the volunteer as he or she moves from installation to installation. Registration is mandatory per Army Regulation 608-1, but it is a one-time-only task: registration travels with a volunteer no matter where he or she transfers next.
To register here, help is available if one needs it. If an applicant does not have access to a computer at home, four computers at ACS are available for use. Likewise, if someone is struggling with navigating the website, a "Chat Online" feature is available.
"There are a handful of people working with 'Chat Online,' and they are real people, not a computer," Leible said. "I've found them to be extremely helpful. But if someone requires even more assistance, I am available."
Once a person registers, it's time to apply for a position. After application, Leible said, an organizational point of contact (OPOC) must accept the person for the position in order for him or her to begin working. There is an OPOC in each organization; the person in this position manages volunteers and their hours. If a person doesn't know who their OPOC is, he or she may contact the volunteer coordinator's office for that information.
Once someone applies, the OPOC receives an email and then contacts the applicant to decide whether applicant, position and organization are a good fit. When accepted for a position, the volunteer attends an orientation that includes completing necessary forms. If a background check or fingerprints are necessary for the position, the applicant will fill out that paperwork and make an appointment with the installation Security Office.
When all paperwork is complete, volunteers can begin work. Although it sounds cumbersome, the process can be relatively swift if all parties are available, Leible said.
Once volunteering commences, volunteers must not forget to log their hours, also per AR 608-1. Volunteers take care of this on the OneSource website.
"Registering hours is important," Leible said. "Besides the fact that it's mandated by regulation, it's important to see where volunteers are being used in the garrison. This enables the organization to accurately report volunteer activity and ensure we are utilizing our assets to the best of our ability."
Whether you want to volunteer at Outdoor Recreation, the American Red Cross or any place in-between, it's time to get the process started. Stop by the AVC office in Building 108, Room 105. The office is open each Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. At Del Din, AVC is open Wednesday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call DSN 634-7942, comm. 0444-71-7942, for more information.