Start a Garden of Innocence in Your Area or Become a Volunteer

Did you hear about us by searching the web? Well this is going to help you understand what we do and how to get involved. We need your help so badly. There is only two of us and many of you. Together we can make changes.

Would you like to start a Garden of Innocence in your state? We are branching out across the USA to help communities start a garden in every state. We need local support from individuals that have the same heart as we do and want to care for these little children.

If you feel like you would like to help us start a garden in your area, please write us and tell us a bit about you and why you think you would like to have a Garden of Innocence in your state.

We are anxious to meet and greet you and help get the gardens growing. We need community help and support all along the way.

We don't take over the garden, we teach you how to start a garden and bring your community together for one common good. We have the know how, instructions, supplies and many things to help you get started.

We just need you to let us know that you are ready to start this wonderful mission.

You have no idea how your life will be changed once you start a Garden of Innocence.

Please  write us today.

Garden of Innocence National
P.O. Box 722  Carlsbad, CA 92008

goinational@hotmail.com

WANT TO VOLUNTEER?

We have many jobs to do, so please read our list below and tell us what you think is the best place you would like to help.   

Volunteer Coordinator
Service Coordinator
Singer or Musician Coordinator
Poems Coordinator
Officiate Coordinator
Urn Coordinator
Beanie Baby Donation Coordinator
Baby Blanket Coordinator
Name Coordinator
Name reading Coordinator
Brochure Coordinator
Cemetery Coordinator
Honor Guard Coordinator
Inventory Coordinator
Historian Coordinator
Fund Raising Chairman
Speaker Program Coordinator
Historian Coordinator
Website Manager
Email Blast Manager
Facebook Designer and Manager

 Detail of duties:

Volunteer Coordinator- This person is over all the volunteers. He or She makes sure that all positions needed are filled.  Handles any problems or complaints.  Acts directly under the Director and oversees the Service Coordinator.  Notifies the Service Coordinator of a pending service.

Service Coordinator – Responsibilities include overseeing  all aspects of the graveside service to include contacting all coordinators, ensuring all elements of the service needs are covered and holding a post-service debrief with the coordinators. All musicians and Officiates will report to the service coordinator to receive their directions as to when it is their turn to step to the mike for the service.

***Color Guard, Musicians, poem reader and Officiate must arrive at the service by 9:30 AM to receive instructions on their part of the service***

***All participants in the service will follow the order of service in the Service Memorial Brochure***

Coordinator (Caskets, Music, Officiate, Floral, Poetry, Closing) – All coordinators are “point people” for volunteers in their area of responsibility for graveside services. For example, coordinators maintain their lists of volunteers and contact them when their talents are needed at our graveside services. They are responsible to train new volunteers (those they recruit and those assigned to them). They are available to participate in the graveside services and give a monthly report to the Volunteer Coordinator who represents their needs at the Board Meetings.

Musicians and Singers Coordinator  Responsible for maintaining of list of volunteer musicians and singers that have asked to be included in a service. Call those talents on an as needed basis. Musicians and Singers  are to share their musical gifts at the graveside service.  Coordinator must introduce the singer or musician to the service coordinator by 9:30 AM to receive their direction for the service.

Poems Coordinator-  Maintain  a list of volunteers that have expressed a desire to write a poem.  Instruct the poet that their poem is to be focused on celebrating the life of the child. They are not to mention the word abandonment, what an awful parent, throw away, abortion or any mention of the child’s whereabouts yesterday, if they know.  They are only to focus on this baby and this day only. Ask the writer if they would like to attend the service and read their poem. If not have a person selected to read the poem at the service and introduce that person to the service coordinator by 9:30 AM on the day of the service. If the poem reader is not their by 9:45 AM an alternate will be chosen.

  • Poems must be submitted at least 5 days before the service date to be printed in the Memorial Folder
  • Poems are to be no more than 12 lines - 100 words or less
  • All poems must be original and not copied
  • Poems must be written for this child only
  • No Haiku Poetry

Officiate Coordinator– Maintain a list of volunteer officiates that have asked to be included in a service.  Make them aware that we are non-denominational and all faiths are invited and encouraged to be part of the Garden's services. Instruct the officiate that their message is to be focused on celebrating the life of the child. They are not to mention the word abandonment, what an awful parent, throw away, abortion or any mention of the child’s whereabouts yesterday, if they know.  They are only to focus on this baby and this day only.  If their message comes off as inappropriate, we will not invite them to return to the garden. Today is a new day and this baby is going home!

Urn Coordinator – Work with woodworkers in giving them the specifications for building a handmade Urn. It can be made out of any type of wood but must not be larger than 8 x 8 x 5 inches. Most urns are 8x4x4. Plans are available online. Our Urn Coordinator is to be available to give advice and direction to the woodworkers  as well as receive the donated items and make sure they are placed in our storage area. Urns are to be kept clean and in a safe place.

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Beanie Baby Coordinator – Collects donated beanie baby size toys and places them in plastic bins to keep them clean. Removes any toys not felt appropriate to use at a service as in rats, spiders, lizards or fish.  Donate  all toys deemed not appropriate for the service to local law enforcement or fire department. Also donates toys deemed too large to any charitable cause

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Volunteer-4

Volunteer-6

Blanket Coordinator – Instructs people that want to make a blanket the exact criterion needed for an urn. Blankets are to be 8 x 8 inches and can be quilted, crocheted, knitted or tied. Must be appropriate  for a baby in choice of colors, fabrics or yarns.  Blankets must be folded as you would around a child and tacked together so they do not open, leaving the top open to insert the cremains. Maintain a plastic bin to store blankets and keep them clean. Donate all blankets deemed not appropriate or too large to a charitable cause.  

Garden of Innocence San Diego accepts blankets that are 30" X 30" as we do not do cremation burials at this time.

Name Coordinator- First person to callThis position is very important. This person (usually the director), is in charge of maintaining a list of names being given to future children coming into the garden.  People who have donated to the garden, need closure in other areas of their lives or just have a desire to name a baby may have their chosen name added to a list.  The babies receive a first name only. No middle names.

New names are given to the babies to protect them from anyone coming forward to claim them as their own, to protect the county and to protect the garden in revealing the ‘real’ circumstances of this child’s journey to the garden.  Sometimes it will be known by the public as to where the child came from but the Garden of Innocence does not give out any information to anyone as to the reason a child is given to us.  This is privileged & confidential information and is to be adhered to.  We do not focus on what happened to this child yesterday, we only focus today on recognizing their short time here and send them home with the love and dignity they deserve. Today is a new day and this child is going home. 

Sometimes a name will be moved to the top of the list for a specific reason as when the person who named a baby is moving and wants to be there to see their name given to a child, or a special guest present has named a baby. We do try to maintain the list in order as we know that everyone wants to see their name given to a child and we try our best to be impartial. The coordinator is responsible to notifying the person who named the baby to see if they would like to write their poem as well and be present at the service. People who name a baby must give their email or phone number so we can contact them.

Name Reader Coordinator- This person is responsible for reading the name of every child in the garden at the end of the service. The names are printed on cards and this coordinator is to find people at the service that would like to be part of the service and read off a few names. They must prepare this group to be ready at their allotted time, during the service, so the service does not fall behind schedule. Please choose new people at each service so more people can be involved.

Folder Coordinator- This person works with the service coordinator directly with the information for the Memorial Service Folder.  Once all positions for the service have been filled, the Folder coordinator will make and print out the service folders and bring them to the service to  pass out to all in attendance.  You will find volunteers at each service to pass out the brochure so everyone can be involved. (an example of this will be given to the Folder Coordinator)  It is very important that are names are spelled correctly and everyone who participated in the service is thanked on the back.  A copy of the folder must be given to the historian Coordinator for the childs files.
 
Cemetery Coordinator- This is the 2nd person called on the list by the service coordinator.  This person calls the cemetery to be receive a date that they are available to do a service. Services are always on Saturdays at ten in the morning.

Honor Guard Coordinator – This Coordinator notifies the honor guard as to the date and time of the service. Honor Guard is typically the Knights of Columbus but can also include local law enforcement and the military or a combination of all. As many, as would like to come, are welcome. Honor guards are to be at the service by 9:30 AM to receive their directions. (always open)  See Knights of Columbus tab

Inventory Volunteer – Maintain count of inventory (urns, toys, blankets, etc) and notify volunteer coordinator of needs. Needs to be available, to meet coordinators at storage,  to drop off donations.

Historian Coordinator- This person is responsible for the private information of all children. Maintaining a data base of all children with all the information we have on the child as well as who participated at the service. Maintaining a separate hard copy file of all the information we have on a child as well as a copy of the memorial folder and pictures of the service in each file.  They will need a filing cabinet for maintaining documents and a computer for the data base. A copy of the data base will be given to this person.  This coordinator must be aware that the information they are given is privileged and the information in the files are not to be given to anyone unless expressly asked for by the County Coroner.

Facebook Coordinator- This person will maintain the Facebook page with current information, pictures from the services and news about what is going on in the garden. They will refer any requests to the proper coordinator. A separate Facebook page will be set up for each garden.

Fund Raiser Chairman- This person is responsible for recruiting people to help raise funds for the garden as well as implement fund raising activities. 

Email Communications Volunteer – Responsible for maintaining the Garden of Innocence email database and send notices to the entire list using Constant Contact online e-marketing software.

Direct Mail Communications Volunteer  Responsible for maintaining the Garden of Innocence mail database, create newsletters, and implement mailing schedule through print vendor. Can also facilitate newsletters.

Marketing Support - Hold electronic files for our marketing materials and print them as needed. Garden of Innocence will provide the printer, ink cartridges and paper.

MOST IMPORTANT VOLUNTEER- Be there!  If you cannot do any of the above, the one thing you can do is to come to a service and be there to send a child home with the love and dignity they deserve.  When you spend 45 minutes on a Saturday morning caring for a child that had no one yesterday but has a multitude of strangers to care for them today is very fulfilling. This is the only memorial service that you will ever go to where you walk away with a lighter step and you will want to tell all your family and friends to come next time.

Can't find a spot, we'll find something for you to do.  Call Juanita Medina today at 760-525-6557 or write us at goikern@gmail.com
 
*SPECIAL NOTE: Sometimes there are people that want to work in the garden for the pat on the back for what a great person they are.  This garden is not about you. It’s about lost children that are now found & loved. If you are looking for the glory, then please don’t apply for one of our coordinator positions.  If we find a fit like this in the garden we will ask them to step down. We know everyone has the heart to help, but some just can’t find the right niche in the garden, so please consider just coming to a service and supporting us that way and not take a position that you don’t fit well in. 

** SPECIAL NOTE:  It is very important that you stay with your coordinator position and not answer for another coordinator.  If someone offers assistance in a particular job, point them to the right coordinator.  People take their jobs seriously and get very offended when someone takes over their job without permission.  This has caused many problems in the garden and we would like to avoid the drama. (If someone asks you to speak at an engagement, present it to the speaker coordinator first. They have been instructed in exactly what to say about the garden) Misrepresentation of the garden facts can cause serious problems.  Please be considerate of others positions.

SEE YOU IN THE GARDEN,

Elissa