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Ever wanted to give back to your community in a meaningful and enriching way? Now is your chance. Volunteers are a vital part of Distress Centres. Every year, volunteers contribute more than 100,000 hours to our 24-hour distress and crisis lines, providing immediate access to help and support.

Under the supervision of professional staff, all volunteers are carefully screened and fully trained prior to taking calls or working with callers, program participants or survivors of loss. Volunteers also receive ongoing professional support and in-service education sessions. Experienced volunteers learn many life and communication skills which enable them to function more effectively in other aspects of their lives.

Note: We are currently not taking applications for the Downtown Centre - however, training spaces are available at our North York or Scarborough Centres. Alternatively, if you are in the region of Peel, please see our other volunteer opportunities for even more chances to join our amazing team!

What would you be doing?

You will be a crisis line responder, providing emotional support and crisis intervention on the 408-HELP line. 

What qualities are we looking for?

  • Excellent communication skills: a good listener

  • Ability to build rapport and convey empathy

  • Capacity to remain calm and effective in challenging situations

  • Non-judgemental and accepting of diverse values and beliefs

  • Reliability and punctuality

  • The ability to work both independently and in a team environment

  • Good self-awareness and common sense

  • Emotional resilience, stability and maturity

  • Proficiency in English

  • Open to feedback

  • Adherence to Distress Centres' policies, procedures and call-taking guidelines

  • Ability to support Distress Centres' philosophy of empowering individuals to identify their strengths

What we ask in return

To work one shift per week, including one overnight shift a month, for a period of at least one year (ora comparable number of hours) following training. You will be able to choose your weekly shifts from designated shift times. If you have any questions or concerns regarding shift scheduling, you will be able to address this with one of our volunteer coordinators.

What will be expected of you

  • Two references that are professional or volunteer-related

  • Police reference check, including vulnerable sector screening

  • A $75 fee to offset the costs of training & training materials

  • Successful completion of a comprehensive 40-hour training program

  • Reliability in fulfilling shift commitments

  • Working within Distress Centres' policy and procedure guidelines

  • Maintaining confidentiality about your work with Distress Centres

  • Participation in ongoing training and work-related opportunities for growth

What's in it for you

Helping those in need in your own community can be tremendously rewarding. It is a unique opportunity to help others, while also developing and enhancing communication skills that many find useful in everyday personal and business life.

Other benefits include:

  • Training

  • Enhanced self-growth

  • Increased knowledge of community resources

  • Learning new information about social issues

  • Opportunity to volunteer in an organization where diversity is welcomed and celebrated

  • Personal satisfaction of knowing one is making a difference in the community

  • Preparation for careers such as social work, psychology, community outreach, etc.

  • Letter of reference upon fulfilment of one-year commitment

As part of our commitment to volunteers, reference letters and confirmations of volunteerism are provided upon request to those who have fulfilled the specified requirements.  When providing reference letters, Distress Centres is only able to attest to a volunteer's skills, experience and personal qualities.  For clarity, reference letters and confirmations of volunteerism will note that Distress Centres volunteers engage in supportive counselling, but do not engage in psychotherapy, in the course of their volunteer work.