BECOME A VOLUNTEER RESPONDER
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.
What would you be doing?
Under the supervision of professional staff, you will provide emotional support, distress management and crisis support to at-risk seniors, to improve quality of life and empower seniors to remain engaged and living independently in the community. Responders work with program clients to assess immediate needs, identify goals, as well as help navigate clients through their challenges.
What qualities are we looking for?
Excellent communication skills
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
Ability to work independently
Good self-awareness and common sense
Emotional resilience, stability and maturity
Proficiency in English language (including ability to write in English)
Open to feedback
Adherence to Distress Centres' policies, procedures and call-taking guidelines
Ability to support Distress Centres' philosophy of empowering individuals
For your consideration
Timing is everything. Because we are dealing with vulnerable individuals, if you are currently experiencing your own personal trauma or emotional difficulties, this position may not be a good fit for you at this time. If you have experienced trauma in the past, it is important that you have worked through it with insight before going on to help others.
our responsibility to you
To provide training, protocols, policies, support and supervision to help volunteers do their job.
What we ask in return
To work one four-hour shift per week, for a period of at least one year (or a comparable number of hours) following training. You will be able to choose your weekly shifts from designated shift times from 9am to 10pm, M-F. 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 helpline and CRP comprehensive training programs
Reliability in fulfilling weekly shift commitments
Working within Distress Centres' policy and procedure guidelines
Maintaining a confidential work space as well as 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. Supporting vulnerable and at-risk seniors 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:
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.
The application process
After filling out an application, qualified applicants will be contacted, advising them to contact the office to complete a phone interview.
During the phone interview, your telephone presence will be assessed, as well as your communication skills and style.
Successful candidates will be invited to complete an in-person interview.
A reference check from two current or former supervisors will be completed after the in-person interview.
Successful applicants will be invited to participate in upcoming training.
**Please note that the screening process involves multiple stages. Not all applicants will be invited to the next stage. We thank you for your interest!
NOTE: Vulnerable sectors involvement or a criminal record will not necessarily preclude a volunteer from their role at Distress Centres. Decisions will be made on an individual basis. All information collected will remain confidential.
Distress Centres embraces diversity and values the lived experience of those who may be marginalized on the basis of race, creed, colour, national origin, political or religious affiliation, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, family relationship and disability.
F.A.Q. about Caller Reassurance
Q. What are the volunteer shift hours?
A: CRP operates Mon-Friday, 9am to 11pm and volunteer shifts are within these times. Overnight shifts are not a requirement.
Q: What training is involved?
A: All applicants accepted to CRP training are required to successfully complete 408 Help Line training plus an additional training specific to CRP.
Q: What is the commitment?
A: One year following successful completion of training, minimum one shift per week.
Q: How/where is CRP support provided?
A: All calls are made from a DC branch office during hours of service, supporting vulnerable and at risk seniors in the community. We work with participants to foster hope and resiliency, supporting independent living. We do this by providing a connection with a trained program volunteer who provides distress management, crisis prevention and responds to changes in wellbeing and suicide risk.
Q: Do I need to have experience working with seniors?
A: It’s helpful, but not necessary. We provide the training. You provide patience, compassion, gentleness, understanding and warmth.