BECOME A VOLUNTEER RESPONDER

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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.

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:

  • 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.

 

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.

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Interested in volunteering?
Please take our quiz to test your listening skills.

Rating (1- Never, 2- Rarely, 3- Sometimes, 4- Most of the time, 5- Always)

1. I am the type of person who encourages others to talk

1- Never
2- Rarely
3- Sometimes
4- Most of the time
5- Always

2. I enjoy listening to others

1- Never
2- Rarely
3- Sometimes
4- Most of the time
5- Always

3. I have the same approach when listening to men and women, young and old

1- Never
2- Rarely
3- Sometimes
4- Most of the time
- Always

4. I am interested in listening to people even if they are someone whom I do not know

1- Never
2- Rarely
3- Sometimes
4- Most of the time
- Always

5. I am able to listen from an unbiased perspective, regardless of whether or not I like the person or their ideas

1- Never
2- Rarely
3- Sometimes
4- Most of the time
- Always

6. I tend to seek clarification when I am unsure of the meaning

1- Never
2- Rarely
3- Sometimes
4- Most of the time
5- Always

7. I tend to ask open ended questions to get the other person to fully explain their ideas

1- Never
2- Rarely
3- Sometimes
4- Most of the time
- Always

8. I listen even though I think I know what will be said-

1- Never
2- Rarely
3- Sometimes
4- Most of the time
- Always

9. I am able to provide full attention when listening to someone

1- Never
2- Rarely
3- Sometimes
4- Most of the time
- Always

10. I listen even though the person’s manner of speaking or choice of words is not the best

1- Never
2- Rarely
3- Sometimes
4- Most of the time
- Always

11. I tend to reserve judgement on someone’s ideas until they are finished

1- Never
2- Rarely
3- Sometimes
4- Most of the time
5- Always

12. I am able to reflect back what the person has said in order to ensure I have heard correctly

1- Never
2- Rarely
3- Sometimes
4- Most of the time
- Always

13. I consider and evaluate what the speaker is saying

1- Never
2- Rarely
3- Sometimes
4- Most of the time
- Always

14. I encourage the speaker to continue if they hesitate

1- Never
2- Rarely
3- Sometimes
4- Most of the time
- Always

15. I allow the speaker to complete what they are trying to say

1- Never
2- Rarely
3- Sometimes
4- Most of the time
- Always

    Add up how you score as a good listener!

    60 or better: You’re all ears! The message came through loud and clear! 
    50-59: Average. You might be missing some information, but keep at it! 
    49 and lower: There’s interference on the line. This may not be the most appropriate volunteer match.

     
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    Fill out the caller reassurance Volunteer Application

    Name *
    Name
    Telephone Number *
    Telephone Number
    How did you find out about Distress Centres? *
    Reference Name *
    Reference Name
    Reference Phone Number *
    Reference Phone Number