Volunteers form an integral part of any non-profit charitable organization. The concept of inclusion and linking individuals to the generic community, largely depends on the involvement of well connected volunteers. In the early years of our Association, volunteers were the only means of providing support to individuals with developmental handicaps in our community and was on a limited basis. As demands for service, direct care and support grew, and financial resources became available, paid staff were hired to expand the role of volunteers. We entered into a new era of providing residential, vocational, employment and community living skills that were highly specialized, and required specially trained personnel.

The introduction of paid staff into the field did not however curtail the significance of the volunteer role within our Association. While we continue to include people and provide very individualized support, at a time where financial resources once again may be limited, the volunteer will continue to play an integral part of our future. It is important to recognize and define the role of volunteer, and to understand that the volunteer has as many expectations of us, as we do of them. An overview of From a Volunteer's Viewpoint which follows, articulates some of those expectations. It is important to determine with the volunteer the commitment they are willing to make in terms of time and expertise. The worst thing we can ask of volunteers is to do something they are not knowledgeable about, or that will take more time than they are willing or prepared to give.

Click here to volunteer

Some of the volunteer support afforded us by members of our community would include:

  • Becoming a Board member
  • Fund raising
  • Leisure activities
  • Friendships
  • Recreation, dances, bowling, soccer, swimming, horseback riding, and other sports activities utilizing generic resources in the community
  • Literacy
  • Membership in the Association
  • Connecting people in the community
  • Being involved on local, regional, and provincial committees
  • Advocacy

DEFINITION: A volunteer as defined by the New Webster dictionary is, "a person who of his own free will offers himself for a service or duty."

From A Volunteer's Viewpoint

If you want my loyalty, interest and best efforts, remember that ...

  1. I need a sense of belonging, a feeling that I am honestly needed for my total self, not just for my hands, nor because I take orders well.
  2. I need to have a sense of sharing in planning our objectives. My need will be satisfied only when I feel that my ideas have had a fair hearing.
  3. I need to feel that the goals and objectives arrived at are within reach and that they make sense to me.
  4. I need to feel that what I'm doing has real purpose or contributes to human welfare - that its value extends even beyond my personal gain, or yours.
  5. I need to share in making the rules by which, together, we share live and work towards our goals.
  6. I need to know in some clear detail just what is expected of me - not only my detailed task but where I have opportunity to make personal and final decisions.
  7. I need to have some responsibilities that challenge, that are within the range of my abilities and interest, and that contribute toward reaching my assigned goal, and that cover all goals.
  8. I need to see that progress is being made toward the goals we have set.
  9. I need to be kept informed. What I'm not up on, I may be down on. (Keeping me informed is one way to give me status as an individual.)
  10. I need to have confidence in those who guide my efforts - confidence based upon assurance of consistent fair treatment, or recognition when it is due, and trust that loyalty will bring increased security.

In brief, it really doesn't matter how much sense my part in this organization makes to you - I must feel it makes sense to me.