Volunteer

Volunteer with us!

So you have the passion and drive to help others? Do you want to get some hands on experience in a helping profession?

What we do:

We offer peer support specifically for teens, by teens. We are. . .

  • Non-judgemental
  • Confidential
  • Supportive
  • Understanding & knowledgeable

Though we provide extensive training, we do look for some pre-existing skills:

  • Excellent computer skills
  • Good listening and communication skills
  • Ability to keep a level head in a stressful situation
  • An excellent command of the English language (both spoken and written)
  • Ability to follow policies and procedures. Everyone’s got some rules to follow, right? Keeping calls, chats, emails and texts confidential is really important (What are the limits to confidentiality?)

ConnecTeen Volunteer Job Description

Mission Statement:

Provide compassionate, accessible crisis support that enhances the health, well-being and resiliency of individuals in distress.

Vision Statement:

Everyone is heard.

Distress Centre Core Values:

Accessibility Collaboration Compassion Excellence Inclusivity
Innovation Leadership Partnerships Respect Volunteerism

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Providing immediate and confidential crisis support (phone, chat, text) using agency procedures and policies, the Robert’s Model of Crisis Intervention, and in consultation with the Contact Centre Coordinators.
  • Providing information and referrals to Distress Centre programs and community organizations.
  • Addressing risk factors including, but not limited to, suicide, child safety, self-harm, and domestic violence.
    • Final decisions regarding these risk factors are not placed on the volunteers as staff will be making these decisions. However, it is the volunteer’s duty to notify a member of the Distress Centre staff when there is a person who is at risk according to Distress Centre policies.
  • Handling multiple contacts to ensure individuals are safe and that everyone is heard.
  • Documenting all contacts per Distress Centre procedures.

Qualifications

  • 15 to 20 inclusive (if over 20, please apply to the crisis lines)
  • Excellent computer skills
  • Excellent command of communication and interpersonal skills including: active listening, empathy, and patience
  • Ability to be level-headed in a crisis
  • Strong ability to work both independently and within team environments
  • Demonstrates self-awareness in areas such as: coping, stress-management and emotions
  • Ability to receive developmental feedback
  • Non-judgmental, accepting of diverse values and beliefs, and open-minded to callers with a variety of concerns
  • Excellent computer skills
  • Willing and able to follow policies and procedures

Note: Due to the nature of the ConnecTeen Volunteer position, we ask applicants who have experienced a personal trauma/life event in the past 12 months to wait one year prior to applying. Also, a criminal record and child welfare check are to be conducted on every new volunteer with their consent at no cost to themselves.

Time Requirements

There is an expected commitment of 40 shifts in the first ten months.  Volunteers can get ahead by scheduling additional shifts, to allow flexibility with their schedule on approval from the volunteer team leads. ConnecTeen hours are from 5:00pm – 10pm Monday – Friday, from Noon – 5pm and 5pm – 10pm on Saturdays and Sundays. These shifts are reserved for direct client interaction. Factors that may cause shift times to go longer than expected can be: documentation of the interactions, debriefing and support, or longer calls/chats. Credit hours will be given in accordance with the time spent. Inability to maintain and be consistent in completing this requirement will result in dismissal.

Observation and coaching shifts and classroom time do not count as part of your shift total.  Volunteers are encouraged to attend monthly Developmental Training sessions. After completing the commitment, volunteers may continue on with their current role at a reduced commitment of 2 shifts per month, or may decide to participate in the training/coaching of new volunteers as a Leadership Volunteer (additional training required).

Orientation & Training

  1. One Observation Shift – 4 hours
  2. 3 weeks of training, Class schedule is every
    • Tuesday 6:00pm – 9pm
    • Thursday 6:00pm – 9pm
    • Saturday 9am – 4pm
  3. Three Coaching Shifts – 15 hours

Our volunteers do not need prior knowledge or experience in crisis support. Distress Centre offers comprehensive training to all new volunteers in topics including, but not limited to: crisis intervention, addictions, relationships, and domestic violence. Distress Centre’s initial training is 60 hours, with opportunities for additional developmental monthly training.

Note: Alternative arrangements for training dates cannot be accommodated. Volunteers-in-training are expected to attend all sessions.

The training schedule can be found here.

Location

  • All training and shifts take place at the agency location: #300 1010 8th Avenue SW. Distress Centre is wheelchair accessible
  • Parking is also provided for volunteers on shift once they have begun their commitment.

What You Can Expect

  • Receive regular feedback and development
  • Paired with a Distress Centre Calgary mentor to provide support and guidance
  • Obtain training and support in effectively assessing a de-escalating crisis and high stress situations
  • Make tangible differences in others’ lives and feel connected to the community
  • Develop your communication and social skills and gain perspectives, or self-awareness
  • Be a part of a supportive team and create lasting friendships
  • Receive a reference letter upon completion of your first volunteer commitment

What We Can Expect

  • Volunteers to maintain communication with the agency
  • Volunteers adhere to their commitment

Obligations

As a volunteer, you will consider and agree to the terms stated below:

  • I agree to arrive 15 minutes before my shift
  • As a Youth Program Volunteer, I agree to meet my commitment of 4 (5 hour) shifts per month for 10 months (40 shifts total), and regularly attend bi-monthly Team Meetings during the year
  • I agree to be responsible for the shifts I sign up for and I will make a reasonable effort to find my own replacement if I am unable to make my shift
  • I agree to follow and adhere to the policies and procedures of the Distress Centre
  • I will attend developmental training as I am able
  • I understand my work will be evaluated on an ongoing basis
  • I understand more than three late arrivals or no shows for shifts, and training sessions, will be noted and could lead to a review of my status as Youth Program Volunteer (and may also be reflected in any references given).
  • If I do not fulfill the aforementioned commitments, I am aware my status as a volunteer will be reviewed

Questions? Check out the FAQ on the Distress Centre website.

What do I have to do?

  • Fill out our application form.
  • Come in for an interview.
  • Complete our 3 week training session. Topics include crisis intervention, domestic violence, mental health, and more.
  • ConnecTeen Shifts are available from 5:00pm-10:00pm weekdays and 12:00pm-10:00pm on weekends.
  • Your commitment would entail 4 shifts per month for ten months. You choose your schedule!
  • Help other teens and youth experiencing crisis through phone, chat and text.

If you want to make a difference, apply today!

Fill Out Volunteer Application Form Now


Application Deadlines and Training Dates 2019

Training runs on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6pm-9pm and on Saturdays from 9am-4pm for three weeks.

Training Group Application Due Date Interview Period Training Dates
October 2019 September 2, 2019 Sept 9-20, 2019 October 8-26, 2019
November 2019 October 7, 2019 Oct 14-25, 2019 November 12-30, 2019

Volunteer Testimonials

Read what ConnecTeen volunteers have had to say about their time volunteering.

During every shift, I have the unique opportunity to listen to teens from across the city and support them in any way that I can.  The most rewarding part of volunteering is simply when a caller or chatter tells me they feel so much better after our conversation.”

I have always wanted to give back to my community but never knew how, ConnecTeen gave me that chance. Now I get to make a difference in the lives of others as well as constantly learn, improve and discover myself and my abilities. The time I have given is so little to ask for all of the joy, appreciation and satisfaction that I gained through my experience volunteering with Distress Centre.”

Volunteering with ConnecTeen has definitely been a worthwhile and enriching experience and I believe it has been one of the best decisions I’ve made up to this day.”