Volunteer in Training Program

The Cause

The Volunteer in Training (VIT) Service at Between Friends: Fostering Skills and Inclusivity.

Between Friends is committed to creating a welcoming and inclusive community where individuals of all abilities can thrive. One of the cornerstones of this commitment is our Volunteer in Training (VIT) service, a program designed to empower our members with the skills and confidence needed to transition into valued volunteers within our community.

The VIT service at Between Friends goes beyond traditional volunteer programs. It recognizes the potential within our members and seeks to unlock it through structured training and mentorship. By participating in VIT, members are not merely recipients of services; they become active contributors to our community.

The heart of the VIT service lies in skill development. Participants gain exposure to a wide range of practical and interpersonal skills that are essential for volunteering. These skills include but are not limited to:

Communication Skills: Members learn how to effectively communicate with diverse groups of individuals, building their capacity to relate to people from various backgrounds and abilities.

Leadership Skills: VIT participants are encouraged to take on leadership roles within the program, fostering confidence and leadership abilities that will serve them well in their volunteer positions.

Empathy and Inclusivity: Through interactions with fellow members, participants develop a deep sense of empathy and a commitment to inclusivity, which are core values of our organization.

Problem-Solving and Adaptability: VIT members are exposed to real-world challenges and are guided in developing problem-solving skills, promoting adaptability and resilience.

Organization and Time Management: Effective volunteering often requires juggling multiple tasks and responsibilities. VIT participants learn how to manage their time efficiently and stay organized.

A Stepping Stone to Volunteerism:

The VIT service acts as a bridge, enabling our members to transition smoothly into active volunteer roles within Between Friends. By providing hands-on training and fostering personal growth, VIT prepares individuals to make meaningful contributions to our programs and initiatives.

Who Will it Benefit?

The Volunteer in Training (VIT) service at Between Friends will benefit adults and youth with disabilities who are members of the organization. It provides them with valuable skills and a supportive environment to transition into active volunteering roles within the organization, fostering personal growth and a sense of inclusivity.

According to the Government of Canada (2017 Canadian Survey on Disability), more than 6 million Canadians - almost 16% of the population in this country - are living with some form of a disability that affects their level of freedom, independence or quality of life. Of that number, over 200,000 are children and youth. Statistics Canada goes on to define a person with disabilities as having difficulty with daily activities and reduced participation in activities due to physical or mental health issues that last six months or longer. As of 2017, 18% or 210,000 Calgarians aged 15 years and older reported having a disability (Statistics Canada, 2019).

The communities we live in have a significant impact on our well-being and life choices. Individuals with disabilities who are unable to participate fully in their communities experience isolation and lower satisfaction with life (Law & King 2000). Research shows that there is a direct correlation between recreation, social inclusion, and quality of life for individuals with disabilities (Mahon et al 2000). Internationally, the importance of recreation and sports to the positive development of individuals with disabilities was recognized in 2006 by the United Nations.