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Afternoon Session 2a
How can agencies engage volunteers in supporting a more included
life in the community for people wit...
This is a special
version of the
presentation that has
been created for
sharing. Following
each slide is the text
of the n...
PLEASE NOTE: YOU DO NOT NEED TO TAKE NOTES FROM SLIDES OR SOURCES CITED, WE ARE
MAKING THE PRESENTATION AVAILABLE FROM THE...
This is our plan. We know some of you might be mainly
interested specifically in how LiveWorkPlay is utilizing
volunteers,...
It always seems impossible
until it is done.
Nelson Mandela

The secret of change is to focus all
of your energy not on fi...
In supporting people with intellectual disabilities we often become
consumed with assumptions of what CANNOT be done inste...
We’ll start near the end then go back to the beginning. In the early years of
LiveWorkPlay we were involved in a mix of th...
http://j.mp/ablastfrompast
What Did You Think Of Our Video?
Please watch this video “flash from the past” and tell us what you think of this public service
announcement from about 8 ...
Doing A Wrong Thing Can
Be Immensely Popular
Doing the wrong thing can be really popular! The whole idea of the sheltered work
environment we created was really a lack...
Where We Came From
Decisions
Education
Recreation
Employment
Home
Relationships

= Paid Staff and/or Family
= Day Program/...
We’ve never operated group homes or a
Special Education program, but we’ve had
some sort of involvement with almost all of...
Thank you for choosing Acme Support Services, where we proudly
facilitate individual independence through person-centered ...
Increasingly agencies who are involved in
supporting people with intellectual and
developmental disabilities “talk the tal...
SCARCITY

ABUNDANCE

(WHAT WE’VE LEARNED)
What we learned: we were engaged in the medical model and to get the
outcomes for people that we wanted, we needed a socia...
“THIS IS TUESDAY NIGHT LEAGUE BOWLING. PLEASE COME BACK ON
THURSDAY NIGHT AND SIGN UP FOR SPECIAL NEEDS BOWLING.”

BUT I’V...
If we can’t even bowl together, is the dream of neurodiversity and an inclusive
community realistic? Why is there still so...
NO DAY
PROGRAM?
WHAT IF
THEY CAN’T
FIND OR
KEEP A JOB?

Play collage

WHAT WILL
THEY DO
TO FILL
THEIR
TIME?
The reality is, many of our members have developed such busy lives that our staff can’t
find time to meet with them to che...
Social Services
Approach
Not about fixing people with
intellectual disabilities so
they can be more normal
and fit in with...
If we look at the $1.7 billion spent
annually on developmental services in
Ontario, and we had to decide how
many of those...
(Medical Model)

Social Services
Decisions
Education
Recreation
Employment
Home
Relationships

(Community Model)
A Transfo...
So what does a neurodiversity approach look like in action? It’s about shifting away
from a social services systems approa...
HOW TO SUPPORT INCREASED SOCIAL CAPITAL
FOR PEOPLE WITH INTELLECTUAL DISABILITIES
MORE

Family
Friends
Colleagues
Co-Worke...
Have you ever asked a person with an intellectual disability to list all of the
important people in their lives? How many ...
Do staff want to perform like stars? Sure! But we don’t want to be your world.

(Inspired by Dave Hingsburger)
Well-intentioned organizations and individual staff members
that see the social capital deficit for people with intellectu...
“Some things have to be believed to be seen.”
― Madeleine L'Engle
(A Wrinkle In Time)

My own place!

A job (and paycheque...
What are we doing now? One of the challenges with making the shift
from a program or social services approach to a social ...
Independent Living





In-Home Supports
Natural Supports
Mental Health Supports
Life Coaching

Paid Employment

Live
...
One last slide from me, and then we’ll turn things over to Julie to focus on
the critical contribution of volunteers. I’ve...
The Moment: If We Commit To Building Relationships, Will They Come?
This quick video clip is from our first major gathering one year after our
day program had been completely phased out. At ...
Relationship Building
Values
Vision
A Community Where Everyone Belongs

CORE: People with intellectual disabilities are va...
I realize most of you will be unable to
read this chart, but it is available for
you to print out, so please indulge me
as...
Relationship Building

Volunteer Coordinator
introduces members and
volunteers through 1:1
Matching Process BY:

Creating ...
This visual describes our 1:1 matching
process, though which we bring
together individuals from the
community with members...
Team Purpose: Volunteer Coordinator
Coordinator of
Volunteers and Natural
Support Networks
Staff Member
Alex Darling
Purpo...
Another chart you’ll need to print out to read. We are working
hard to make sure that we are focused on relationship-build...
This is Phil. Phil is not great at reading or writing, and his verbal communication is difficult
to describe. Some people ...
“Hello everyone at LiveWorkPlay, Ottawa's Race Weekend (May 28th - 29th) is a
popular event each year (http://www.ncm.ca/)...
While many of our 130 active volunteers contribute through 1:1
relationships (some of which develop into friendships) volu...
“I never thought from this I’d make such a good
friend that I send texts to all day every day!”
Sometimes organizations limit the potential contributions of
volunteers by prescribing what their role will be. Volunteers...
Opportunities at LiveWorkPlay
/ Cooking Companion (Downtown/Britannia/Kanata/Orleans/Barrhaven)
/ Friday Night Fun!

/ Do ...
The key to these success of course is that we have to ask. The reason
volunteers were making a relatively minimal contribu...
http://www.helensandersonassociates.co.uk/
As we speak in particular with family members who are new to our organization,
they are often appropriately skeptical abou...
CHANGING PRIORITIES: WHAT OUR MEMBERS WANT
We have an annual review where we ask a lot of questions about changes in our
members’ lives. We’ve started tracking this ...
These people are COOL!

But does “volunteers” describe them?
From top left to right and down: rocking out at Bluesfest, billiards,
volunteering together at the food bank, a pub night,...
Thank you!

Please get in touch
and let’s keep in touch!
How can agencies engage volunteers in supporting a more included  life in the community for people with intellectual disab...
How can agencies engage volunteers in supporting a more included  life in the community for people with intellectual disab...
How can agencies engage volunteers in supporting a more included  life in the community for people with intellectual disab...
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How can agencies engage volunteers in supporting a more included life in the community for people with intellectual disabilities?

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Presentation to the Gathering on Person-Centred Practices, October 22-23, Thorold, Ontario.

How can agencies engage volunteers in supporting a more included life in the community for people with intellectual disabilities?

Keenan Wellar, MA and Julie Kingstone, MEd
Co-Founders & Co-Leaders, LiveWorkPlay

Starting in 2008, LiveWorkPlay embarked on a journey of “de-programming” by making a shift from congregated programs
to authentic community-based supports and outcomes based
on flexible and individualized person-centered planning.

At the core of this transformation, the agency dramatically expanded the size and scope of its volunteer team. This has changed the organization, it has changed lives, and it is changing the community.

Published in: Education, Career
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How can agencies engage volunteers in supporting a more included life in the community for people with intellectual disabilities?

  1. 1. Afternoon Session 2a How can agencies engage volunteers in supporting a more included life in the community for people with intellectual disabilities? Keenan Wellar, MA and Julie Kingstone, MEd Co-Founders & Co-Leaders, LiveWorkPlay Starting in 2008, LiveWorkPlay embarked on a journey of “de-programming” by making a shift from congregated programs to authentic community-based supports and outcomes based on flexible and individualized person-centered planning. At the core of this transformation, the agency dramatically expanded the size and scope of its volunteer team. This has changed the organization, it has changed lives, and it is changing the community.
  2. 2. This is a special version of the presentation that has been created for sharing. Following each slide is the text of the notes. While we did not read these notes verbatim (actually presentation had fewer words) we hope that by including these notes you will get a feel for what was a terrific experience with the gathering on person-centred practices! ~ Keenan & Julie
  3. 3. PLEASE NOTE: YOU DO NOT NEED TO TAKE NOTES FROM SLIDES OR SOURCES CITED, WE ARE MAKING THE PRESENTATION AVAILABLE FROM THE FOLLOWING WEB PAGE: http://thorold.liveworkplay.ca AGENDA Introduction: Neurodiversity & Belief In Possibilities Background: A Little Bit About Us The LiveWorkPlay Journey: The Early Years The Program Years De-Programming (Why Change?) Being The Change: Person-Centered & Community-Based Volunteers: We couldn’t do it without them: changed Lives, changing community. Future Thoughts: What haven’t we asked for yet? Can you help us with labeling? Conclusion: Questions & Follow-Up
  4. 4. This is our plan. We know some of you might be mainly interested specifically in how LiveWorkPlay is utilizing volunteers, and we will definitely be emphasizing that later in the presentation, but why we changed our volunteer practices and why we are experiencing success with them won’t make any sense or be particularly useful to you without some context. We are certain most everyone here is associated in some way with organizations that are always looking to change and improve. We hope that sharing our own journey towards (what we hope you will agree) leading-edge practices for community-based supports will be of interest to you.
  5. 5. It always seems impossible until it is done. Nelson Mandela The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new. Socrates Remediating  Accommodating  Valuing
  6. 6. In supporting people with intellectual disabilities we often become consumed with assumptions of what CANNOT be done instead of assuming that it WILL HAPPEN, if only we try, learn, and try again. When we think of a vision like “a community where all citizens belong” it can seem rather daunting and sad that systemic discrimination and public attitudes continue to get in the way. In this context, isn’t the belief that people with intellectual disabilities should be living, working, and playing in the community wholly realistic and attainable? NEURODIVERSITY was the theme of the 2013 YAI International Conference: “The acceptance and embrace of people with cognitive differences is an idea whose time has come. The sudden prominence of this term is an indication of how rapidly our field is evolving and how dramatically parents and practitioners are shaping the public dialogue. What these change agents have in common is a determination to open minds long closed to the potentials and possibilities of people once dismissed because of their differentness.”
  7. 7. We’ll start near the end then go back to the beginning. In the early years of LiveWorkPlay we were involved in a mix of thinking that in retrospect we can see included some remediation thinking, some accommodation thinking, and a lot of TALK about valuing people with intellectual disabilities, but without many outcomes that could truly point to individuals with intellectual disabilities being included in their community. In 2008 as we formally launched into a period of transition and a desire to transform into fully community-based best practice, we worked simultaneously on updating our guiding statements to more properly reflect on our work and its intentions. Note in particular that our mission is “helping the community” as this is of critical importance – yes, we help people with intellectual disabilities with strategies for having greater success with others in the community, but we also position the primary responsibility for reducing and eradicating the marginalization of people with intellectual disabilities as a role for the entire community. This was a very deliberate effort to position ourselves as agents of social change whereby service delivery is but one means to the ultimate end of a community where people with intellectual disabilities live as valued citizens.
  8. 8. http://j.mp/ablastfrompast
  9. 9. What Did You Think Of Our Video?
  10. 10. Please watch this video “flash from the past” and tell us what you think of this public service announcement from about 8 years ago. What happened with LiveWorkPlay is a story that we see again in social movements, the very act of organizing takes things in unintended directions. As we began to acquire resources, we built up infrastructures and developed relationships with funders and eventually found ourselves replicating a lot of the same structures that we were supposed to be avoiding. Funders LIKE programs and projects. Organizations need revenues to sustain their existence so they can pursue their missions. The result is that compromises are often made, and mission drift is the result. This first took shape with the creation of a day program, which had the snappy acronym “SMILE” and the equally snappy full name Skills and More for Independent Living and Employment. I want to emphasize that SMILE was extremely popular. People wanted IN to SMILE so badly that we had attempts at bribery from some family members who wanted their son or daughter to be a part of it. It was also attractive to media who could pop by just about anytime for a feel-good story. And so with that sort of popularity and external we lost focus. Instead of contributing to an included life in the community for people with intellectual disabilities we became instead “operators of one of the most popular day programs” - which is not even close to the original intent of those who built the organization. We likely could have kept along that path, and today have an even bigger day program for which we’d win awards, get wonderful media coverage, and would be a lesser resource challenge.
  11. 11. Doing A Wrong Thing Can Be Immensely Popular
  12. 12. Doing the wrong thing can be really popular! The whole idea of the sheltered work environment we created was really a lack of belief on the part of the staff, family members, and government that the people we support could get and keep jobs. We also enjoyed lots of positive benefits in terms of publicity and control, not to mention funding – we could likely recreate and rebrand this project in 2013 and get it funded all over again. Of course, we’d have to ask our members to quit their real jobs in order to come back! Happily, this is never going to happen. In fact, in recent years we have helped many individuals leave sheltered workshops operated by other agencies. Even those who have experienced challenges with real employment have been unequivocal in their desire to “never go back.”
  13. 13. Where We Came From Decisions Education Recreation Employment Home Relationships = Paid Staff and/or Family = Day Program/Special Education = Segregated Program = Sheltered Work = Institutional Setting/Special Model = Paid Staff and/or Family
  14. 14. We’ve never operated group homes or a Special Education program, but we’ve had some sort of involvement with almost all of these practices at some time or another. With respect to decision-making, I think we believed that we were offering “choices” and we that this was the same as supporting selfdetermination. This is a dialogue that is still popular among service providers in 2013 – the belief that offering choices within a programmatic construct is the same thing as person-centred thinking and planning.
  15. 15. Thank you for choosing Acme Support Services, where we proudly facilitate individual independence through person-centered planning! Now, let me start by outlining the list of fixed choices available to you!
  16. 16. Increasingly agencies who are involved in supporting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities “talk the talk” of person-centered approaches, but in reality, they are mostly just filling out different forms to offer a set of choices of their own creation. Individualized support in pursuit of community inclusion requires transparency about limits and a continuous effort to remove systems barriers to inclusive outcomes. Instead of “We don’t do that here” how about “We’ve never been asked to help with that before, but if we aren’t able to do it, we can offer to do our best to connect you with other resources and help make it happen.”
  17. 17. SCARCITY ABUNDANCE (WHAT WE’VE LEARNED)
  18. 18. What we learned: we were engaged in the medical model and to get the outcomes for people that we wanted, we needed a social model. We came to these conclusions from looking at our own practices, but also by challenging ourselves to find a better way. From Al Condeluci to Dave Hingsburger to Audrey Cole and many others, we were encouraged and excited by the POSSIBILITIES and the EVIDENCE that a community-based approach would allow us to help more people to have a better quality of life. By shifting to a community model, or social model, it is not that lesser resources are required, but there is limitless capacity for change, because the community already has all the answers, and the resource they really need is our help to make it happen. There are apartment buildings to live in. There are workplaces to work in. There are community centres and other non-segregated venues to enjoy sports, culture, and citizenship. The challenge before us therefore is how to include people with intellectual disabilities in that abundance that is the community, rather than how to maintain a medical model of disability that will always suffer from financial scarcity and is not even designed to realize inclusive outcomes. We sometimes bristle at the notion that this is “innovative” since what we are actually proposing is nothing more than a home, a job, friends, and things to do. There’s nothing innovative about that. Most of the innovation required of us is involved in working around and going through the systems and attitudes that keep this from happening.
  19. 19. “THIS IS TUESDAY NIGHT LEAGUE BOWLING. PLEASE COME BACK ON THURSDAY NIGHT AND SIGN UP FOR SPECIAL NEEDS BOWLING.” BUT I’VE GOT A 180 AVERAGE!
  20. 20. If we can’t even bowl together, is the dream of neurodiversity and an inclusive community realistic? Why is there still so much “special” out there: education, housing, vocation, and even recreational bowling? Change is happening, but leadership is coming mainly from those who are refusing to accept these entrenched assumed norms.
  21. 21. NO DAY PROGRAM? WHAT IF THEY CAN’T FIND OR KEEP A JOB? Play collage WHAT WILL THEY DO TO FILL THEIR TIME?
  22. 22. The reality is, many of our members have developed such busy lives that our staff can’t find time to meet with them to check in! This includes post-secondary education (where we feel we are just getting started in being successful supporters and advocates). It includes a lot of JOINING that which is not segregated, congregated, or clustered. In our experience, not one individual involved with LiveWorkPlay who has been supported to transition from “special” sports, education, recreation, arts, culture, vocation (etc.) has said “I want to go back to the special place.” This doesn’t happen easily. People with intellectual disabilities don’t have a typical experience of simply “signing up” for things in the community and being welcome, respected, and valued. Every day we learn something knew and develop our expertise with how to build bridges, develop gatekeepers, and facilitate relationships. And sometimes we don our human rights battle gear and fight discrimination head on. But happily these issues are often requiring of negotiation and diplomacy. The reality is, the coordinator of Special Needs bowling mostly likely believes they are doing a very nice thing. They need help to understand that there are other possibilities.
  23. 23. Social Services Approach Not about fixing people with intellectual disabilities so they can be more normal and fit in with others Social Change Approach Exclusion is everyone’s issue and as a community we must all work together to be welcoming and inclusive It’s about learning to appreciate that people considered “different” often bring important contributions to society. One term describing how this relates to people with intellectual disabilities is “NEURODIVERSITY.” This is at a very preliminary stage. How many systems, organizations, and individuals honestly believe that people with intellectual disabilities truly BELONG and have VALUE (and take action to back up that thought?).
  24. 24. If we look at the $1.7 billion spent annually on developmental services in Ontario, and we had to decide how many of those dollars were supporting actual inclusive outcomes, would it be a big percentage or a small percentage?
  25. 25. (Medical Model) Social Services Decisions Education Recreation Employment Home Relationships (Community Model) A Transformative Journey Social Change = Paid Staff and/or Family = Day Program/Special Ed = Segregated Program = Sheltered Work = Institutional Setting/Special Model = Paid Staff and/or Family TRANSFORMATION Decisions Education Recreation Employment Home Relationships = Self-Directed = Inclusive Classrooms (All Ages) = Playing In Community (With Others) = Work/Volunteerism (With Others) = House/Condo/Apartment = Family, Friends, Neighbours Unpaid Support, Paid Support
  26. 26. So what does a neurodiversity approach look like in action? It’s about shifting away from a social services systems approach to a social change approach. This requires acknowledging that the routine status of people with intellectual disabilities in society at present is to be separated from other citizens. In effect, they are a sub-class of citizens with taxpayer-funded mechanisms that make it difficult for them to rise to full citizenship. I think some of the most surprising progress would be in the area of employment. I have to be honest, there are large numbers of people working now where I just didn’t see paid employment in their future. They proved me wrong. Sometimes being wrong is the greatest feeling in the world. When we look at everything in the brown section here, there are a lot of best intentions that historically represented improvements over extreme isolation and neglect. But you know, at conferences like this one 30 years ago, there were conversations about social role valorisation and community inclusion, and moving beyond a systems life, and I think it’s fair to say that our infrastructures remain focused mainly on remediation and accommodation, and are in many ways counter-intuitive to people with intellectual disabilities living as fully valued citizens. How can exclusive environments hope to achieve a culture of neurodiversity? I want to emphasize that for me this is not about saving money, and yet, at the same time, here we are in these days of scarce resources, and the fact is, if we have success with what is going on here in the green section, there is huge potential for cost reduction, and in many cases, we are talking about some individuals that won’t need any systems help at all, which frees up funds to help others, including those with intensive needs.
  27. 27. HOW TO SUPPORT INCREASED SOCIAL CAPITAL FOR PEOPLE WITH INTELLECTUAL DISABILITIES MORE Family Friends Colleagues Co-Workers Classmates Neighbours Spouse See Al Condeluci re Social Capital ONLY AS NEEDED Workers Staff Doctor Psychologist Psychiatrist Social Worker
  28. 28. Have you ever asked a person with an intellectual disability to list all of the important people in their lives? How many of the names they come up with would be in the red list, and not in the green list? How stark a difference in that list is there for the average person with an intellectual disability versus other citizens? Reading the work of eminent social capital experts like Professor Al Condeluci confirms what we can easily discern – if we are looking for it – that most of the good things in life require interdependence with a variety of networks of other people. Through the systems constructs that typically surround people with intellectual disabilities they face a huge deficit of social capital because they live their lives mainly in staff-centric environments with limited opportunity to expand their networks.
  29. 29. Do staff want to perform like stars? Sure! But we don’t want to be your world. (Inspired by Dave Hingsburger)
  30. 30. Well-intentioned organizations and individual staff members that see the social capital deficit for people with intellectual disabilities often try to fill that void themselves. This is dangerous and sad. By creating such a complete dependency, the future of the individual is tied almost exclusively to the future of the organization and the paid staff in their lives. So rather than attempting to fill the void ourselves, we seek to act more as a bridge, building connections in neighbourhoods, workplaces, and social relationships. Inviting community members to meet up with LiveWorkPlay members to explore shared interests and develop relationships (which often turn intro friendships) is one of the most important ways that LiveWorkPlay can facilitate (rather than replace) reciprocal relationships in the lives of people with intellectual disabilities. (Inspired by Dave Hingsburger)
  31. 31. “Some things have to be believed to be seen.” ― Madeleine L'Engle (A Wrinkle In Time) My own place! A job (and paycheque) I love! My touch football team!
  32. 32. What are we doing now? One of the challenges with making the shift from a program or social services approach to a social change or community-based approach is that investing in the community can result in much better returns, but they are also less secure. The day program or sheltered workshop or group home or segregated recreation program is always “there.” Helping people believe in in what is possible requires sharing the experiences of others and bringing families together for unbiased dialogue. One of the tremendous benefits we’ve derived from inviting previously unconnected community members to get involved is they typically don’t bring with them any bias about people who have intellectual disabilities. Sadly, negative preconceptions and limitations are most commonly imposed by people who have training in developmental services or related fields.
  33. 33. Independent Living     In-Home Supports Natural Supports Mental Health Supports Life Coaching Paid Employment Live Work     Employment Plan Job Matching & Development Job Coaching Long term maintenance On-going Planning Community Participation     Support to join community activities and venues and travel Support to volunteer within the non-profit sector Support to develop friendships Friday night meet-ups Play Family LiveWorkPlay Supports Supporters     Family Feasts New Year’s Eve Party Auction and Golf Tournament Annual Recognition Banquet
  34. 34. One last slide from me, and then we’ll turn things over to Julie to focus on the critical contribution of volunteers. I’ve touched on the live, work, and play aspects of our work, but I wanted to take a moment to mention family, and when I use that term, I do mean the family members of the people we support, but I’m also referencing that shared sense of community that organizations often facilitate. When we started this process of transformation we were very concerned about the impact on the “internal family” of the organization. If, for example, there was no longer the common experience of shared participation in a day program, would people still want to come together. Well, I am happy to report that we’ve been very pleasantly surprised by the results. We are averaging one major event per month with attendance at those events averaging 150 people. That’s because our family is growing – more members of the community at large are joining our internal community and helping to make it stronger – these could be co-workers or neighbours, for example, and of course, members of our volunteer team. And on that note, I welcome Julie to the microphone.
  35. 35. The Moment: If We Commit To Building Relationships, Will They Come?
  36. 36. This quick video clip is from our first major gathering one year after our day program had been completely phased out. At the front of the room are some of our volunteers accepting recognition. Waving from the audience is the biggest attendance of our annual banquet in the 10 years since it began. So let’s talk a bit about relationship building.
  37. 37. Relationship Building Values Vision A Community Where Everyone Belongs CORE: People with intellectual disabilities are valuable contributors to the diversity of our community and the human family. LIVE, WORK, PLAY Mission Helping the community welcome people with intellectual disabilities to live, work, and play as valued citizens WHAT With respect to:    homes, health care, education, personal dignity, and personal privacy paid work at minimum wage or better, short-term unpaid work, and volunteer positions cultural and spiritual life, sports and recreation, political life, and the full range of human relationship People with intellectual disabilities have the right to the removal of barriers preventing them from experiencing the community on an equal basis with other citizens. STRATEGIES Develop volunteer ads for each volunteer opportunity and post on volunteer recruitment sites such as Volunteer Ottawa RELATIONSHIP BUILDING Recruiting and training volunteers to: 1-Friday Night Meet-Up Volunteers 2-Volunteers interested in 1:1 matches Make the orientation and screening process as easy and quick as possible for the prospective volunteer Provide on-going support and feedback to both volunteers and members Ask both volunteers and members for feedback so the process can be improved FUNDING This position is funded through MCSS from both the Independent Living and Community Participation funding HR Allocation 1 FTE
  38. 38. I realize most of you will be unable to read this chart, but it is available for you to print out, so please indulge me as I describe it for you.
  39. 39. Relationship Building Volunteer Coordinator introduces members and volunteers through 1:1 Matching Process BY: Creating descriptions explaining the connection desired and posting on Volunteer Ottawa and other volunteer sites Learning about activities, neighbourhood, time of day, and type of person the member and volunteer are looking for Supporting an interested person through the volunteer screening process. Relationship Building 1:1 Matching Screening process: application interview 2 personal references criminal reference check Orientation session Checking in with both parties throughout the year to see how things are going Match and set up a plan of how to get started Facilitating a meet and greet between member and volunteer to make sure it is a good fit
  40. 40. This visual describes our 1:1 matching process, though which we bring together individuals from the community with members of LiveWorkPlay.
  41. 41. Team Purpose: Volunteer Coordinator Coordinator of Volunteers and Natural Support Networks Staff Member Alex Darling Purpose To recruit, orient, train, and support volunteers. To connect volunteers and members together to help in the development of natural relationships. What is Important to Volunteers? What is Important to Members? Relationship is based on common interest and friendships not goals or accomplishments Feeling like they are making a meaningful contribution and/or helping people Doing something that is fun and enjoyable Being matched with people who are going to be reliable Having flexibility and options, being able to tailor the volunteer engagement to their own life and situation Being matched with people who are real and who are just as interested in the meet ups as the they are What Support do volunteers need? Support members need . Regular check-ins to see how things are going. People with experience want to share the cool things are happening, get feedback and positive reinforcement; occasionally help with problem solving People who have no previous experience want reassurance, feedback, guidance and support, especially when it comes to problem solving or dealing with awkward or challenging situations. Coordination of meet ups – reminders and confirmations, coordinating with other parts of their lives Check- ins to see how things are going – ask members if the volunteer is working out to make sure it is working out Problem solving –helping the member work through it with their match with the intent of preserving the relationship.
  42. 42. Another chart you’ll need to print out to read. We are working hard to make sure that we are focused on relationship-building and inclusive outcomes, from our vision, mission, and values right through to our staff job descriptions. When we are faced with a challenge at a team meeting, we always try to call ourselves back to this. In the case of the Volunteer Coordinator, they are always balancing various interests, and have to work closely with other members of the team to share information and often to clear up misunderstandings. Volunteers are not staff members. There are many advantages to this – like the opportunity for two people to develop a lifelong friendship. There are disadvantages too – volunteers may come and go in different ways than staff members do. So we have to work hard to manage expectations for all concerned.
  43. 43. This is Phil. Phil is not great at reading or writing, and his verbal communication is difficult to describe. Some people say he reminds them of Robin Williams, only more energetic (!). If you know and respect Phil, you see his communication as very rich and you see Phil as fully capable of communicating his wants and needs – it’s just a challenge for others to understand. Phil and his parents got told NEVER about a lot of the possibilities discussed for his future. But Phil has gone on to live in his own apartment, and also to shop for his own groceries. Phil’s reluctance to shop on his own had to do mainly with his fear of making a mistake, and not wanting to ask for help from strangers who might not understand him. One solution would be for Phil to always be accompanied by a paid staff member. Another solution was for the staff member to help build a relationship between Phil and Loblaws staff. It’s safe to say “Phil stories” are becoming the stuff of LiveWorkPlay legend. About a week ago a community member that he was matched with through our Volunteer Coordinator invited Phil to join her at a fundraiser. Bear in mind that Catherine initially got matched with Phil because he was looking for someone to read with. So in the beginning it seemed that Catherine was helping Phil. However, Phil is a man of many talents, and as they got to know each other, Catherine and Phil branched out. Recently attending a fundraiser together - the idea having come from Catherine - it seems Phil moved quickly from presence to contribution. This story is fresh so we are still trying to understand exactly what went on, but it would seem that Phil quickly adopted a leadership role at this event and was directly credited with an improved fundraising result. This would be consistent with what Phil’s soccer team has to say about him this year – morale was up, and his teammates would be devastated if he left the team. Bear in mind that when we were first introduced to Phil, his family was mostly used to people reacting to Phil as a problem needing help with “behaviors.” The systemic approach to Phil’s personality has always been to seek to contain him. With help, the community is learning to appreciate him.
  44. 44. “Hello everyone at LiveWorkPlay, Ottawa's Race Weekend (May 28th - 29th) is a popular event each year (http://www.ncm.ca/). Andrea and I are interested in training with a team of LiveWorkPlay members to participate in this fun event Andrew Waye either by walking or jogging the 2K, 5K, 10K, or half marathon.” (Volunteer)
  45. 45. While many of our 130 active volunteers contribute through 1:1 relationships (some of which develop into friendships) volunteers are also leaders and develop initiatives of their own, like the LiveWorkPlay Race Weekend Team which was started by volunteers and continues to be lead by them with minimal staff involvement. Two years ago volunteer Andrew Waye threw out a simple invitation on the LiveWorkPlay Facebook group. It turned into what became a fitness movement! After decades of sitting around tables with individuals and their family members talking about “fitness” and everyone agreeing it was important but no meaningful change occurring, it took this invitation by Andrew to spark an interest that has become a continuing pursuit for many of our members, who have since gone on to join neighbourhood running clubs and participate in races and marathons with friends old and new.
  46. 46. “I never thought from this I’d make such a good friend that I send texts to all day every day!”
  47. 47. Sometimes organizations limit the potential contributions of volunteers by prescribing what their role will be. Volunteers are also a lot of other things – they probably work somewhere and have all sorts of personal and professional connections. With every volunteer that invests in getting to know one of our members (and vice-versa) this opens up a world of opportunities. While it is often assumed that these relationships are largely a one-way benefit, this simply is not the case – neurodiversity is being realized every day through 1:1 relationships of mutual benefit. This is Ellyce and Emily. They started out as shopping buddies and it quickly expanded into a full-fledged friendship, as Ellyce recently gushed about the relationship “I had no idea that from attending a volunteer orientation I’d end up with a friend I text with all day!” Things have advanced to the pinnacle of friendship: Emily is to be a bridesmaid at Ellyce’s upcoming wedding!
  48. 48. Opportunities at LiveWorkPlay / Cooking Companion (Downtown/Britannia/Kanata/Orleans/Barrhaven) / Friday Night Fun! / Do you have a hobby or interest you'd like to share? / Movie Companion (Kanata/Orleans/Downtown/Barrhaven/Lincoln Heights) / Like Video Games!? / Wanna shoot some hoops? (Vanier) / Do you love dinner, movies or shopping? / Bowling Companion (Merivale) / Workout Partner (Various locations) / Computer Companion (Lincoln Fields) / Interested in horses? / Walk & Chat (Kanata/Barrhaven/Baseline/Britannia/Orleans) / Calling All Movers and Shakers! / Be an Employment Champion!
  49. 49. The key to these success of course is that we have to ask. The reason volunteers were making a relatively minimal contribution to LiveWorkPlay in the past was not due to a lack of engagement from the community, it had to do with our own failure to ask – and also required that we learn more about HOW to ask. Guess what? Being REALLY SPECIFIC is a great help! Thanks to posting very specific descriptions that include geography and time commitments, we’ve experienced an explosion in volunteerism, and notably, have attracted more males, now up to about 40% when previously it was more like 25%. By being less open-ended in the beginning, first-time volunteers are less concerned about being unable to “do enough” and so they often start out with just a couple of hours a week and then later decide to expand their contribution.
  50. 50. http://www.helensandersonassociates.co.uk/
  51. 51. As we speak in particular with family members who are new to our organization, they are often appropriately skeptical about the idea that the community have the answers. They can often recite many instances of attempts by their loved one to participate in anything from Boy Scouts to softball, and how they were not welcome or included. They don’t want their son or daughter to experience that hurt again. While we cannot guarantee a positive outcome, it is critical that we explain that the act of “signing up” for a community-based activity is a relatively insignificant transaction. The real work that we do begins with carefully investigating opportunities and of critical importance, identifying gatekeepers that can help us ensure a welcoming environment. With volunteer matching, we are often able to find an individual in the community who will join at the same time, not only providing the confidence we all feel when starting something new with a familiar face – but modelling for other people, demonstrating respect and value for the individual who has a disability. This is often what is needed for the individual to make connections with others in the class or on the team, and if desired, to move beyond participation and into leadership positions.
  52. 52. CHANGING PRIORITIES: WHAT OUR MEMBERS WANT
  53. 53. We have an annual review where we ask a lot of questions about changes in our members’ lives. We’ve started tracking this and in 2014 we’ll have our first comparative data. We do know from our 2013 information that interest in spending time with other people is rapidly increasing as a priority. For those who have been living in homes of their own for one year or more (and in particular if they have obtained some level of regular employment) their priorities are clearing shifting to “engagement with others.” And it appears the more they get the more they want. One of the challenges of course is that these encouraging outcomes are also a massive resource challenge – the more our members expand their interests, the more challenging it is to support success in these new community territories. More volunteers please!
  54. 54. These people are COOL! But does “volunteers” describe them?
  55. 55. From top left to right and down: rocking out at Bluesfest, billiards, volunteering together at the food bank, a pub night, a couple of cool nerds, tennis anyone, marathoners, close friends (soon to be in a wedding party), and a workout buddy. Not a staff member in sight! Our organization made a huge investment in helping create the conditions for these relationships to develop and flourish. But consider that the outcome creates social capital that now exists beyond the confines of our organization. This changes not only the lives of the individuals, but the community as a whole. In the end, inclusive attitudes won’t come from legislation or public service announcements, it will come from bringing people together. On a final note, the word “volunteers” seems inadequate in describing the contribution of these individuals to the lives of our members and to their community. We have struggled with alternatives for describing their role but we haven’t yet found one that works. If you have ideas, please let us know!
  56. 56. Thank you! Please get in touch and let’s keep in touch!

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