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|The Update Issue...|
In This Issue
'Go Forward' Working Groups and Committees
review best practices and accreditation models
expanded mandate and deliverables
Futures/Visioning Working Group
facilitate discussion about
the future of the distress centre and line movement in Ontario
Volunteer Management Committee
support changing and challenging volunteer issues
Visit the new website and remember to send notification of the events that may be upcoming in your centre or area to DCO
80% of our Member Centres were able to send staff, leadership volunteers and Board members to the Networking Day held on October 25th, 2007 at the Delta Markham Hotel and Conference Centre in Markham.
The day started with discussions about the educational initiatives of DCO and its member centres, followed by discussing alternate service delivery methods including an on-line demonstration of the BC Youth Line, a presentation by the staff of the Vancouver Crisis Line and a review of the Samaritans text service. The day ended with discussions and presentations by member centres on three specific topics.
Networking Day - Outcomes
The initiative to deliver ASIST Training regionally is successful and member centres want it to continue in 2008.
The format needs to change making it more affordable for a greater number of volunteers. Suggestions: including more Distress Line specific examples into the training; training specific member centre trainers to provide the training in a regional format and to share the resources among the member centres.
The Educational Forums are well attended, the topics well received and discussions focused on how to make them more readily available to a greater number of volunteers.
Since the costs of bringing many volunteers to a Forum can be prohibitive, some suggestions included: organizing three regional forums, keeping the forum to a one-day event, finding partners to subsidize volunteer travel, partnering with other organizations and their educational offerings, avoiding scheduling forums during peak conference times, scheduling Forums for the weekend; having one Educational Forum per year, filming proceedings and sharing with all member centres. The membership wants the DCO AGM to be connected to a forum to increase attendance. The education committee will incorporate the suggestions into next year's offering.
Possible Web and Electronic Educational Aids were discussed. The group explored the concept of discussion/chat forums and recommended it unanimously for staff and leadership positions across all centres and possibly across Canada. Issues of technology and moderating the chats would be reviewed by the education committee.
Using You Tube technology to present mini tutorialson topics from the Education Forums was unanimously supported by all in attendance. This would be a resource available through the DCO website to all member centres, staff and volunteers. The Educational Committee will direct these efforts.
The outcomes from the Education Discovery Sessions held with TAPE were reviewed. The Educations Committee shared that there exists a need to
These points prompted vigorous discussions that supported the continued work of the committee with special focus on:
The Education Committee will take these suggestions and chart the continued course of the Education Initiatives of DCO.
The group reviewed the variety of existing and emerging call-out service models. The services support seniors and other vulnerable populations. A variety of pros and cons were reviewed.
The programs are very adaptable with the ability to tailor the programs to the service needs of different regions of the province and different target populations.
Prevention, in the fullest sense, is the biggest pro. Centres know their callers better than others even family, and know how they are coping and can link them to professionals and other resources so they don’t go into crisis.
These services are empowering for callers since they do not have to call repeatedly, rather callers get a sense that volunteers want to talk to them. The improved client capacity and support ability makes day to day coping easier and access to resources and referrals easier. This is an excellent way to evaluate a client’s well being.
This service model is empowering for volunteers as they sense they are really making a difference in someone’s life; and helps with higher retention of volunteers due to higher volunteer satisfaction and more frequent client thank yous.
Call out models improve centre capacity by managing repeat callers, freeing up DC lines leading to increased call-in volumes, improved client capacity, increasing accessibility to all populations.
Many more aspects of the programs were discussed and notes are available from the DCO offices. Distress Centres Ontario is supportive of these program initiatives by member centres and is encouraged to work with partners and establish health and seniors and mental health service providers to grow the programs across the province.
Among the may issues that impact volunteer management, three were discussed in detail: recruitment, retention and burnout.
Various Recruitment strategies were discussed. Volunteer fairs, local university and colleges as sources of volunteers, first year orientations and curriculum sessions helping with education and recruitment. Paid ads and PSA's are used as well as bus and road side ads. Websites are an increasingly popular source for potential volunteers. Corporate volunteerism and reviewing commitment requirements were suggested. A province wide initiative to tackle these issues was considered.
Retention continues as a serious issue in the ever changing volunteer environment. Strategies for holding volunteers accountable for shift coverage were discussed, the duration of the volunteer commitment were reviewed (by months, by hours, by period) to provide some flexibility; the issue of overnight honorariums and managing volunteer absenteeism were acknowledged. The value of a cross-centre approach was considered in this context.
The work that our volunteers do is very important, but occasionally regular callers can Burnout our volunteers. Strategies for reviewing burnout can be discussed in a larger provincial context.
The group feels its important to look at the future and consider how we will be doing as a sector in 3 or 5 or 10 years. There are many issues that Distress Centres/Lines need to be looking at.
Proposal: for the next networking session, each centre should make suggestions for increased cooperation
Youth in BC - the Text Messaging Service offered by the Vancouver Crisis Centre
Synopsis of the presentations from
Visioning Day for all member centres – anticipated for January 2008
Networking Days for staff, leader volunteers and Board members at least twice a year
Thank you everyone for your generous input and thoughtful suggestions.