We cannot help students without students! Although Peer Help has a team of staff to oversee our services and operations, the Centre could not remain open without our volunteers. Our volunteers’ willingness and dedication to helping others is in itself the ultimate example of peer help.
We have three different volunteer roles at the Peer Help Centre:
Peer Helpers (office volunteers)
Peer Mentors (school-based mentors for Mentoring For Youth program)
Peer Listeners (Peer Support Phone Line volunteers)
Registered as a University of Ottawa student
Excellent verbal communication skills in at least one of the official languages
Willingness to help others
Interest in the well-being of University of Ottawa students
Reliable in attending all training sessions and all shifts
Ability to be empathetic and non-judgmental
Understanding of confidentiality and anonymity of active listening sessions
Volunteers are required to uphold and follow the Peer Help Centre’s mandate and rules at all times when they are on duty or representing the Centre.
Volunteers are required to attend all training sessions and be knowledgeable of training content at all times. Resources will be available in the Centre if the volunteer wishes to read more about active listening and crisis intervention
Volunteers are required to attend all Peer Help Centre modules and be knowledgeable of relevant services on- and off-campus.
Volunteers are responsible for showing up on time for their shifts.
Volunteers are expected to give sufficient notice if he/she is unable to make a shift, and to find a replacement.
On shift, volunteers are required to give full priority to a student who seeks help from the Centre. They will offer support and guidance to students and act as a resource for information.
After an active listening session, volunteers must be debriefed by a staff member and must record a log in the Active Listening Journal.
Volunteers are required to keep all communications anonymous and confidential, except in certain cases where the life of the student or of a third party is threatened.
Volunteers are forbidden from disclosing to a student any personal information about themselves or about another volunteer/staff member.
Volunteers must show respect to all other volunteers, staff members, and students who use the Peer Help Centre’s services.
The Peer Support Phone Line is an extension of the Peer Help Centre’s drop-in active listening service. The phone line operates Monday to Friday, 7pm-1am. Phone line volunteers, known as Peer Listeners, work under the direction of the Peer Support Phone Line Supervisor. Volunteers receive training in call management and the necessary crisis intervention skills through training sessions by the Distress Centre of Ottawa and Region and by the Peer Help Centre.
Three three-hour shifts per month (nine hours). Commitment is for one academic year (8 months).
Attendance at mandatory training sessions by the Peer Help Centre and the Distress Centre of Ottawa and Region. The bulk of the training will be held in late September and October.
Peer Helpers are the core of the Peer Help Centre’s daytime services. Under the direction of the Academic Supervisor, Peer Helpers are prepared to provide information and support to a variety of student needs. All office volunteers are oriented in on- and off-campus services, trained in active listening and crisis intervention techniques, and are knowledgeable in operating the tutor database.
Two shifts of 1.5 hours per week at the office. Commitment is for one academic year (fall and winter terms).
Attendance at mandatory training sessions by the Peer Help Centre and the Distress Centre of Ottawa and Region. The bulk of the training will be held in late September.
Peer Mentors are responsible for dedicating their time to establishing a supportive mentoring relationship with a high school student and meeting all program requirements. Mentors are matched with their “mentees” at the beginning of the school year, following an interview and the completion of a match-profile questionnaire. A Peer Mentor serves as a role model for their student, and provides friendly guidance and support. Some of the mentoring goals include strategizing for academic success, promoting postsecondary education, and assisting with social and emotional development.
A minimum of two meetings with your mentee per month and one social support activity per semester. Commitment to the program is for one academic year (fall and winter terms)
Attendance at mandatory training sessions by the Peer Help Centre and the Distress Centre of Ottawa and Region.
Initial school orientation and Meet and Greet activity
Strong communication with the Mentoring for Youth Supervisor and consistent follow-ups via phone and/or e-mail.