Matching Program Volunteers -Change Two Lives
You can change two lives – your own and that of someone living with a disability – by becoming an Ally and reducing their loneliness and isolation.
Our Matching Program pairs you with a child, youth or adult living with a disability who wants an Ally – a friend and companion to talk to, go to a movie with or do any of the things that friends do together.
Volunteer to make a real difference in your community as we work to reduce loneliness and isolation one person at a time.
In Ottawa 300 people with disabilities are waiting an average of four years for a volunteer.
As an Ally to someone with a disability, you can have a profound effect on their life by
- reducing loneliness and isolation
- helping to achieve hopes and dreams
- developing personal networks and relationships
- decreasing vulnerability
- increasing self-confidence
- improving mental and physical health.
You will change too as you learn more about your friend and deepen your relationship, including gaining an increased appreciation of your own life and feeling good supporting someone in your community.
The biggest wish of people on our waiting list is to have someone to meet for a coffee!
If you enjoy spending time with people and have an hour or two available each week, we invite you to contact us. As a volunteer Ally, you need to be over the age of 18 and make a minimum commitment of 12 months to this role. Able2’s program provides full training, preparation and ongoing support throughout your match.
Here’s how two lives were changed through sports and friendship:
“Atinc and I were paired up almost a year ago, and we immediately bonded over one of the things that we both love best: Ottawa Senators hockey. ABLE2 saw us as a great match based on our passion for the team and hockey in general. This provided us with a quick and easy transition into building a much deeper friendship. Atinc and I frequently make trips together to different wing spots to enjoy the games. We can walk to most of these places as we live quite close to each other.
In the summer, our love of sports translates into both of us cheering for the Toronto Blue Jays. We love heading to Boston Pizza to sit on the patio, enjoy some drinks, and watch them win. Over the past year, we have also been able to attend an Ottawa Fury soccer game together as well as a Sens game. We began as friends with similar passions, and with spending time together we have learned more about each other, and connect in other areas of our lives. Atinc has taught me many things about the difficulties of living with a physical disability and has changed my outlook – I now have a greater appreciation of the little things in life. I look forward to spending many more years hanging out and developing our friendship further.”Matching Program Advocate
Here are just a few of people waiting for a volunteer Ally like you to make a difference:
Are you a tennis fan? (Hintonburg)
George is in his early 60s who feels isolated from his community. He would like a friend who enjoys playing and watching tennis, is patient and willing to spend a couple of hours, one evening or at the weekend, with him.
Are you an open-minded, patient person? (Downtown)
Are you an open-minded, patient person who would enjoy doing crafts, shopping and going for walks with Grace? Grace is a woman in her late 50s who lives with a disability. She would like to spend time each week with an Ally who enjoys some of her interests.
Volunteer to spend time in your community (Nepean)
Ned is in his mid-50s and has a great sense of humour. He is keen to get out into the community with the support of an Ally. He is open to a number of activities and these could be as simple as going out for a coffee or a beer
Do you enjoy crossword puzzles and arts and crafts? (Britannia)
Ginny has been waiting seven years for an Ally who can spend an hour or two with her each week. Ginny likes doing arts and crafts, watching movies, visiting museums and doing crossword puzzles.
How to Become an Ally
Becoming an Ally means making a commitment to someone living with a disability for at least a year. If you want to learn more about how to become an Ally – a friend to someone who needs you – click on the steps below.
The very first step is an easy 20-minute self-directed review of an information presentation designed to give you the highlights and main aspects of becoming an Ally. Click on Step 1 for more information about this stage.
Step 1 – Information Session
The first step to becoming a volunteer Ally is to attend an online 20-minute volunteer information session.
You may view our online information session at your leisure. We will contact you after this session to talk about next steps.
If you would like to attend a live Zoom information session, please contact us:
613-761-9522 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Step 2 – Paperwork & Onboarding Session
After you have attended an information session and learned more, consider if ABLE2 is a fit with your volunteering interests. If you’d like to continue you must complete the following:
a) fill out the volunteer application form and submit it.
b) apply for a Police Records Check for Service With the Vulnerable Sector. Once you’ve done this please us by email or phone 613-761-9522 to let us know this is underway.
c) attend a mandatory four-hour seminar to prepare you for your role as an Ally. This training will cover:
- The role of an Ally.
- The impact that an intentional friendship can have on someone with a disability.
- Learning about different disabilities.
- Learning about available sources of help and support.
- Learning about common issues and strategies to help.
- In addition, it will give you an opportunity to meet other new Allies and ABLE2 staff to learn and share ideas together.
Onboarding session dates will be arranged to suit your schedule. We will be in touch with you to arrange a mutually convenient date.
Once we have confirmation your vulnerable sector check is underway, have a copy of your volunteer application form and you have attended the onboarding session you are ready for your learning conversation. We will send you the contact details of the social worker so you can both arrange a mutually convenient time to meet. Remember to let us know if you decide not to continue the process to become a volunteer Ally.
Step 3 – Learning Conversation
Step 2 must be completed before you will be booked for your learning conversation. This is an in-person discussion with a social worker, lasting 90 to 120 minutes. We’ll get to know you, your personality, hobbies and interests. This helps us narrow down the entire waiting list to those that are possibly the best match for you. After your learning conversation the social worker will contact your references. Please notify them to expect this call.
Step 4 – Match Presentation
You will be invited by a social worker to a one-hour meeting where they will present a number of potential Friends. You will participate in choosing the person with a disability you would like to be matched with.
Step 5 – Additional Training/Information Confirmation
You will be sent a link, user name and password to complete the following training sessions online. The training needs to be completed before your first match meeting with your Friend. Please bring your completion certificates to that meeting and give them to your Social Worker.
- AODA Customer Service Training (condensed content) (32 minutes)
- Understanding Human Rights (AODA Edition) (28 minutes)
At the onboarding session you are given the following policies and asked to read them before your first match meeting.
- Health & Safety
- Violence & Harassment
Please bring your completed acknowledgement form to your first match meeting and give them to your Social Worker.
Step 6 – Match Meeting
A social worker will facilitate the first meeting between you and your potential Friend. After the initial meeting the social worker will contact both of you to confirm that each of you would like to continue with the match. If you are both happy with the match you can now start doing fun activities together!