Support Another Family
Who can volunteer?
Peer Mentors have significant experience with a child's health issue or disability. They may be a family member who has cared for a child or an older teenager or young adult who has personal experience with health issues.
The qualities we look for in a Peer Mentor:
- Adjusted to their child and family situation
- Good listening skills
- Comfortable sharing experiences
- Accepting of different values and opinions
- Knowledgeable about resources
- Able to follow through on commitments
- Willing to learn about supporting other families
Support is provided to allow those in rural settings to receive orientation and to connect with other families over the phone.
What are the benefits to becoming a Peer Mentor?
Most of our volunteers get involved to give back or pay it forward. They appreciate the support they received when they started on their own journey and now want to support others.
Additional benefits may include:
- Training on how to support others
- Development of communication skills
- Information on available resources
- Ongoing networking and learning opportunities
What are the ways you can be involved?
One to one connections: a requesting family member is connected to the appropriate Peer Mentor based on the needs and concerns of the requesting family.
Bedside connections: Peer Mentors go room to room in the hospital providing newly admitted families with information about the hospital, supports available, and tips on partnering with their healthcare team.
Co-facilitate groups: Peer Mentors participate in sessions offered to families to share their experiences, offer helpful strategies, and provide a sense of hope.
What is the process to become a volunteer?
If you want to learn more about the role, contact the Family to Family Coordinator at 403-955-2456 or F2FConnections@ahs.ca. If you are interested in volunteering, please complete and submit the online application form.
To become a Peer Mentor the Coordinator will help you complete the following steps:
- Participate in a screening interview with the Family to Family Connections Coordinator.
- Register with Volunteer Resources at the Alberta Children's Hospital. This will include a police record check, reference check, and may require immunization verification.
- Attend a 5 hour orientation where you will learn more about the role and how to support others. This includes a volunteer manual for future reference.
- Additional orientation and shadowing is provided for the Bedside Connections role.
What commitment is required?
- Your involvement as a volunteer will depend on the requests for connections. Typically, a volunteer will have 1 to 3 connections per year. You can connect with the requesting family at any time that works for you and the family, usually over the telephone.
- Peer Mentors who do Family Bedside Connections are asked to commit to two, 2-3 hours shifts on the unit per month.
- Peer Mentors who co-facilitate groups have varied time commitments.
- All volunteers are asked to commit to the role for at least one year.
The coordinator is always available to support your work as a volunteer.