Street ConnectionSTREET CONNECTION, is an incorporated, non-profit registered charitable organization (13705 9689 RR0001) empowering at risk street youth (ages 16-24) by offering them the opportunity to make positive changes in their lives. We provide referrals, guidance, support and understanding in a safe, accessible environment. These referrals support the work of existing social service agencies and their service providers, including helping youth through the legal system and remaining in contact with incarcerated youth.
Justice and Legal
, Homeless and Housing
, Children and Youth
Volunteer Information for Street Connection
What services does your organization provide?
Street Connection assists or attends to our youth's basic needs of safety, health related resources, appropriate and essential clothing, hot and healthy nutritious meals (approx.. 10,000 per year) and shelter. We provide laundry and shower facilities; we share lived experience with substance abuse recovery. We continue to set up our youth in safe affordable housing with furniture, fixtures, appliances, utensils, clothing and food. To this end, we have fantastic partners to name a few; (Best Western; Gibraltar Weekend Market; Trail's End; Western Fair Market; Kids Cents; Turner Fruit and Vegetables; Bob's Ultimate Meats; Walter's Bread; Wrex & William's clothing; Stobies Pizza; Red Lobster Restaurant; St. Joseph's Soup Kitchen; Rocky's Harley-Davidson; Lions and Lioness Clubs; Knights of Columbus Councils; Catholic Woman Leagues; Keeping Kids Warm).
Do you have any age requirements?
Minimum age requirement 16.
Do you require language proficiency other than in English?
What time commitment(s) are you expecting from a volunteer?
Our volunteers/staff meet every Tuesday evening from 5-7 pm for training. ATTENDANCE IS MANDATORY
On Tuesdays we set our schedule for the upcoming weekend.
Fridays and Saturdays from 8pm - midngiht; Sundays and Mondays from 5-10pm.
We expect a minimum of one of these shifts per week along with our volunteer training on Tuesdays.
Are there any other requirements for being a volunteer?
3 references along with a resume required.
A vulnerable police reference check is required.
First Aid; CPR helpful
Please read our Policy and Procedures Manual on our website:www.streetconnection.ca
Are there any specific skills and experience required?
As a Street Connection volunteer you operate as 'a peer counselor' to self-empower our youth
Qualifications for a volunteer of STREET CONNECTION
- To enjoy working with disadvantaged people, 16 to 24 years of age
- To be friendly in approach
- To have problem solving and decision making skills
- To be empathetic, genuine, honest and sincere
- To maintain confidentiality
- To be respectful of self and others
- To exhibit pertinent life skills
- To be focused, punctual, consistent, reliable
- To follow supervision, direction and utilize feedback
- To be a team player
- To be organized
- To be able to follow emergency protocols
- To demonstrate commitment
- To follow STREET CONNECTION's mandate, objectives and mission statement
- To possess the ability to manage stressful situations
- To have or acquire an understanding of 'Street Smarts'
- To obtain and maintain a current knowledge of community services
- To obtain and demonstrate an ability to make community referrals
What type of volunteer positions are typically available?
Front line volunteer.
Member of the Board of Directors.
Do you provide training for volunteers?
Yes, on Tuesday evenings from 5-7 pm, attendance mandatory.
We decide the scheduling, discuss issues and challenge ourselves.
At STREET CONNECTION we teach our volunteers, the skills to make informed decisions about their lives and in turn our volunteers teach the youth coming through the doors the same. We work on positive peer influence. Consistency is in everything we do. We provide information about: Safer social behaviour, comprehensive life skills program, anger management, parenting skills, budget management, household management, introduce them to self-help groups, how to maintain housing, and intervene around issues of homelessness prevention.
What are the typical volunteer activities occurring at your organization?
'Peer counselling'; cooking, cleaning, greeting, clothing and food donations, 'go to person', log notes, 'girls' night, art work, etc.
STREET CONNECTION engages with agencies, organizations and individuals in the development of strategies, programs and services targeting vulnerable youth. We continue promoting community awareness and dialogue, collaborate with other agencies, and develop innovative partnerships with the business community to support coordinated services with our youth. We involve our diversified youth, ensuring the services are youth centred, to find and implement ways to meet and support their needs. STREET CONNECTION continues to be a member of the London Homeless Coalition, has been involved with London CAReS 1.0(an outreach Community Addiction Response Strategy) and has many, many community partners.
How will a person benefit from volunteering with Street Connection?
Many who volunteered at STREET CONNECTION, have written and given superb input on their experiences with our agency. Through their testimonials we received very positive, personal and productive comments such as:
'one of the most fulfilling activities that I have participated in throughout my university career.' Julie Weller, UWO
'I learned about responsibility and setting an example for others to follow.' Sari Belzycki, UWO
'As a Business graduate, I am amazed at how much Street Connection has provided the community with the limited resources at their disposal - an increase in which I am certain would result in an exponentially larger increase in the breadth, and quality, of services provided.' Spencer Charters, UWO
'I, Jennifer Cole, a UWO graduate - During my three years volunteering weekly at Street Connection; my experiences there had a profound influence on my life. I grew up in a privileged environment.
Street Connection gave me and other students the opportunity to volunteer in a very unique setting:
Direct, personal contact with the clients. The staff is comprised of incredible individuals who teach new volunteers by role modeling.
They taught me about dedication, empowerment, and respect. Through them and the clients, I discovered my own strengths and weaknesses, allowing personal growth. I am studying my Masters of Social Work at Ben Gurion University. Street Connection influenced my course of studies.
At risk youth can be defined as youth at risk of becoming criminals later on in their lives. Street Connection provides that first step, by empowering those at risk to take control of their lives.'
'As a UWO Professor, I would be proud to have UWO students support Street Connection. Since 2000, I have been involved with Street Connection and have been extremely impressed with all aspects of its administration and the services it provides. I have also discussed the many virtues of Street Connection with students at Western who have been involved with the organization as volunteers. I believe linking Western students to Street Connection would not only benefit Street Connection but would be a very positive experience for students at Western.' Victoria Esses
'I, Melissa Pickles, UWO Alumna, Street Connection has been extremely eye-opening, often providing practical situations/applications for the theory we learn in class. I have met some of the most interesting, heart-breaking intelligent and compassionate people
gained invaluable perspective and compassion.
forced to re-evaluate my views and prejudices about those in poverty, and the social systems in place to help them, and have become strongly motivated to continue working with those in poverty. It provides an extremely necessary service . estimated that currently one in five children in London grow up in poverty, and the centre often has nearly a hundred clients using its services on any given night.'
'My name is Petra Stephen. I am a student in Honours Specialization in Pathology and Toxicology at UWO. At Street Connection I learnt about people, their lives and their troubles and their successes, and I learnt about myself. I have learned not to shy away from confrontation, but to stand up for myself and for others. I learnt more every day about the social injustices that affect many people - about housing, access to medical care, welfare, etc. .'
'My name is David Vink, UWO student . straight away Street Connection had a profound impact on my life . The fact that these kids are living out on the streets, living lives more difficult than any of us lucky ones could ever imagine is no fault of their own. They are victims of society and an unlucky upbringing. I realized then how important it is for individuals to do their part to make a difference in whichever way they can.
A COMMENT FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR:
It is very difficult to express `concrete results' when life's variables and the lives of all participants, homeless youth and volunteers alike, are mixed into outcomes. If I had to sum up the results in a few words, they would be experience, understanding and compassion for the human condition. As our valued volunteers spend time with us, Street Connection hopes it is an enriching experience for them and that they remain with us throughout their educational years. We know and believe our association with our volunteers/students is a WIN/WIN situation for all.
While with us, our volunteers generally adapt well in any given situation. Their self-assuredness and other attributes such as integrity, honesty, willingness and insights become apparent to the tasks they take on. They demonstrate their abilities to easily work with others. Through the volunteer experience they generally begin to share their life experiences with our youth in a very real and forthright way. They come to a point, where working with our most vulnerable, they come to realize we all are so much alike and recognize the `human condition'. As they continue to volunteer with us throughout their university/college career, they become more effective working with and within the `human condition' and obtain transferable assets in their careers of choice. The proverbial problem, `to get a job you need experience and to get experience you need a job' applies here. Dick Rastin, RSSW
Do you accept high school students?
Only under very special conditions. 40 hours generally is not enough time to train and apply the training. This has not been a WIN/WIN situation in most cases.