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Volunteers are integral to the work of CoSA. Three or four volunteers are assigned to a core member, forming a Circle, and together with staff and advisors, they assist the core member in developing a meaningful and crime-free life in the community.

The volunteers offer support by:

  • Offering practical support by helping to secure essential needs (housing, employment, social assistance, community resources)
  • Role modeling pro-social choices to assist the core member in developing healthy life skills (interpersonal relationships, money management, recreational activities)
  • Providing emotional support
  • Being available should there be a crisis core member
  • Focusing on the core member’s strengths (skills, talents, interests)

Volunteers also hold the core member accountable to help them avoid reoffending or breaching of legal conditions and to assist them in achieving their identified goals, by:

  • Challenging problematic attitudes, behaviours, or choices
  • Helping the core member follow their Self Management Plan
  • Acting, at all times, as a mentor/role model to the Core Member
  • Being aware of warning signs and informing staff and other circle members.

Mature, committed and responsible individuals are welcome to participate in CoSA Ottawa’s Training Program.

Prospective volunteers must:

  • Be a minimum age of 21;
  • Participate in Volunteer Training (approx. 10 hours over a 4-6 week period);
  • Complete a screening process including: a volunteer interview, provide two character references, and a police background check;
  • Make a commitment to be involved for a minimum of one year.
If approved as a volunteer:
  • Commit to approximately two hours/week (a circle meeting and a one-on-one meeting);
  • Attend CoSA events and Discussion Series, when available;
  • Submit volunteer hours, and monthly Circle reports.

Please note: Attending the training does not obligate the participant to become a CoSA volunteer.

Training

Our Volunteer Training Program involves interactive information sessions intended to acquaint potential volunteers with the fundamentals of Circles of Support and Accountability (CoSA), sexual offending and its impacts on victims and the community, legal controls on our core members, and treatment available (approx. 10 hours over five sessions). Sessions are facilitated by CoSA staff, and professionals in related areas of expertise.

Email admin@cosa-ottawa.ca to register or for information.

Training is held in the fall and spring, currently held by virtual means.

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