Via West been working with volunteers for many years, providing them with an opportunity to serve children, teens and adults with developmental disabilities (such as autism and Down syndrome) and physical disabilities (such as cerebral palsy). We are a 501 (c) (3) non-profit agency that has been in existence nearly 70 years.
We start with a 3-1/2 hour training program for volunteers that introduces them to common disabilities, teaches them how to interact with people who are differently abled, and provides them with some teaching strategies they can use to engage our participants in the programs we offer (sports, exercise, creative arts, dramatic arts, cooking, iPads, talent shows, dances, and field trips. After successfully completing volunteer training, volunteers can select a weekend program scheduled throughout the year. During that program, they are expected to stay on our campus in gender-segregated dorms for our entire session. They are paired with an experienced counselor or program staff member to coach, engage, cheer and role model for our participants with disabilities. We find that having volunteers is a definite plus for our children, teens and young adults who need great role models. The whole weekend experience invariably creates a marked improvement in the understanding and acceptance of differently abled individuals as well.
We also have special roles for students with specific abilities: athletes can help coach our adapted sports, photographers and videographers can assist with the production of our DVDs and Facebook photos, artists can work on displays or assist our participants in their own projects.
Volunteers over the age of 18 must have Live Scan fingerprinting done, and complete a paperwork packet that includes confidentiality statements, personnel manuals, mandatory abuse reporting, and other topics.
If you would like any more information please do not hesitate to contact us.