How to Get Involved

Being a friend to someone with a disability helps to create true community inclusion. If you want to contribute to inclusion, offering your friendship is a good place to start.

Places you can go to get connected to a person with a disability:

  • Some people have family friends or classmates they already know who have a disability. This may be a ready-made opportunity to develop a friendship.

  • Look into the organizations that provide support services in your community. Contacting them directly is probably your fastest way to get connected. The Canadian Association for Community Living is a national organization with local associations and group homes in almost every region of the country. Organizations that run group homes are generally especially happy to accept volunteers. Often they receive funding only for minimal staff and this means that one-on-one opportunities for their residents are rare.

  • There are 29 L’Arche communities across Canada. They often welcome volunteers. The website has a list of the communities.

  • Most community libraries have resources on local organizations. Also, many communities have volunteer fairs

  • Many communities have a recreation association that will welcome someone to help a person with a disability to participate.

  • Ask at your local school if there is need for volunteers.

  • Special Olympics often needs volunteers. This a great organization to get involved in if you are interested in sports.

  • Best Buddies is a national organization with chapters in almost every community. They offer orientation for students and connect them with individuals in their community. They often share in group programs and events with other students and their buddies.

The Process of Becoming a “Volunteer” Friend:

Being accepted as a volunteer is not difficult but there are a few things to know:

1) Most organizations that work with people with disabilities require a police check. These are not hard to get, but they can sometimes take a while and you might have to pay a fee for this service.

2) You will usually need to have updated immunizations and a recent medical or test for TB.

3) Most organizations will have an application and an interview process and they will invite you for one or two visits before leaving you on your own with one of their members who has a disability. It’s normal to be a bit nervous. Be certain to ask any questions you may have, so you know how to support your new friend well.

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