PSC Volunteer FAQ

Peer Support Centre: We're here to listen.

What is the role of supportive listening volunteers at the PSC?
All our volunteers are the face, heart and soul of the PSC. After over 40 hours of training at the beginning of the year, they are the ones who provide supportive listening, reach out to the community with our outreach program, and are there for each other.

Who volunteers at the PSC?
Current University of Alberta students from all walks of life on campus. We have representatives from most faculties, programs and groups at the PSC.

What qualities are needed in volunteers?
Our volunteers need to demonstrate the qualities of the acronym CHANGE, which stands for:
C= Compassionate
H= Humble
A=Assertive
N= Non-Judgemental
G= Genuine
E= Empowering

In addition to these attributes, we also look for a general enthusiasm for helping people, the ability to integrate a busy PSC schedule into their lives and interest in mental health advocacy on campus. These characteristics help our volunteers excel in their positions, and create a positive atmosphere for clients coming into the centre.

What training do I receive?
Supportive listening volunteers receive over 40 hours of training and take part in two ongoing role-plays each semester, in order to further hone their skills. This training involves education and skill training using a Supportive Listening Model for interpersonal interventions, suicide and crisis intervention techniques, and grief coping mechanisms. Other skills to be developed include socratic questioning, perception checks, and other soft people skills.

Is anyone ever excused from the training program because of previous experience?
We require all incoming volunteers to participate in all aspects of our supportive listening training. Unfortunately, we have no way of ensuring that our policies and limits to our service match the training you previously received. A willingness to learn and continue developing skills is a key aspect of volunteering with our centre.

Do you accept volunteers with no prior experience? We do accept volunteers with no prior supportive listening experience! It’s important to us that our volunteers work well as part of our team and demonstrate an openness to support a variety of student concerns. During our interview process, prospective volunteers share about their own experiences with diverse concerns that can impact students. Having insight into how someone has worked through a concern or helped a friend work through a concern allows us to understand what informal supportive listening has looked like for them.

What if I can't make all of the training dates?
Our training dates are mandatory. If there is a situation that would prevent you from attending, please notify us at psc@su.ualberta.ca prior to the submission of your application. If you are accepted as a volunteer and your ability to attend a date changes, we ask that you reach out as far in advance as possible in order for us to see if any accommodations can be made.

What happens after training?
After successfully completing training, a volunteer contract would be signed, committing to the overall time requirements. After an orientation to the centre a volunteer can begin seeing clients! Volunteers also decide which team they wish to be part of and attend those monthly meetings to work along with their peers.

How are shifts scheduled?
All shifts are self-scheduled. There is an online schedule that all volunteers can access in order to sign up for shifts on a weekly basis. Volunteers sometimes correspond with each other to get shifts covered, changed or swapped using email and social media.

Do volunteers work alone?
No! Each hour of shift time has two slots for volunteers to sign up, so volunteers almost always work with a partner. The supportive listening sessions are all 1 on 1 with the client. However, every volunteer has 1:1 support from a member of the admin team while supporting clients.

What is the time commitment to volunteer at the PSC?
We require 3 hours a week of shift time, waiting to support clients. We also expect 4 hours a month of team time which goes to the volunteer team you selected to be a part of. There are also two ongoing role-plays per semester that volunteers must attend to maintain their skills.

What are the requirements for volunteers?
Our volunteers must be willing to non-judgmentally support a client who is undergoing a difficult time in their life. They need to be able to ignore their own personal biases and experiences in order to focus on the clients matter at hand, and follow the rules and regulations that have been meticulously researched to provide optimal client sessions. It's important to also practice humility with any previous training you may have received, as the limits to our centre can vary greatly with any previous experience you have.

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Contact

Phone

780-492-4268

Fax

780-492-7267

Email
psc@su.ualberta.ca

Hours

Monday, Wednesday, Friday
9AM - 5PM


Tuesday & Thursday
9AM - 7PM


Please note the PSC will be closed February 19th - 23rd for Winter Reading Week. If you are looking for support during this time, please contact the Edmonton Distress Line (780-482-4357).


PSC Week 2024
Looking for more information? Head to our Outreach section!

Address

Peer Support Centre
Room 2-707
Students' Union Building
University of Alberta
8900 - 114 Street NW
Edmonton, AB
T6G 2J7