Are you interested in becoming a Nav-CARE Volunteer?
The Volunteer Navigator is an essential part of the Nav-CARE program. Navigators are paired one to one with adults living with chronic illness, increased frailty or social isolation to support them with their social, emotional, and practical needs.
Scope of role
As a Volunteer Navigator, your focus will be on improving the client’s quality of life in the ways that they determine are best. In some cases, this may mean supporting access to other community services, looking up information online for them, undergoing creative problem-solving, and filling in forms. In other cases, you may simply be asked to sit and visit, play cards, or look at photo albums together.
Do not underestimate the value of being, even when you don’t feel you are doing much. In all cases you will be looking to broaden a client’s support network – for example, setting up homecare services to help do meal prep and wash dishes instead of doing that yourself. You may of course help in a pinch, but your overarching goal is to ensure that a client is not dependent on you to be able to continue living comfortably and safely in their current situation. You are there to help them build a supportive circle they can lean on.
Volunteer Navigators need:
To be excellent listeners and communicators
To be warm and empathetic
To understand families and how they work
To be able to treat each person as an individual and see their unique gifts
To be able to help or collaboratively solve problems
To be flexible and adaptable
To know how to access resources
To be able to maintain clear boundaries
To be able to empower a client and family to make the decisions that are best for them, even if you do not agree with their choices
To have extra time and mental energy to dedicate to a new relationship in service of another
Additional assets include (but are not required):
Experience with serious illness or elderly populations
Comfort with death, dying, and end-of-life
Hospice or other related training (can be provided)
Accountability and Deliverables
You will be provided with a login to our Logvolunteertime.com software to log your interactions with your client. This is an important component of reporting to our funders and supporters, and helps all of us track the progress and changes over the course of the relationship. You will be expected to input some basic information about your interaction within one week of the visit to ensure timely and accurate tracking. If for any reason you are no longer able to fulfill your role, even temporarily, you will contact your Coordinator to discuss options and the process for disengagement.
In this role, you will be trusted with sensitive personal information. To ensure client safety, you must undergo a criminal record check before you may begin meeting with a client. Additionally, you must sign a confidentiality agreement in which you declare that you will not share any information you have been entrusted with without the express written permission of the client, except in reporting to the Nav-CARE team at UBC or the Nav-CARE Coordinator.
As a Volunteer Navigator, you will be expected to connect with your client every 1 to 3 weeks. Consistency will be expected of you, as it is a major part of building trust and connection. You can expect to spend 4 to 8 hours a month volunteering, including group volunteer debrief sessions quarterly, online optional education sessions, and one to one debriefs with the Coordinator as needed. Participation in two of the four annual group volunteer debrief sessions is expected to enhance learning and knowledge sharing. Volunteer-client pairs commit to at least a 6 month relationship. This gives you and the client a chance to get comfortable together and develop a closer bond. We ask for this commitment as it is disruptive to repeatedly rematch a client. During your time volunteering, it is normal and expected that you may take time away for vacation or holidays, so long as clear communication about timelines and when the client can expect to hear from you are established ahead of time with the Coordinator and the client.
Here are a few options of how you may be recognized for your participation. If there is something special that speaks to you that you would like to suggest be added to the list, or if you have a preference among the options, please let your Coordinator know.
Hand-written thank you card
Happy hour drinks on a patio
Potluck picnic/ dinner w or w/o families
Small gift cards to local businesses
Small gift cards to a theatre/museum
Some form of random surprise – a small plant, a cupcake, flowers, box of chocolates
when it’s unexpected
If you choose to, you may be featured in online and print communications or in other promotional media.
This is an unpaid, volunteer role. By signing up as a Volunteer Navigator, you agree to never charge a client for any of the services you may deliver. The client will reimburse you for items you may pick up on their behalf, but mileage and time will not be paid.
If you’d like to learn more about the experience of being a Nav-CARE volunteer you might want to listen to an interview with one of our volunteers below:
What If Radio interviews volunteer Norm Jeffs
Questions your Coordinator will have for you:
Wise whys: What are you passionate about?
Glad gifts: What talents are you happy to give?
No-no’s: What is outside your comfort zone?
Quests: What do you yearn to learn?
He constantly told me how much he loved me and appreciated my visits. I felt that this is exactly what Nav-Care is for and emphasizes how important this service is.
He and his family are such an inspiration in how they cope with traumatic life changes. It has been a great learning experience for me.
Watch the video to learn more: