What is a nonprofit organization?
A nonprofit organization dedicates itself to help a cause and and all funds are used towards funding our programs.
What does Seniors With Skills do exactly?
Seniors with Skills is a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to helping the quality of life for seniors in residence homes. We do this through programs that run on a weekly or biweekly basis. We have 3 programs: The Cards and Knitting Program, The Presentation Program and Computer Lessons Program. More information can be found on our “What We Do” page of the website: https://www.seniorswithskills.org/what-we-do
Why did we start it?
We started it because we want to take care of the elderly who took care of us when we were young. We have the responsibility and the honor of making sure seniors have opportunities to stay involved in the community and learn new skills.
How many people have we reached?
We currently have over 50 volunteers who visit retirement homes across Toronto, Mississauga, London, Guelph, Hamilton, Richmond Hill, Markham, Buffalo and Boston. We have already reached over 100 seniors through our various programs. While it is predominantly working in the greater Toronto area and U.S, one of our goals is to make this organization international.
How do I volunteer?
We ask you to fill out a match form at https://www.seniorswithskills.org/match-to-an-organization or email us directly at volunteering@seniorswithskills and from there we can help you get started. For more information about our matching process, please check out https://www.seniorswithskills.org/how-we-match-volunteers
Is there an application form to volunteer?
Seniors With Skills matches everyone to a retirement residence who expresses interest through our online match form or email. Once you are matched, there is often a volunteer process at the retirement residence that you must undergo before you can start volunteering. This can include an interview, police check, training, but if varies between residences. Seniors With Skills will put you in touch with the Life/Programs Manager of the residence who can guide you through this process.
How often will I volunteer?
It depends on your schedule and what you and the Life/Programs Manager of the retirement residence have decided on. Most volunteers come in either every week or 2 weeks but most places are understanding of busy schedules!
How old do I have to be to volunteer?
We have volunteers of all ages from high school students to adults! Most retirement residences look for volunteers who are 14+ years old.
Is the matching process to the residence home long?
The matching process can take up to several weeks due to the unpredictability with reaching a retirement home coordinator. You can expect the process to be anywhere from 1-4 weeks. For more information on how this process works, please check out https://www.seniorswithskills.org/how-we-match-volunteers
Are there minimum donations required to volunteer?
No, there are no minimum donations required to start volunteering. But all donations are welcome and strongly benefit our organization as we can have more outreach.
Where do the donations go? Is Seniors With Skills tax-exempt?
All donations go directly towards carrying out our mission and running programs across the country. Our donations usually go to volunteers carrying out a Seniors With Skills program in underserved areas with limited budgets. For more specific questions on how donations are spent, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you would like to donate, please click the DONATE button above!
Online Buddy Program
What is the Online Buddy Program?
The purpose of this program is to connect volunteers like you with seniors in nursing homes who would love some company and someone to talk to! Seniors With Skills created this program to encourage seniors to be social active during this isolating time. Volunteers will call the seniors via Zoom and will hold conversations with them.
How does the Buddy Program work?
We connect our volunteers to partnering retirement homes to facilitate Zoom calls with 2-3 other volunteers. The Zoom calls consist of 40 minute conversations with the seniors where volunteers can do activities they choose and converse with the seniors about various topics.
Who can volunteer? Is there an age limit?
We are currently recruiting volunteers of all ages from students to adults, but the minimum age requirement varies for each retirement home. Usually vounteers who are 14+ can volunteer!
What is required to start volunteering?
The online application form can be found on the Online Buddy Program page. Once that is completed, an interview process and an online Seniors with Skills training course is required, along with sexual harassment prevention, inclusion and discrimination prevention modules which must be completed. Prior to volunteering, we require vulnerable sector checks from within the last year as well.
I do not have a vulnerable sector check, how can I obtain one?
Currently, due to the COVID-19 situation most vulnerable sector checks can be completed online and an electronic or mailed copy can be obtained.
What is the time commitment?
Any time that you can give is appreciated, but volunteers are encouraged to commit long term (atleast 1-2 months).
Cards and Knitting Program
How does this program work?
We match volunteers to long term care homes in their area, and send them in to introduce the cards and knitting program to the homes. Once the program is implemented, the volunteers go in and create cards or knit scarves, hats etc.. with the seniors. These items are then donated by the volunteers to local hospitals/hospices
How does the matching process work?
The application form can be found under the volunteer tab, and once it is filled out, a matching coordinator will be in touch with you. Once we can reach you, we will contact local long term care homes and connect you with them, and then you may have to complete further screening that is required by the care home to begin volunteering.
What is the time commitment?
We require volunteers to commit atleast 3-6 months for this program, and it can be run at the long term care homes on a weekly/biweekly basis after consulting with the activities directors.
What are the requirements to be a volunteer?
Most retirement homes allow volunteers above the age of 14, and they do require an interview process and a vulnerable sector check to begin volunteering.
Can I start this initiative at a retirement home I am connected with?
Yes! We encourage volunteers to begin the initiative once you have reached out to us and filled out our application form!
Can I work with other volunteers?
Of course! This can be a group initiative, as long as all volunteers sign up on our website and indicate that you will be working together!
Computer Training Program
What is this program? How does it work?
For our computer training program, volunteers are matched to retirement homes just like the cards and knitting program. Once the matching process is completed, you will begin teaching seniors how to access and work technology so that they can contact family or friends!
Where does the technology come from?
Many retirement homes have iPads, computers/tablets that they use, but if you can get donations from the community that is also a way to begin this program. Our organization is also working on donating technology to retirement homes to foster online connections with volunteers as well.
How many seniors will I work with?
It can be a one-on-one program, since you are teaching the seniors how to use technology. However, if a senior prefers a group experience or to learn with someone else that can be done!
Is there anything specific that I can teach them?
Most seniors are interested in learning to use video chatting or messaging tools and email in order to communicate with family and friends. As the primary volunteer, you can as them what they are comfortable and interested in learning to make the experience as educational as possible.