Take the opportunity to develop new friendships, learn about HIV/AIDS & its related issues & gain new skills while helping others.
ACO volunteers include service users, university students, youth, and other community members – by working here, they have the opportunity to learn about HIV/AIDS and related issues, develop relationships with service users and staff, gain new skills and, above all,, they have a chance to make a positive difference.
Volunteer Opportunities Available:
- Front Reception
Reception volunteers are an important part of ACO as they are the first point of contact that people have when they enter the ACO space. Reception volunteers answer the front door, answer the main telephone line, and provide people with information and direction upon entering our offices. Reception shifts are 3 hours long, and volunteers are expected to take on at least one regular shift per week.
- Harm Reduction
We are currently looking for peer volunteers to provide Harm Reduction services from the ACO office, following a peer engagement model. This can involve providing safer injection equipment in ACO’s confidential and anonymous Tool Shed, working to provide information on safer injection and community supports to members of Ottawa’s drug user community, or campaigning to have a safer injection site opened in Ottawa.
Childcare volunteers help to create accessibility in some of the services offered by ACO, by allowing us to provide free childcare for service users when required. By providing a space for parents, and especially women, to bring their children, ACO can be accessible to people who would otherwise not be able to attend socials and support groups, or access services at all. Child care is currently provided for monthly socials and support groups serving the HIV-affected African and Caribbean communities.
- Outreach and Sexual Health Promotion
Outreach is a very important part of the education and prevention work that we do around HIV. Outreach volunteers take on shifts at local bars, festivals, and special events to display and offer free safer sex supplies and information. While on shift, you might strike up conversations, answer sexual health questions, listen without judgment, and try to connect people with community resources that will help them meet the needs they define for themselves.
A hot, hearty, home-cooked meal is prepared by a cooking volunteer for our socials on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Cooking volunteers prepare meals in the kitchen within ACO’s drop-in centre, the Living Room, which allows them to interact with service users, receive suggestions, feedback, and assistance. Cooking volunteers must love cooking (obviously!), be personable, non-judgmental, and open minded, with the ability to working a busy and vibrant environment.
- Gay Zone Gaie
ACO is a partner in Gay Zone Gaie, a testing clinic at Centretown Community Health Centre designed specifically for men who have sex with men. Volunteers help to create a welcoming space for people coming to access testing, and assist in the provision of health and wellness-themed programming for the gay male community.
How to Become a Volunteer
- Contact Peter Szanto, the Coordinator of Volunteer Resources at 613-238-5014 ex 228, or at email@example.com
- Attend HIV 101—ACO’s volunteer training session that will introduce you to the basics behind HIV transmission and treatment, risk factors, and the social determinants of health.
- Meet the Coordinator of Volunteer Resources for a screening interview.
- Complete any additional training pertaining to specific volunteer roles i.e. Outreach Training.
- Start volunteering!