Volunteering: What To Expect

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Becoming a Hedwig House Volunteer Advocate will allow you to make a significant impact in the life of an individual living with severe mental illness by helping them achieve life goals.  It begins by getting to know the individual, their likes and dislikes and what the goals they are trying to work toward.  The focus is around building and maintaining life skills to allow the individual to be a part of and contribute to the community.

After successfully completing the application process you will then participate in comprehensive training program (up to 20 hours).  You will then be eligible to be matched with a Member and begin working as an Advocate.

Hedwig House staff will work to match the volunteer Advocate with an interested Member.  They will set up an initial meeting with the two to make introductions and discuss the role of the Volunteer Advocate.  The Advocate will also speak with the Member and staff about a potential goal.  During this initial meeting the Advocate and the Member will determine their next meeting time and location.

The Advocate and Member will spend the next several meetings developing a rapport and then they will begin working on an agreed upon goal.  Advocates submit monthly reports to Hedwig House staff sharing activities, hours and observations.  The Advocate will also check in by phone with their staff supervisor at least twice per month and will share any concerns or observations from these reports.  The staff supervisor will work with the Advocate to strategize as needed to address any concerns and to ensure that the Advocate and Member are successfully working toward the desired goal.

The success of the Advocate in helping a person to achieve their goal will depend on the rapport they are able to develop with the Member, as well as the support the Advocate receives from the staff to help answer questions and problem-solve.  The reward is witnessing when an individual’s achievements as they work toward their goal, and having the opportunity to share in the person’s accomplishments.