Every year we celebrate National Volunteers Week in May, and so it is a perfect time to acknowledge the dedication and service that our Peer Connection Volunteers give. Counsellors provide therapeutic interventions while volunteers are uniquely placed to truly understand the experience of gambling and overcoming the addiction. A key element of Peer Support is the hope callers feel by connecting with someone who has experiential knowledge. The Peer Connection volunteers provide support and increase our callers’ self-efficacy by sharing their stories. This work requires a very high standard of communication and the ability to assist callers to find their own solutions to problems.
Our volunteers benefit also from their participation in the program. They have the opportunity to develop or extend their skills and knowledge. At a recent team meeting a senior psychologist from the State-Wide Problem Gambling & Mental Health Program presented a session on Motivational Interviewing. It was highly relevant and provided additional strategies for volunteers to use when supporting callers. Another benefit for volunteers is that their contact with callers reinforces their own recovery.
Thank you to all of our volunteers for their ongoing commitment and contributions. Without volunteers, there would not be a Peer Connection program and the one hundred callers who are currently supported would not have access to this valuable service.