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Volunteer Services
Support and Information Line volunteers
volunteer hours on the support lines
volunteer hours contributed to booths, casinos, and other events
hours of volunteer training provided

The Volunteer Program trains and supports volunteers to provide intersectional and trauma-informed information and support on the issue of sexual violence to those who access the SACE Support and Information Line or One Line, as well as to the community at large.

SACE began as a volunteer phone line in 1975, and the volunteer services program continues to be rooted firmly at the core of SACE values.

The Volunteer Services Program is a two-person team within the Community Engagement Department. The Volunteer & Support Lines Manager oversees the program while focusing on volunteer recruitment, engagement, and training. They work along the Support Lines Coordinator who is responsible for overseeing the daily operations of the two specialized sexual violence support lines. Both positions work tirelessly to ensure program initiatives contribute to the agency’s strategic goals and align with the SACE vision, mission, and values. 

In 2022, the Volunteer Services Program brought back many events that had been on hiatus since 2020. This past fall was the return of bingo fundraising at Castledowns Bingo Hall. We always have lots of volunteers eager to help out as it is a great opportunity to gather in-person and build strong peer connections. Volunteer Services staff are always there to ensure all the volunteers are supported during the day, and help foster volunteer engagement. 

Another fundraising volunteer opportunity was the casino in January 2023. Every two years SACE works a casino event which brings in +$80K in revenue. VS staff prioritize ensuring we have enough volunteers to fill all positions, and that volunteers are supported at the casino over the two days. We had positive feedback on the experience not only from volunteers, but from the casino staff as well. 

Volunteer Training and Ongoing Education 

SACE prides itself on ensuring that our volunteers have the training and support they need to be able to comfortably and effectively fill their phone/text/chat support roles. We offer a free 70-hour training program twice a year that helps prepare our volunteers for their roles as supporters on the SACE Support and Information Line and the northern hub of Alberta’s One Line for Sexual Violence. It remains one of the most robust and rigorous volunteer training programs in the province. Spanning over a dozen sessions, training includes modules on trauma, sexual violence, anti-oppression, colonialism, boundaries, resourcing, risk assessment (child sexual abuse, suicide, and domestic abuse), and recovery and healing. SACE supplements the standardized One Line curriculum with our own presentations and by bringing in presenters to deepen learning. After training is done, VS staff assess each volunteer trainee’s skills to ensure those who graduate onto the support lines give support of the highest calibre. 

Part of our yearly work continues to be the volunteer training curriculum review. For months, we worked with the other members of the Operations Committee of Alberta’s One Line for Sexual Violence, to review and enhance the existing curriculum. These annual reviews are important to ensure we are training volunteers with current best practices, so they can best support those who have been impacted by sexual violence. This year the edits focused on boundaries, domestic violence, suicide, and text/chat support. 

Each month we also host a virtual volunteer meeting. This helps to provide our volunteers with an opportunity to connect with each other and the agency, refine their skills, and to continue learning more about sexual violence and community resources. 

Volunteer Services program materials are arranged on the tables of the SACE boardroom along with gift bags and prepared activities for the fall SIL commencement.
Graduate of the volunteer services program SIL training holds up assorted gifts: a hand-decorated flower pot, candies, cookies, and a postcard.

Volunteer Appreciation

Honouring our volunteers is one of the pillars of the Volunteer Services Program. From our Star of the Month program, to prizes for taking shifts on long weekends, to mailing treats, we love to shower our volunteers in appreciation! In February 2023, we hosted the annual volunteer awards night at The Parlour Restaurant. Every single volunteer, including our support lines, administrative, booth, bingo/fundraising, and special event volunteers were invited. The cocktail-style celebration included an abundance of tasty food and drinks, as well as speeches from VS staff and our CEO, Mary Jane James. 

This is our biggest appreciation event of the year, and is a chance to celebrate all the volunteers who have contributed their time, effort, and skills. We present individual awards (e.g. Volunteer of the Year), acknowledge each person’s hourly contribution, have door prizes, ice-breaker activities, and everyone leaves with a gift. 

A huge thank you from the bottom of our hearts to our dear volunteers. Without their tireless support and dedication, SACE would not be able to operate to the capacity and standard of excellence that it does. Our sincere gratitude goes out to all of these kind, empathetic human beings who continue to help us learn and grow as a program area and agency. 

Feedback From Our Volunteers 

Every year Volunteer Services program staff send out an annual volunteer survey. The survey includes an option to share a testimonial, and volunteers give their consent for the testimonial to be used on the website and/or in the annual report.

“I have volunteered with SACE for the past nine years and there aren’t enough positive words to describe this organization or its volunteer coordinators. I have always felt supported and as life changes, my evolution as a volunteer has been welcomed. I’ve worked on the crisis line, done fundraising, and ran community information booths and no matter the role, I’ve always felt appreciated and well-equipped to handle it. There is also so much flexibility it can work for most schedules. Anyone who wants do meaningful volunteer work, learn a ton, and be part of a wonderful community should volunteer with SACE. I’d recommend it over and over!”

– SACE volunteer

“SACE is an amazing organization to volunteer with. Louise and Rachel are so supportive and the people that you meet throughout training and monthly meetings are some of the best, most kind, caring folks you’ll have the pleasure of meeting. Its heavy material some days and it’s not always rewarding but you would be hard pressed to find another organization that supports you, doing this type of work, as well as SACE does.”

– SACE volunteer

“Volunteering with SACE has been one of the most rewarding and fulfilling positions I have had. Being able to continue to grow via the support and feedback of the staff, as well as continued educational opportunities allows me to continue to grow as a supporter of those impacted by sexual violence not only on the SIL/One Line but in my community.”

– SACE volunteer

Volunteer Services Program Annual Awards

In February 2023, Volunteer Services hosted our annual awards night to celebrate everyone’s achievements for 2022.  All volunteers are recognized for the time, energy, and effort they give to SACE. The three major awards that were presented at the annual event were: the Rick Chalifoux / Jean Gauthier memorial award (Volunteer of the Year); the Sprout Award; the Roots Award. 

Rick Chalifoux / Jean Gauthier Memorial Volunteer of the Year Award 

This award is presented in memory of two SACE volunteers who worked on the support line, with training, and with fundraising.  Rick and Jean were partners and died within a few months of each other of HIV/AIDS.

Tracy Pham
2022 Recipient

Tracy was selected for this award as a result of their wonderful performance over the past year. Her mentorship and support for fellow volunteers have been wonderful. Her demeanor, and conduct is empathetic and positive, and she is a pleasure to supervise. She is also a huge support not only the support lines, but fundraising, administrative support, mentor support, and booths. 

Roots Award for Longstanding Service

This award is presented to any volunteer who reaches 5 or more years of service with SACE on the support lines.

2022 Recipients

Tessa H.
Lisa K.
Theresa M.
Carolise B.
Lauren T.
Meagan S.
Rowena D.
Stephen S.
David S.

Sprout Award

This award is presented to the volunteer with the most growth and development in their first year of volunteering. 

Tabitha Schaub

2022 Recipient

Tabitha has been eager, committed, kind, thoughtful, and a fantastic mentor. She is a strong communicator, eager to help when needed, and an amazing addition to the team! 

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