• What kind of support will the participant receive?

    A trained TIES volunteer will provide support to a young person who has a disability in a community recreational activity, according to the individualized support plan developed by the TIES Coordinator. The peer volunteer will have strategies to help his or her participant partner enjoy success in the activity, and make friends with other members of the group. Here are some examples of strategies –

    • Cue the participant to say, “Hi!” to other members of the group.
    • Model turn-taking for the participant.
    • Break instructions down into short sentences.
    • Use conversation starters.
    • Move the participant’s wheelchair close to other members of the group.

    Is one peer volunteer assigned to one participant?

    Peer volunteers make a commitment for one activity at a time, and each activity is arranged as a separate project. For long-term activities, two or more peer volunteers may take part. Individual input and choice is a dynamic element of the program for both peer volunteers and participants.

    What are my responsibilities toward the TIES volunteers?

    They are the same as toward any member of your group. The TIES volunteer is there to provide specific individual support for his or her partner so that you can lead the group as a whole. With younger participants, the TIES volunteer, who may be older than the other students, may assume a role of general assistant, being naturally available to all the children. TIES volunteers can enrich the group as a whole by bringing a new experience to all.

    What modifications will need to be made to this activity?

    Modifications, if needed, are arranged on an individual basis through collaboration of the TIES Coordinator, the activity leader, parents, teachers, and other interested parties.

    What is the role of the TIES Coordinator?

    The TIES Coordinator is selected by the school district and is ideally the parent of a child who has a disability. The Coordinator is responsible for –

    • Marketing TIES in the school and community.
    • Recruiting participants and peer volunteers.
    • Training peer volunteers and activity leaders through the training workshop.
    • Developing a support plan for each participant and sharing it with the peer volunteer.
    • Evaluating the experiences of the participants, peer volunteers and activity leaders.

    What is the training workshop?

    The training workshop is designed to extend awareness of inclusion, diversity and language of respect. It is integral to the program as a valuable tool for both peer volunteers and activity leaders, and can be adapted to a wide array of audiences.

    The workshop is 45 minutes long to accommodate school period schedules, and covers the following areas –

    • Definition of developmental disability.
    • How diversity enriches our lives and community.
    • The critical role of friendship in a person’s social and emotional growth.
    • Examples of support and modifications that the individual may need.
    • Person first language.
    • The skills and attributes of an effective peer volunteer.
    • The role and responsibilities of the peer volunteer.

    The emphasis is on creating a relationship of mutual respect with the specific goal of successful participation of each individual in a group activity.Friendship, which cannot be mandated or created at will, may arise from this opportunity but is not a specific goal for the partner team.