Circle Volunteer
Volunteer Types: Companionship/Visiting, Mental Health, Mentoring, Others, Special events and festivals
Organization types: Addiction and Substance Abuse, Community and Social Services, Criminal Justice, Poverty/Social Justice, Public/Society Benefit
Ongoing (more than a year)
Application Deadline: October 12, 2023
Posted on:

Circles of Support and Accountability (CoSA) Ottawa is a reintegration program, based on restorative justice principles, operating across Canada, that assists people who have been incarcerated for sexual offences and seek CoSA’s help, voluntarily, to develop a meaningful and crime-free life in the community. A Circle, consisting of 3 or 4 trained and screened volunteers and a ‘core member’ (CM), meet as a group, and each volunteer individually with the CM, to help with reintegration challenges, role model good decision-making, assist with obstacles as they arise, and challenge the CM’s choices and attitudes that may lead to a reoffence or breach of legal conditions. Volunteers (age 21+) are required to be available for approximately two hours a week and make a commitment for a minimum period of one year (renewable, dependent on the CM).

We, at the Ottawa CoSA branch, are pleased to announce our Fall 2023 Volunteer Training! The sessions will take place (by Zoom) on (mostly) Wednesday evenings from 6-8 pm on:

Wed, Oct 18, Fundamentals of CoSA, with CoSA Ottawa staff
Wed, Oct 25, Offending Behaviour and Treatment Approach, with Dr. Geris Serran, Psychologist
Wed, Nov 8, Victims’ Perspective, with Donna Watson-Elliott, Victims Services, Ottawa Police
Wed, Nov 15, Legal Controls, with Det. Ron McCarthy, High-Risk Unit, Ottawa Police
Thurs (not Wed), Nov 23, Assessments and Treatment at the Royal Ottawa, with Heather Tarnai-Feely, Social Worker, Royal’s Sexual Behaviours Clinic

Following the Basic Training (sessions #1-5), we will conduct volunteer screening (interview with two staff and a Board member; references checked). Successful applicants will be required to obtain a Police Check (cost minimized for CoSA volunteers). Approved volunteers will then proceed to the final session on November 29. Placement in a circle may happen soon after (dependent on many factors), at which time the one-year requirement begins.

Everyone is welcome to attend the training, with no obligation to continue as a volunteer. We are always grateful to share the wonder of CoSA!

How will this opportunity benefit the volunteer?
Volunteers get to experience providing support, accountability, compassion, mentorship, and practical help to a Core Member as they make steps toward a meaningful and crime-free life. Additionally, volunteers have the satisfaction of knowing they are contributing directly to a safer community for all!
How will the organization benefit?
CoSA benefits greatly from the involvement of volunteers as they are the backbone of our organization, providing the majority of CoSA's frontline support, and this work could not be done without them.
Volunteer location:
Circle meetings are both in-person and virtual. In-person meetings take place at a centrally-located church.


Susan Love
@Circles of Support and Accountability - Ottawa
Time it will take to contact applicants:


This position would be great for: Adults, Person with a disability or medical condition, Seniors (65+), Young Adults (19-24)
Number of Positions Available: 15
Good for people interested in: Companionship/Visiting, Mental Health, Mentoring, Others, Special events and festivals
You will be helping with: Disadvantaged, First Nations, Métis, Inuit, Indigenous persons, Homeless, LGBTQI2+, Men, Persons with disabilities or medical conditions, Seniors, Visible minorities or racialized persons, Women

Volunteer Considerations

  • Police record check required
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