Looking for Responsible High School and University Students to Befriend Youth with Special Needs
Volunteer Types: Companionship/Visiting
Organization types: Community and Social Services
Ongoing (more than a year)
Application Deadline: December 31, 2023
Posted on:

The Friendship Circle of Ottawa is seeking fully-vaccinated students to partake in our “Friends @ Home” program. Student volunteers are paired with a child and communicate weekly with the child they have been paired with. Volunteers should commit to at least a year of friendship in order for the relationship with their matched child to really grow. Volunteers do not need to have extensive training in the field of special needs, just an interest in children and an accepting attitude.

For the safety of our participants it is also asked that the volunteer who are over 18 have a police records check/vulnerable sector check (a note can be provided to have this done for a reduced cost).

The youth in our program have a variety of special needs, but most are on the autism spectrum. As it is often difficult for children with social challenges to engage online, many of our clientele have requested in-person visits. It is therefore important for our volunteers to be fully- vaccinated and practice Covid-related precautions. We encourage volunteers and participants to communicate any concerns so that everyone feels comfortable. Please also note that the majority of families enrolled in our program live outside the downtown core. Therefore, having access to a car or ride is an asset!

Thank you for your interest in volunteering for Friendship Circle!

How will this opportunity benefit the volunteer?
Volunteers do not need to have extensive training in the field of special needs, just an interest in children and an accepting attitude. Volunteers will attend free training sessions with a specialist in special education where they can meet other volunteers and learn valuable techniques to foster relationships with children who have special needs such as autism. Furthermore, because Friendship Circle is part of a long-standing and respected registered charity (The Jewish Youth Library of Ottawa), volunteer hours can be counted toward school community service requirements, and coordinator Elinore Rabin is happy to act as reference for those that have shown commitment to their role. This is a valuable reference asset in applying to schools and employment opportunities.
How will the organization benefit?
This important program allows children who often feel socially isolated to gain confidence through companionship. *this program is free of cost (run by a non-profit organization) and provides parents an hour of respite.
Volunteer location:
192 Switzer Ave


Elinore Rabin
@Jewish Youth Library of Ottawa
Time it will take to contact applicants:


This position would be great for: High School Students (14-18), Young Adults (19-24)
Number of Positions Available: 3
Good for people interested in: Companionship/Visiting
You will be helping with: Children (0-10 years), Persons with disabilities or medical conditions, Youth (11-15 years), Youth (16-18 years)

Volunteer Considerations

  • Police record check required
  • Vulnerable sector check required
  • Suitable for community service hours
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