There are lots of ways to be involved at SWITCH. We have a huge variety of people that make everything pull together each week. We have people that volunteer all the time, some of the time, take part in programming, sit on council, or are Shift Supervisors. And, of course, we have people that don’t know how to make the first step! Check out the information sections to the left for more information.
What a SWITCH shift is
You’re interested in becoming a volunteer and we’re interested in having you work with us. Here’s the run-down of what a typical SWITCH shift looks like.
When and where are shifts?
SWITCH operates Monday and Wednesday evenings from 5–9pm, and Saturday afternoon from 12-4pm at Westside Clinic. During the summer months (June/July/August) SWITCH operates Wednesday evenings only, from 5-9pm. SWITCH is closed all holidays and holiday weekends.
What are shifts?
The first half hour of the shift is used for pre-brief session, where we give introductions and perform a smudge. When the clinic opens we see clients and perform clinical and outreach services, including educational programming, childcare services, as well as serving a hot and healthy meal. The last hour of each shift is spent charting, cleaning up, and finally debriefing.
Who is on each shift?
The shifts are comprised of the following personnel:
- Professionals: Medical mentor, social work mentor, and 1-4 interdisciplinary mentors
- Student Volunteers: Shift Supervisor, Outreach Supervisor, Outreach Team, and Clinical Team
What are each team’s duties?
OUTREACH TEAM (Category A)
- Ensures a welcoming environment for patients and community members
- Prepares and provides food and drink in waiting area
- Assists clients in completing paperwork
- Provides childcare and facilitates childrens’ activities
- Assists in setup and delivery of daily programming
- Distributes information on SWITCH services as well as hygiene products to community members with Street Squad
- Participates in educational activities for students hosted by mentors, staff or other students
CLINICAL TEAM (Categories B, C, D)
- Teams are interprofessional
- Teams assess the patient’s concern(s) through the appropriate means; history or physical exam, etc.
- Teams collaborate with mentors and staff to decide an appropriate course of action; referrals, treatments, counseling
- Teams are responsible for proper charting, lab requisitions and seeing that patient follow-up procedures are properly followed
- Responsible for briefing and organizing the clinical teams for the shift
- Responsible for assigning patients to an appropriate clinical team
- Is the administrative representative for SWITCH during the shift
- Facilitates the pre-brief session each shift
- Handles complaints of clients or personnel and directs them to the appropriate person
- Handles building or safety concerns
- Responsible for assembling and assigning roles to Outreach volunteers
- Ensure enough volunteers in each area; moves volunteers to where they are needed
- Rotates through all areas to ensure everyone on Outreach Team is satisified in their role
- Facilitates debrief at end of shift
How to start volunteering
We’re so excited that you are keen to volunteer at SWITCH. The first step to becoming at SWITCH volunteer is to attend a General Orientation, where you will learn all about our history and values, what a typical shift looks like, and the various roles that you can participate in. General Orientation dates are published under the “Upcoming Orientations” tab and a space can be reserved by emailing the Volunteer Coordinator.
Additional paperwork requirements include:
- Volunteer contract and confidentiality agreement (completed at orientation)
- Criminal record and vulnerable sector check (form distributed at orientation)
- Confirmation of enrollment (printable from the online self-service area of your post-secondary institution)
If you are a student in health sciences or social work and are interested in joining the Clinical Team, additional requirements include:
- Attending a Clinical Orientation (check under the “Upcoming Orientations” tab for dates)
- Completing a Faculty Letter of Recommendation (distributed during Clinical Orientation)
- Completing three shifts as an Outreach Volunteer
We are very low on volunteers in the summer so we are asking that more community members throughout Saskatoon volunteer at SWITCH. Please ask your friends and family if they would like to engage in a unique volunteer opportunity by becoming a SWITCHer! We request that community members attend a General Orientation, provide a criminal record and vulnerable sector check, as well as letter of reference.
How to Sign Up for Shifts
SWITCH uses an online self-scheduling system for volunteers and mentors. Once oriented, you will be able to sign up for shifts up to 24 hours before the shift starts.
*Please note, an email will be sent to you that provides you with a login (email address) and password. Once you log in the first time you can change your password. If you have not received this email within one week of your orientation date, please contact the Volunteer Coordinator.
Step by step instructions signing up for a shift:
- Go to the SWITCH website and click “Scheduler” at the top right-hand side of the page.
- Use the email address you gave SWITCH at orientation and your password to log in.
- Once you log in, you will be able to click onto SWITCH shifts shown on the Calendar to sign up.
- Click on the date you want to sign up and a window will pop up.
- Click on the Category you wish to schedule yourself under and then hit “Register!”
- Once clicked, your name will below in the list below “Registered Volunteer.”
Can’t make a shift?
If for some reason you can not make it to a shift, you can use the functions on the SWITCH scheduler to trade with another user. Go back to where you signed up and click on your name and then it gives you the appropriate options.
If you are not able to find someone to take your shift, you can use the Drop function to drop your shift. Note: this function does not work within 72 hours of a shift’s start time.
If you become ill or an emergency comes up and you are unable to make a shift at the last minute, please email the Volunteer Coordinator to let us know. This is very important as SWITCH needs to ensure we are staffed appropriately every time we open our doors.
Orientations are 4 hours in length and include a basic introduction to the West Side Community Clinic, a session on cultural competency, and information regarding scheduling and operation of the clinic. Orientations are located at the West Side Community Clinic (1528 20th Street W) and will be held on shift.
There are a maximum number of people that can sign up for orientation so save your spot today! Email the Volunteer Coordinator with your preferred date, as well as your name, college, and year.
Upcoming General Orientations:
Saturday, September 30th: 12:00-3:00 PM (FULL)
Monday, October 23rd: 5:00-8:00 PM
Saturday, October 28th: 12:00-3:00 PM
Saturday, November 18th: 12:00-3:00 PM
Clinical Orientations must be completed before you join the clinical team. Orientations are on shift, and will be 2 hours long. All students who wish to join the clinical team must first complete a General Orientation and 3 shifts as a Category A Outreach volunteer.
Upcoming Clinical Orientations:
Monday, September 25th: 5:30-7:30 PM
Saturday, October 21st: 1:00-3:00 PM
Saturday, November 25th: 12:30-2:30 PM
Saturday, December 16th: 12:30-2:20 PM
Please keep checking our website for new orientation times.
Mental Health Training is mandatory for social work and clinical psychology students who wish to join the Clinical Team, and available to other clinical volunteers who are interested. Mental Health Training is scheduled by request; please contact the Volunteer Coordinator if you are interested in scheduling a session.
Being a volunteer at SWITCH is extremely rewarding all on its own. However, if you’re looking for ways to branch out, look no further!
You can be a part-time or all-the-time volunteer at SWITCH. Depending on where you are in school, you will be either a part of the Outreach Team or Clinical Team. Find out how you can get started by going to the “How to start volunteering” tab.
Programming is perfect for you if you:
- have lots of great ideas
- are not a student or you have recently graduated
- are not able to commit to regular volunteer shifts
Please contact our Program Coordinator if you are interested in getting involved!
Outreach Supervisors are responsible for assigning roles and managing outreach volunteers during SWITCH shifts. This is a great opportunity for individuals who are outgoing, keen to develop leadership skills, and have an interest in learning more about how a SWITCH shift operates. Contact our Volunteer Coordinator if you are interested in training as an Outreach Supervisor!
Shift Supervisors keep our clinic running smoothly every shift and know SWITCH better than anyone else. To become a Shift Supervisor, we ask that you become proficient in the role of Outreach Supervisor first. Shift Supervisors are provided with a thorough orientation processes in order to prepare them for all aspects of clinical operations. If you are a current Outreach Supervisor with an interest in becoming a Shift Supervisor, contact the Volunteer Coordinator.
Board of Directors
SWITCH’s Board of Directors meets monthly. We organize upcoming events, pursue funding opportunities, iron out any issues, and brainstorm new ideas to improve SWITCH. Sitting on the Board of Directors is truly rewarding and provides an insightful behind-the-scenes look of the structure of a non-profit organization. Contact the Volunteer Coordinator is you feel like you would be a good fit for SWITCH’s Board of Directors.
Special Events Committee
This committee is responsible for planning and executing all of SWITCH’s community and fundraising events, including our Women’s Pamper Night, Art Auction, Zombie Run, and Charity Breakfast. If you would like more information or are interested in joining this committee, please contact our Program Coordinator.
Community Outreach Committee
This committee is responsible for representing SWITCH at community events to increase awareness of our organization. Additionally, the Community Outreach Committee strives to create new relationships with other like-minded organizations in the city, as well as strengthen existing partnerships. If you would like more information or are interested in joining this committee, please contact our Community Portfolio Board Member.
Student Recruitment & Retention Committee
This committee is involved in recruiting new volunteers and encouraging volunteer retention. Volunteers in this committee deliver “SWITCH pitches” during the first weeks of classes in September and January. Contact our Student Recruitment Portfolio Board Member if you are interested in joining this committee.
SWITCH is always looking to update our student volunteer testimonials for use in our Annual Report and promotional documents. Testimonials could include statements about: what SWITCH means to you, how SWITCH has impacted your life (professionally, academically, personally, etc), what you have learned and/or experienced while at SWITCH, or anything else that you’d like to say.
If you would like to provide a testimonial, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and indicate that you are a student volunteer, as well as if you’d like your name to be included with your statement or if you’d prefer it to say “anonymous”.
“The SWITCH community is a way to share our humanity. Relationships with other students, mentors, and clients turn into a channel for me to learn. Over the course of many hours at SWITCH, I’ve learned lessons on the complex and multifaceted barriers that come with poverty, as well as wild game meat, making bannock, the social services system, how different health professionals are trained, and best of all, people’s stories. SWITCH is truly one of the loves of my life.” – Megan, student volunteer
“SWITCH teaches me so much more than a student can learn from reading a textbook.” – Anonymous, student volunteer
“Being a volunteer at SWITCH is so fulfilling and so much fun. Never a dull moment!” – Anonymous, student volunteer
“SWITCH has truly changed my life. Through volunteering I was able to determine what sort of career I wanted with the health care system, learned about the health disparities within the core neighbourhoods of Saskatoon, and was able to learn and practice within an inter-professional health setting. My time at SWITCH has truly empowered me.” – Alixe, student volunteer