Anyone willing to offer at least one year of commitment to the CoSA program is eligible to be a CoSA volunteer. No special skills are required. CoSA will train volunteers on how to provide friendship and support to someone who has served a federal prison term and is at high-risk to re-offend. Once Edmonton CoSA reviews your application, we will interview you. If selected, based on your suitability to support a particular Core Member, Edmonton CoSA requires CoSA volunteers to complete and submit a Police Information Check, a Vulnerable Sector Check and a Reference Check. CoSA volunteers are also required to conform to a Code of Conduct.
CoSA volunteers attend Circle meetings that can happen once a week to once a month based on the needs of the Circle. Circle meetings are more frequent when a Core Member is first released.
Job one for CoSA volunteers is to be a friend and to show true friendship and support to the Core Member.
Other CoSA volunteer support to a Core Member might include the following:
• helping them through a crisis;
• assisting with their community support and access to resources;
• working with the CoSA Coordinator on Core Member community advocacy;
• networking with the Core Member with the CoSA Stakeholder Committee and other vital community supports;
• supporting Core Member risk assessment – to themselves and to the community – in their daily activities;
• promoting a healthy lifestyle to the Core Member;
• confronting the Core Member about inappropriate behaviours;
• encouraging a positive attitude within the Core Member toward community service and society, and;
• celebrating Core Member milestones, achievements and successes along their road to positive reintegration.
Comprehensive training is provided to all CoSA volunteers.
Training begins with a one or two day workshop to introduce the basics of the CoSA program. This includes the origins and history of the CoSA program, its structure and values, its circle process, the basics of support and accountability, safety, principles of self-care and boundaries. Other topics include sexual offence in Canadian law, understanding the correctional system, overcoming institutionalization, issues in reintegration, legal controls and community monitoring, sexual deviance, victim and survivor perspectives, risk management and reintegration planning. Training on topics such as addictions, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), and issues in aboriginal cultural will be provided to volunteers as required. Once volunteers complete the introductory training, they may be placed in a Circle.
Edmonton COSA is always looking for more training opportunities for our volunteers. If as a volunteer you have suggestions or are interested in certain training please let us know.
Our training will be at St. Faith’s Anglican Church, 11725 93 Street.
If you have any questions about the CoSA program, the CoSA volunteer position or application process, please contact Edmonton CoSA.
If you would like to volunteer with Edmonton Circles of Support and Accountability, please complete and submit our Volunteer Application Form. Our volunteer coordinator will be in touch with you shortly.