The West Montreal Readaptation Center for Special Needs is a vital institution that is introduced to students from the Social Science and Police Tech programs as part of one of their assignments. However, this organization also helps teach essential skills to adults with learning and behavioural difficulties through on-campus jobs, classroom teaching, and one-on-one buddy volunteering.
Buddy volunteering typically occurs on a weekly basis, depending on the availability of both the student and the buddy. During a typical buddy session, you will exchange in conversations, play games, or help them with their list of tasks for that particular day. The buddies’ disabilities range from down syndrome to autism, and the coordinators will undoubtedly be able to match you with someone within your comfort zone. The experience, at least for me, has been extremely enlightening.
Before joining the buddy program as a volunteer, I was often apprehensive whenever I was in close range to people with special needs. I would always question how to engage with them, and I would choose my words carefully so as not to anger them. Fortunately, after several semesters of volunteering, I’ve finally learned the secret ingredient to eliminating that nervousness: you just have treat them for the human being that they are.
When we are infrequently accustomed to particular circumstances, it’s natural for us to feel uneasy. By regularly exposing ourselves to situations outside of our comfort zone, we slowly reduce the anxiousness that is derived from them as we become accustomed to the uneasiness.
For more information on this amazing opportunity, visit the WMRC office, located next to the Human Resources department in Stewart Hall.
Originally Published on bandersnatch.ca