Volunteers sustain our programs. In 2016-17, 215 volunteers dedicated 11,954 hours to ARBI.
An average of 107 volunteers give of their time weekly to improve the lives of brain injury survivors, a selfless act that reflects the heart of our community.
ARBI’s unique approach ensures clients receive high quality care to meet their individual needs. This is achieved with a blend of professional therapists, rehabilitation staff and volunteers working together to deliver rehabilitation in a community setting. Each client is assessed, goals are identified and a personalized rehabilitation program is developed by the team that implements the program with the support of volunteers.
Volunteers receive ongoing support as they work diligently with survivors to improve their quality of life. The results: incredible relationships are formed and lives change forever.
Our volunteers are recruited through various sources and come from all walks of life. Their reasons for volunteering are as varied as the individuals themselves. This is an ideal opportunity for individuals working from home, employed part-time, retired, semi-retired, with a flexible work schedule or students planning to enter medically related fields.
We are looking for individuals who:
- Are physically able to implement the exercise portions of the program for one-on-one therapy
- Have a positive attitude
- Are willing to commit at least nine months to make life better for a brain injury survivor
- Are available one weekday from 9:00-11:30 a.m. or 1:00-3:30 p.m.
- We also welcome volunteers for our group programs, which require less physical involvement. A variety of groups run throughout the week. Volunteers may choose the group based on its focus or by the time that suits their schedule. Please refer to the Community Integration Program page for more information about the groups. Contact us for more information about the requirements of each group as well as the availability of volunteer positions in each group.
For more information please contact:
Main Line: (403) 242-7116
ARBI is accredited by the Alberta Council of Disability Services (ACDS) for its unique rehabilitation program that blends professionals and volunteers.
ARBI is also a member of Propellus (formerly Volunteer Calgary), Calgary Chamber of Voluntary Organizations (CCVO) and Volunteer Alberta.
My experience as an ARBI volunteer has brought me many valuable experiences, however, the most important thing ARBI brought me was the opportunity to really get to know the clients and they approach the rehabilitation experience. Over the years I have had the fortune of working with six very different clients and it was a truly valuable experience to see how each of them approached their time at ARBI in their own individual way. I had the opportunity to work with clients who were optimistic, humorous and excited to be a part of the ARBI community and some that were eager to get their exercises done, recover and graduate. But what was common across all the individuals I worked with was that each of them was very determined to make a change in their lives. Seeing and experiencing the gradual change week by week was truly a surreal experience and one that I am unlikely to have again as a physician (15 seconds per patient is not enough time to get to know someone). In my future career as a physician, I will work with many individuals with brain injuries and I am relieved to know that after they leave the hospital, they can still do their rehabilitation in the caring and capable hands of the staff and volunteers at ARBI.
Here at ARBI, I have had the honour of working with many clients. I have learned that a disability does not define individuals and they work hard to adapt physically and cognitively in improving quality of life. They say that it isn’t about how you get knocked down but rather how you get back up, and the same analogy applies here where these individuals are on their way of getting back up.
To volunteer at ARBI is, to me, being engaged in a very special shared human experience. Volunteers, of course, give the gift of their time, and with that a caring responsibility, a desire to help, a willingness to learn, community commitment, and especially patience.
For my time at ARBI that experience means a few hours most weeks during the summer when I help out with the gardening group. Together my client and I feel the soil, push the seeds deep into the black dirt, pour water over our prospective growth while watching the tiny vegetable seedlings stretch their new wings out of the soil’s darkness. We both get excited when colourful blossoms of the flowers start to open and share their radiant beauty, and in early fall when the bountiful harvest (not eaten by rabbits) is shared amongst all.
To be engaged is to be part of that client’s day for a few minutes or for a few hours and by doing so, offering respite to the client’s regular caregiver. To share in friendship through conversation that can take many forms – words, a “thumbs-up,” a hug, a smile, a long drawn out and purposefully focused breathy sound, a touch of confidence on the arm, a slightly raised eyebrow, an enlightened gaze, or even learning a few words in not-your-own language.
When I had the opportunity to work one-on-one with a client, the physical and language activity could be perceived as routine or highly repetitive, but there were times when the client would ride that bicycle a few more rotations, take a longer stride down the hallway, extend their arm a little bit further, or want to practice that phrase again and again and again. These are cherished moments of smiles.
What I have learned most of all while volunteering at ARBI is the incredible strength of spirit that carries the ARBI clients forward, even a little bit, every day. And that strength of spirit, well, that’s a beautiful human experience, that I think is shared throughout ARBI.