~ 6 steps to a successful Friends at Home Program 2 nd step - Making the FAH match between volunteers & special friend 3 rd step - What goes into a first visit … why its so important. 4 th step – Making a schedule for everyone … keeping on top of everyone's visits 5 th step – COMMUNICATION 6 th step - Group FAH days – how those work 1 st step - ways to promote the Friends at Home Program!
At initial Sign up meeting/ interview: Make sure to stress the benefits and advantages of the FAH program & even though it’s the biggest time commitment. ie they are building relationships, in their own comfort zone etc…. You kick-off party / 1 st training of the year: have your teens promote the FAH program, let them sell it for you…. * Choose teens who are passionate about it. + have a parent present. We created a FAH brochure! 1 st step – Ways to promote the Friends at Home program?!?
As soon as Volunteer or friend expresses interest, we add them to a spreadsheet Get as much info about the their personalities and interests (both volunteers and friends) from whomever interviewed. Ask the friend if they have a friend they would like to do it with. If not, pair them up with another volunteer. Try to keep visit local, unless parents don’t mind driving. Pair up boys and girls up with same gender. Always give parents names before volunteers. As soon as we have a match for them we send out an e-mail to volunteer & call parent of special friend. You may have to recruit volunteers for a FAH match 2 nd step - Making the FAH Match between Volunteer & Special Friend
Set a time a date for the first visit. Don’t worry yet about regular scheduling. Send out an e-mail reminder to everyone the night before with the address of the special friend…. The director (or coordinator) will go along for the first visit. (to get everyone acquainted) FAH activity bags: Brings along bags filled with fun activities (including 101 things to do with my friends) & business card magnets with exchanged information Ask the parents (in the presence of the volunteers) if there is anything they need to know about their new friend or house rules… First Activity: A picture is taken during the first visit & printed out on the spot….if you don’t have a printer you can always take a picture then & mail it to them later. this Gives the FAH buddies a first activity to do together! 3 rd step - What goes into a first visit
Most important step!!! After first visit – an e-mail with dates for the next 2 months go out…. (volunteer & special friends check over the dates with their calendar) we then mail out the schedule with a cover page. *That way they have a hard copy of the schedule System on how to keep all the FAH schedules organized…. – Weekly spreadsheet & individual schedules… – send out reminder to everyone the week before. – Find out what is the Best Method of Communication (BMofC) to remind them. (e-mail, facebook or phone call.) Warn them upfront that you will be reminded (may seem nudge). When the schedule has 1-2 weeks left … an e-mail goes out and a new schedule goes into the mail for everyone. Feedback page – Once a month I will check in with our FAH buddies & see how FAH visits have been going. Really important to write down, even if you think you’ll remember. 4 th step – Making a Schedule for everyone … keeping on top of everyone's visits
5 th step – COMMUNICATION None-responsive volunteers: They need to confirm that their updated schedules work for them. Don’t assume that they read and are good. This is crucial to a smooth process throughout. Weekly reminders : use their BMofC before each scheduled FAH visit – refer back to individual schedules. This shows them that you’re still ‘tracking them’ every week. It keeps you involved. Checking in: Random calls or while you’re already calling to remind them. You’ll be surprised at what might come up that they would not have thought to inform you of otherwise. This will prevent bigger problems from arising. See below Example A (Michael/ Louisa & Michelle – Ice skating) Example B ( Brett W ….. Twins fighting) Example C (Yaakov Posin, didn’t go for 4 weeks… but since I kept on top of it, we didn’t let there visit slip away. We figured out a time)
Began as an annual event, now we increased to twice a year at the request of our volunteers and friends Gives friends who normally wouldn’t come to FC programs a chance to be with their friend in a group setting. Activities – around the room to do with their friends… board games, wii, arts and crafts etc… – one group activity. (like pass the parcel, 7up). – Snack station. Not so structured unlike a typical friendship circle program. FAH Library and Activity Refill. Opportunity for Friends volunteers to fill up on activities offered by the friendship circle….. Group FAH DAYS – FAH Picture Board 6 th step - Group FAH days – how these work