this document in MS Word format
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purpose of volunteer work is to expand your knowledge of
occupational therapy across practice areas and to broaden
your understanding of the needs of clients in various treatment
settings and across age groups. A
minimum of 60 volunteer hours is required in order
to be eligible to apply to the professional program. Of
those, a minimum of 15 hours in psychosocial dysfunction,
15 hours in physical disabilities and 15 hours in pediatrics
with an OTR or COTA is required. Your other 15 hours can
be any related area. Remember, volunteerism is a commitment
and a privilege, not a right. You need to ask permission
to do volunteer work, not demand to do it.
Occupational Therapy faculty believe that through volunteer
work, a student has the opportunity to:
Observe persons of all ages at work and play.
Establish interpersonal relationships.
Develop leadership skills in working with groups.
Become aware of the problems encountered by persons with
physical, mental, and developmental disabilities.
Learn more about themselves as individuals-do they enjoy
working with the disabled, do they have the patience required
for long-term care, and often times the slow progress
of severely disabled?
Develop initiative in seeking out volunteer work.
Demonstrate responsibility in their volunteer work-being
punctual, carrying out duties assigned, etc.
knowledge and experience which will make academic courses
more meaningful, and Level I and II Fieldwork less threatening.
In Level I and II Fieldwork, the Occupational Therapy
student is in the process of making the transition from
student to professional with the responsibilities inherent
in a profession in the health fields. Attitude and performance
in assigned Occupational Therapy duties are constantly
evaluated, and volunteer work can be invaluable in preparing
for this phase of their education as occupational therapists.
Revised: 1982, 1987, 1993, 2002, 2003
following is information for your consideration when planning
your process of volunteering for the Occupational Therapy
I: Selection and Prioritizing of the Volunteer Sites
three sites to contact from each practice area identified
on the Volunteer Work Opportunities sheet. Prioritize
your choices so that you make your contacts from your
first choice to the third choice. Choose among the following
Adult Physical Disabilities
Pediatrics and School Age Children
Geriatrics (Age 60 and older)
Adult Developmental Disabilities
doing volunteer work outside of the Grand Forks area should
check with your advisor to verify that the experience
will fulfill admissions requirements.
II: Planning the Initial Contact
Call the facility/contact person at least 20 working
days before the time you wish to begin.
you should have prepared prior to this call includes
available and time of day - be realistic, time commitments
should be honored
Purpose of what type of experience: pediatrics,
psychosocial, physical disabilities... (write it
out - practice saying it out loud)
Questions you may have:
Will there be an orientation
Are there guidelines/expectations
Is there a dress code
Are immunizations required
What is the projected amount of time I will
be with an OTR or COTA
Do I need a vehicle to travel from site to site
(e.g., one school to another school)
It is recommended that you write these out on a sheet
of paper so that your explanation is clear and concise;
this may boister your confidence with your request.
III: Making the Initial Contact
Speak clearly and don't rush!
Call early in the morning or later in the afternoon
when staff generally have office hours
If you must leave a message, leave your full name,
telephone number, the purpose of the call and the
best time to return your call. Remember, your personal
answering machine message should be professional.
to Say and How to Say It
Introduce yourself: Name, affiliation (UND student
in Pre-Occupational Therapy)
Choose one of the following statements to identify
the purpose of your call.
Complete the sentences with information
that specifically applies to your request.
would like to complete volunteer hours at your
program in the area of ____________ as part
of the requirement for ............ Would this
be acceptable to you?"
have learned about your facility through ........
and I would like to volunteer ........... Would
this be acceptable to you?"
the answer is "yes" (approval to volunteer):
Provide information outlined in Step II, number
Thank the individual for allowing this opportunity
Follow up with a letter outlining or re-confirming
your schedule (make sure you obtain
the individual's name, including correct spelling,
title, and address at the end of your conservation
the answer is "no" (denial to volunteer):
Thank the individual for taking the time to talk
Inquire about a waiting list & opportunities
in the future
Repeat your name and provide your phone number for
the facility to reach you, should an opportunity
for volunteer work arise
you Volunteer: Guidelines & Principles
Be punctual, if you MUST be absent, call as early as possible
to be excused
Adhere to dress code and other employee volunteer policies
Remember that you are a representative of the University
of North Dakota
Consider volunteerism a commitment and privilege
Respect CONFIDENTIALITY and follow the same ethical standards
expected of all staff members
Have a clear understanding of what your roles and duties
are, if you are unsure, ASK!!!