Shalem’s WrapAround program supports families and individuals who face multiple and complex challenges every day. Each participant is wrapped in a team of volunteers, and together they develop plans that focus on finding ways to meet the participant’s needs.
WrapAround services embedded in organizations can be subject to budget cuts and staff reductions, and in some communities, such as Windsor, Kitchener and other parts of Ontario, they have been cut altogether. As a result, WrapAround can’t exist without volunteers.
When WrapAround services in Hamilton were at risk of being cut, Shalem Mental Health Network sought to take WrapAround under its wing to ensure the service continues. As a result, WrapAround Hamilton continues to grow with the help and collaboration of like-minded churches, volunteer community initiatives, and individual volunteers. We help develop friendships and community and we are active in our neighbourhoods, supporting their efforts to develop safer communities.
We are slowly building our volunteer initiative through the help of people who can commit to at least one year to a family asking for help to change. We offer 18 hours of in-class training to simulate the experience they will have in community and then offer 5 hours of live coaching with the family with whom they are matched.
Our volunteers bring their life experiences and their strengths to the WrapAround Hamilton network and every two months we meet to share those experiences and learn from each other.
Elske, Shalem’s Director of WrapAround Services, continues to provide facilitator training, coaching and support for volunteers in Hamilton and the surrounding area.
In February 2016, Elske partnered with Louise Latourelle, WrapAround Coordinator of Halton Support Services, to provide WrapAround training for 13 volunteers from the Society of St. Vincent de Paul of the Mary Mother of God Parish (MMOG), in Oakville. The WrapAround process will be now be offered to a few families calling for assistance from the MMOG Parish as part of a pilot project with MMOG and Shalem Mental Health Network.
If you are drawn to the WrapAround model, consider how you can become involved as a volunteer on a team to support a family or individual. Our next facilitator training is taking place in April 2016. Check out our website for more information.
Susan Winter Fledderus, with contributions from Elske de Visch Eybergen