The program coordinator provides leadership, sets the tone for the program, and models respect and inclusivity in all interactions. This key role requires significant time and effort. It may be a role filled by one person, as either a paid or a volunteer position. Or it may be a role that is divided into two or three volunteer positions that would have clear individual accountabilities, but work very closely together. For example, you may have one volunteer who looks after the weekly program content, another who coordinates the volunteers, and another who meets with new participants and care partners, and is the main contact for the care partners. Alternatively, you may have multiple coordinators who each do all aspects of the role, but for different time periods.
Weekly theme ideas and program content can be drawn from the program resources section of this site. As more Side by Side programs are started, a weekly program could be shared online to help support congregations who do not have someone to generate the weekly program content.
The program coordinator provides leadership, sets the tone for the program and models respect and inclusivity in all interactions.
Roles, Responsibilities, and Tasks
- Plan a weekly Side by Side program to ensure that participants enjoy a variety of meaningful activities in a warmly welcoming social environment.
- Coordinate space and non-volunteer resource people (e.g. Brain Gym instructor, Music Therapist).
- Support activity leaders to ensure that supplies for activities and nutrition are obtained, and that backup is provided when a leader is away.
- Ensure that the program space is set up and ready each week, and that the space is returned to its original state at the end of the program.
- Recruit and coordinate volunteers to ensure that participants are adequately supported.
- Ensure that Volunteer Interest forms are completed to facilitate matching with participants.
- Regularly communicate with volunteers to ensure they are equipped to perform their respective roles, to learn of any observed changes in participants, and to encourage and appreciate.
- Complete intake meetings with participants and care partners to ensure fit and determine areas of interest to be taken into account in planning activities and matching to a volunteer companion.
- Regularly communicate with care partners any observed changes in participant levels of interaction or participation. Provide caring contact that is sensitive to the care partner’s stress level.
- Review accounts to ensure that expenditures are within budget.
- Provide regular reports to session, and communicate with the congregation via the church newsletter.
- Ensure that the Side by Side program complies with Leading with Care policies to ensure the safety of all taking part, and particularly of any vulnerable adults in our care.
Whether performed by an individual leader or a team of leaders, program coordination requires organization, attention to detail, creativity, strong written and oral communication skills, insight, patience, kindness, sensitivity, and a firm belief in the intrinsic value of participants, care partners, and volunteers as loved children of God. It is important to be attentive to the needs of all who are taking part in the program and to be able to balance needs appropriately to ensure the safety and well-being of each person.
God is weaving a tapestry of care
that connects all of us in Grace.
Come. Be part of it.
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