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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Voluntary service in welfare agencies : a survey of the use of vounteers and policies relating to them among agencies affiliated to the Greater Vancouver Community Chest and Council, 1955 MacDonald, Dorothy Mary

Abstract

It is becoming more apparent to people in and out of the profession of social work that the volunteer has a unique and definite place in the social welfare picture. Volunteers were the first to perform social work; and they were among the first to receive professional training. It is believed that the volunteer can perform many functions in social agencies today and that these jobs are best suited to the volunteer and best done by him or her; it should not be the case of the volunteer doing jobs 'left over' from the professional job. The survey method was employed extensively rather than intensively, i.e. the purpose was to get preliminary information about the use of volunteers and general policy on the subject of volunteers, rather than a study of particular programmes. Approximately 80 agencies were canvassed and replies from 51 were received and reviewed. Professional and other literature was reveiewed to gain some standards as to what should be included in a good volunteer programme. A questionnaire was drawn up with these criteria in mind, and the results of the questionnaire was considered in the light of them. The survey revealed that there is considerable contemporary interest in the subject of volunteers. However, understanding of the particular contributions which volunteers in the social welfare picture can make seems to require interpretation. There seems lacking, too, any unified understanding of some of the elements in a good volunteer programme. For example, (a) the term 'program volunteer' does not appear to refer to a specific type of service; (b) "training" means many things, and a more exact and classified definition is needed. It is hoped that by pointing up some of the lacks in current practices regarding volunteers, further definitive and constructive study can be aided for the future.

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