Volunteering with OFTP

OFTP is an organization run entirely by volunteers like you. There are several areas in which we could use assistance from our membership.

"How can I help?"

First, decide how much time you have. Members with small children usually have their hands full already. Occasionally, there are people who have high energy levels (or whose children leave them more available time) who do a lot of volunteer work for this organization.

Next, decide what your interests and skills are, and offer to help in areas that suit you (see the Decison-Making Agreement for details on how to initiate projects). There are plenty to choose from! We've listed some general areas below and on the membership form* you fill out when you join, and have described in more detail some key areas in which OFTP always needs assistance.

If you would like to volunteer for an administrative position, please join the exec list and speak up; or contact the Membership Secretary at membership@ontariohomeschool.org

Finally, contact the group of members who are already volunteering in the areas of interest to you. This might be an administrator (website manager, newsletter editor), a committee (conference, Post-Secondary Admissions Project) or the executive in general. If you're not sure who to contact, make a general enquiry by phone or email or post a message on the forums.

"Are there any policies I have to follow?"

As a grassroots group, we don't want a lot of rules and regulations to follow. At the same time, we are a very diverse group of people and may not always share the same expectations about what types of decisions should be made by whom, and how those decisions should be reached. To avoid the unpleasant surprises of unspoken expectations and assumptions, we've come to a group agreement about how to share the decision-making responsibilities and powers, and have put it in writing. As a volunteer, you're part of the group's decision-making equation, so please read the Decision-Making Agreement to find out how it might apply to any decisions you make in your volunteer work.

Key Areas in which OFTP always needs assistance

Distribution of OFTP Brochures/Literature

One key area in which OFTP always requires assistance is "spreading the word of our organization". It's important and helpful for members to place OFTP membership brochures in their local libraries, community centres, etc. If you would like copies of the brochure please contact the printing-&-mailing coordinator.

Information Meetings

It's also useful if local support groups host Information Meetings in their area. A local group would organize the date and location and OFTP would provide homeschooling literature and a speaker on any topic that the group would like. OFTP can also provide funding for rental of a location for the information meeting. For further information on hosting an Information Meeting, please contact us.

Regional Conferences

OFTP has developed a policy for sponsoring regional conferences hosted by a local support group. If you are interested in hosting a conference and/or curriculum fair in your area, please contact us for more information. (See also the Decision-Making Agreement.)

Article Submission for Home Rules Newsletter

OFTP is always looking for articles on personal homeschooling stories, book reviews, curriculum reviews, research information, etc. On our newsletter pages, you'll find information on the types of material we are looking for, as well as guidelines and submission dates. Please contact the newsletter editor to submit articles or query further.

OFTP Phone Line

OFTP maintains a phone line (416-410-5218 or 1-800-704-0448) which anyone can call to get advice and information about homeschooling. OFTP members volunteer to answer the phone line. If you would like to volunteer to pick up calls, please contact the hotline volunteer. Members are provided with instructions and support in retrieving messages and responding to inquiries. They will also be compensated for all of their long distance costs.

Website maintenance and additions

You can help keep our website up to date by reporting any broken or outdated links or other outdated information you come across. If you'd like to take it a step further, you could check pages on a regular basis, systematically following each link to make sure it still leads to a valid URL. Phone numbers and addresses can also change, so let the website manager know if you become aware of incorrect contact information on pages such as those listing resources. Adding new resources to our list is also something you can help with. If you come across an interesting website, book, service or other resource, let the website manager know. It would help if you provide a description along with the link, ISBN, or contact information, as the case may be. If website maintenance or webdesign are areas of interest to you, contact the website manager to find out how else you can help.

Volunteering as an administrator

Some of the ongoing roles are filled by administrators -- Treasurer, Membership Secretary, Printing/Mailing Coordinator, etc. When an administrator is no longer able to fill a position, a call for volunteers goes out to the entire membership, and the Membership Secretary may also contact those in the "Talent Bank" (Skills and Interests columns of our membership database) who have indicated an interest in the position in question. The mandates and guidelines for the various positions are posted on the Executive Forum

Participating on the executive

The Executive is open to all OFTP members. As a non-hierarchical group, we share the decision-making power through consensus of all who wish to speak up (see the Decision-Making Agreement). Members can access the Executive Forum to participate in discussion and volunteer for executive tasks, or simply to keep themselves informed of the issues under discussion.

What are your skills and interests?

  • Research/Surveys
  • Clerical/Administrative
  • Web Design
  • Newsletter/Publishing
  • Writing (articles, letters to editor, press releases, etc.)
  • Public Relations/Marketing
  • Political Lobbying
  • Local Support Contact
  • Single Parent Issues
  • Web Research
  • Telephoning
  • Social Work Issues
  • Legal Issues
  • Public Speaking
  • Conference Planning
  • Contact Schools/School Boards
  • Mailings
  • Work on Committee/Project
  • Organize Info Meeting
  • Children with Special Needs Issues

For more information on volunteering, please speak up on the yahoogroups or forums, or contact the relevant administrator.