FROM SIMONE: When I was discussing in my last blog about the preoccupation Parents have with how long their Program is going to take or how old their child is, the race against the clock, I also remembered another great preoccupation Parents normally have: Volunteers.

I’ve seen many Parents quit doing their Son-Rise Program because they could not find volunteers, as finding volunteers is associated with “for how many hours a week I can run my Program”, again that main preoccupation about time and quantity I was talking about last week.

The fact is The Son-Rise Program and the word “quantity” do not go together because how do you measure or count LOVE?

When I first started my Son-Rise Program for my son back in 2005 I had no playroom, my son didn’t even have a room I could transform in one, there was just myself, but I was injected with hope and 3E’s, fresh from The Son-Rise Start-Up and my son had more changes in 6 months than ever before. In fact if I compare with some periods later when I had a team of volunteers, but was not employing the right attitude with them, my son actually progressed more when I was on my own, but kept the right attitude and was HAPPY!

I am not saying you shouldn’t have volunteers, they are wonderful, you will be able to run your Program more efficiently, have time to do all the other things you are supposed to do and your child will get input from different people, really getting the idea that people are fun to be with and not just Mommy or Daddy are fun to be with. What you can’t do is forget that you can run a Program without volunteers and your Program always carries on even when good volunteers leave and even that it is not worth keeping volunteers you are not satisfied with just so there’s more people in your Program. It’s never about the quantity.

So what makes a good team of volunteers? Where do you find them? How do you train them? What qualities do they need to have?

  • The question is not what makes a good team of volunteers but WHO makes a good team of volunteers and the answer is YOU.
  • The answer to where you find them is you don’t find them you “make” them and you make them by training them and training them and training them.
  • You train them by doing feedback, feedback, feedback over and over again.
  • The only qualities they need to have is being reliable, trustworthy, fun and willing to make happiness a priority in their lives. I wouldn’t even prioritize the fun part as there are a lot of people who are actually fun but don’t know about it, but I would prioritize the willingness to be happy as nobody can be fun without being happy. Have you ever met anybody unhappy who was fun to be with?

Without happiness there’s no Son-Rise Program. I have met many people who were fun and animated and a great companion to my son until any sort of problem hit their lives and they chose unhappiness as a way of dealing with their problems, they believed that being unhappy, angry gave them energy to change what they didn’t like. The problem here is when they see something they would like your child to change they will apply the same principle they apply for themselves, they will use anger, frustration, unhappiness and you will be treading in some dangerous ground.

You make the team because to keep it as a team you need to treat volunteers with the same techniques you are going to teach them, you need to be non-judgemental with them, you need to love them and believe they are doing their best and you need to protect your child and want the best for your child so you need to inspire in them the same love you have for your child so that the whole team moves as one in excitement for every achievement from your child, no matter how small.

To be able to create this love for each other and for your child you will need to make sure there’s total authenticity between you and each team worker and between them. If there’s anything troubling you about some one’s performance don’t be afraid to bring it up. Don’t fall in the dangerous game of I won’t say anything that might upset my volunteer and they might leave. Much the opposite, the more genuine and truthful you are the longer they will stay, and let’s face it, if they leave because they’ve heard genuine feedback you wouldn’t want them in the team anyway.

There’s a huge difference between technique and principle. You can have a person like myself who is formerly autistic and have no 3 E’s. 3E’s is a technique, you can practice, you can create an intention to be more animated, it’s a choice. Now you can’t have a person in the team with no integrity, who won’t turn up and won’t tell you, who when you are not looking will kill time ignoring your child or looking at the clock every second, you can’t have someone who will be spiteful of feedback or won’t move at all with feedback because their beliefs are set in stone.

I have had volunteers who didn’t respect myself, my son or other team members and I have no regret for having asked them to leave the team, even though I was left in some cases with almost no hours in the Program, even though I had paid them to do the Intensive in America or other Programs, nothing can come into consideration when you find out someone has no principles, they have to go, and that is a loving attitude, love for your child and the Program you built for him or her.

So summarizing, when looking for a volunteer don’t look at diplomas, look how the person behaves with your child, how loving and accepting they are, even of themselves, how excited they are about being with your child rather than how knowledgeable they are and when training them remember the Programs you did yourself and how much the staff from the Option Institute inspired you to believe in your child, remember how much you wanted to go to a Program every week, if possible, and create that atmosphere in your house so that volunteers will be attracted to working for you and attracted to staying because they feel good about what they are doing.

Last but not least BELIEVE! Believe you will find great people, believe they will want to stay and believe great volunteers are out there waiting to hear everything about your Program and love it just like you do and have fun creating fun training exercises and group meetings that will inspire them and keep the 3Es flowing in your Program.

This is my current team, I am the Viking, beard and all!