The process for becoming a volunteer with Prison Fellowship typically involves three steps and can often take between 3-12 months depending on current needs, the area in which an applicant is looking to get involved, and the location and availability of the applicant.
Step 1: Application and Orientation
All prospective volunteers are required to complete a Volunteer Application. This provides Prison Fellowship Canada with the relevant details of the applicant, including his/her personal faith journey, church affiliation, and volunteer experience.
All prospective volunteers are also required to attend the PFC Orientation session which provides an overview of the ministry of Prison Fellowship Canada, expectations of volunteers, and some basic training in prison ministry. These sessions are facilitated by one of our national or regional staff and are scheduled in various cities across Canada.
Step 2: Screening & Background Check
As part of the Volunteer Application, we ask individuals to provide two references for their application. References must not be family members, and one must be able to speak to the maturity of the applicant’s faith journey and level of spiritual maturity (i.e. Pastor). Because of the volume of applications we receive at Prison Fellowship, the completion of reference checks can often take at least a month.
We also require prospective volunteers to submit a valid institutional clearance / police background check. This can be obtained by visiting a police station in the city/town in which you reside. The cost varies depending on your location. For those interested in volunteering as part of our in-prison programs, the institution will also require a copy of your police background check.
For those interested in volunteering as a Pen Pal or with our Angel Tree Camping program, we require the police check to also include vulnerable sector screening.
Step 3: Placement & Training
Once the application and screening process has been completed, a decision will be made to determine the success of the application. If an applicant is not approved as a volunteer, he/she will be notified by the PFC staff.
If an applicant is approved as a volunteer, he/she will be notified and the placement and training process will begin. Approved volunteers for in-prison ministry typically take longer to place depending on the volunteer’s availability and the volunteer openings available locally. Each institution will also require an orientation and training for all new volunteers prior to access to the institution. Patience is required!
If you have any questions or concerns through the process, please do not hesitate to reach out to our national office by email, by phone to 1-844-618-5867, or to the appropriate Regional staff at Prison Fellowship Canada.