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Good Samaritans Volunteers Helping Victims Program Handbook and Training Guide
Top navigation About This Guide Message From the Director Acknowledgments About the Authors Related Links
Photo: Man and woman looking out of a broken window.

Publication Date: April 2009

minus iconFilling a Void—Origins of the Program
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minus iconVolunteers: Recruiting,
Screening, and Training

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minus iconModule 2: The Victim Experience
minus iconModule 3: Basic Skills for Volunteers
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Training Volunteers

Getting Started

First impressions are important, and a good training session begins with setting the right tone and making participants feel welcome and comfortable. The following checklist can help you get your training off to a good start:

  1. Welcome

  2. Introductions of training staff

  3. Program background

  4. Goal of workshop
    Sets the tone
    Focuses on the topic

  5. Logistics
    Location of restrooms, refreshments
    Receiving and making telephone calls

  6. Icebreaker
    The icebreaker serves to—
    • Introduce participants to each other.
    • Engage participants in an interactive learning experience.
    • Reduce anxiety through activity.
    • Set the tone for the training session.
    • Give the trainer an opportunity to observe the group's interaction.

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    The choice of icebreaker is important—it can make or break a training session. Most adults have some anxiety when they are in learning situations and that anxiety increases with the level of the unknown. They especially are reluctant to participate in learning activities in which they feel exposed or awkward. The more elaborate the icebreaker, the greater need for instructions.

    The trainer should have at least two alternatives planned if it is a group with which he or she is unfamiliar.

    Considerations include—

    • Time available.
    • Size of the group.
    • The sophistication of the group.
    • The skills and experience of the group.
    • The pre-established relationships in the group.
    • The tone of the presentation—serious or relaxed and casual.

    Some examples of icebreakers:

    • Have participants introduce themselves.

    • Pair off. Have each pair exchange names and reasons for attending the training. Partners will then introduce each other to the group.

    • On arrival, have people write their names and three things about themselves on index cards. Then, the trainer will read the three things aloud and the group has to guess whose card it is.

    • "Getting To Know You." Explain the exercise and give out the handout. Review the instructions and set a time limit between 3 and 5 minutes. The time pressure will help get the group moving. After the exercise, process the experience. Give an appropriate prize (e.g., coffee mug, special sticky notes, logo pen, candy bar) to the trainee with the most answers. If there was confusion over the instructions, use it as a learning experience in listening and giving instructions.

  7. Agenda overview
    Briefly review the plan for the day.

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