Student & Volunteer Portal
This Student and Volunteer Handbook is a summary of AndThenIWasFree’s Human Resources policies, practices, and procedures. Any questions should be directed to the Executive Director.
All AndThenIWasFree volunteers are expected to read, understand, and abide by all policies in this Handbook as a condition of volunteer placement. In the event of a violation, Management will take the appropriate action up to, and including termination of employment for cause.
If you have any ideas or comments on any aspect of this Handbook, please share them with the Executive Director so we can continuously improve AndThenIWasFree as a great place to work.
Vision, Mission, and Core Values
Our Vision: To create a world where everyone lives authentically by sharing our stories, being vulnerable, and creating space for all to be visible.
Our Mission: Through holistic programming, workshops, teachings, education, visibility, we will provide culturally specific resources and support for youth exploring all aspects of their identities.
Our Core Values: The Seven Grandfather Teachings are a set of Indigenous teachings on human conduct towards others. They are moral stepping stones and a cultural foundation of which we apply throughout the work we do. For more information on each Teaching, visit https://www.andtheniwasfree.org/grandfather-teachings.
Creating a Respectful and Inclusive Work Environment
AndThenIWasFree has a zero-tolerance policy for discrimination of any kind.
The Human Rights Code states that every person has a right to equal treatment with respect to employment without discrimination or harassment because of race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, record of offences, marital status, family status or disability.
The right to “equal treatment with respect to employment” covers every aspect of the workplace environment and employment relationship, including job applications, recruitment, training, transfers, promotions, apprenticeship terms, dismissal, and layoffs. It also covers rate of pay, overtime, hours of work, holidays, benefits, shift work, discipline, and performance evaluations.
We strongly support the rights of all our volunteers to work in an environment that is free from all forms of harassment, including harassment on the basis of race, colour, religion, national origin, ancestry, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, age, veteran status, disability, or any other protected characteristic.
Harassment is verbal, physical, or psychological conduct that denigrates or shows hostility toward an individual because of his/her race, colour, religion, national origin, ancestry, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, age, veteran status, disability or any other protected characteristic, and that creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment, unreasonably interferes with an individual's work performance and/or adversely affects an individual's employment opportunities.
Report any violation of this policy immediately to the Executive Director.
AndThenIWasFree has a zero tolerance policy for any form of sexual harassment by volunteers, clients, independent contractors, vendors, or other agents. Sexual harassment of volunteers occurring in the workplace or in other settings in which volunteers may find themselves in connection with their employment is unlawful and will not be tolerated. Further, any retaliation against an individual who has complained about sexual harassment or retaliation against individuals for cooperating with an investigation of a sexual harassment complaint is similarly unlawful and will not be tolerated. To achieve our goal of providing a workplace free from sexual harassment, we have provided a procedure by which inappropriate conduct will be dealt with if encountered by volunteers.
We take allegations of sexual harassment seriously and will respond promptly to complaints of sexual harassment and where it is determined that such inappropriate conduct has occurred, we will take immediate corrective or disciplinary action.
Please note this policy is not designed or intended to limit our authority to discipline or take action for workplace conduct that we believe is unacceptable, regardless of whether that conduct satisfies the definition of sexual harassment.
Sexual harassment is defined as sexual advances, requests for sexual favours, and verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:
Submission to or rejection of such advances, requests, or conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of employment or as a basis for employment decisions such as favourable reviews, salary increases, promotions, increased benefits, or continued employment, regardless of whether the harasser actually carries through with the threats to alter the volunteer’s terms or conditions, or;
Such advances, requests, or conduct have the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance by creating an intimidating, hostile, humiliating, or sexually offensive work environment.
Other sexually oriented conduct, whether it is intended or not, that is unwelcome and has the effect of creating a workplace environment that is hostile, offensive, intimidating, or humiliating to male or female workers may also constitute sexual harassment.
If you believe that you have been subjected to sexual harassment or have reason to suspect it is happening, file a verbal or written complaint with the Executive Director. It is against the law to retaliate against an individual who has complained about sexual harassment or against individuals for cooperating with an investigation of a sexual harassment complaint.
Allegations and complaints will be investigated in a fair and expeditious manner. The investigation will be conducted in such a way as to maintain confidentiality to the extent practicable under the circumstances. If it is determined that inappropriate conduct has occurred, we will promptly take the appropriate action.
Any and all issues related to discrimination or harassment should be brought to the attention of the Executive director immediately.
If you are experiencing other types of conflict with a colleague, you may speak directly to the Executive Director or take the following suggested steps:
Take the time to think about the issue and define it.
Think about what might be causing the problem. What are the potential root causes?
Ask yourself, “What role might I be playing in this issue” and “What could I do or say differently?”
What is the outcome or result you are looking for? What compromises are you willing to make to create a win-win result?
Approach your colleague and set up a time to meet.
Approach the Executive Director for advice if the above does not resolve the situation in a constructive way.
If you are experiencing problems with the Executive Director, please speak with the Founder who will work with you to resolve the issue.
Open Door Philosophy
At AndThenIWasFree, there are no closed minds behind our open door philosophy because we recognize management doesn’t always have all the answers or solutions. If you have ideas or recommendations on how to make things better, speak to the Executive Director. If you have specific concerns or issues about any aspect of your job, let the Executive Director know right away.
Student Placements and Volunteer Classifications
Students Placements - temporary placements, based on the requirements of the school, who work for a limited time period on a specific project, either full or part-time.
Volunteers - work either full or part-time for a minimum of 6-month commitment.
IT Information Storage and Security
AndThenIWasFree Social Media – Photographs or video of AndThenIWasFree’s office, volunteers, and events may be taken and posted by Management. If you prefer not to be photographed, please speak with the Executive Director. Only designated staff will have access to post on AndThenIWasFree’s social media accounts.
To meet provincial legislative requirements, we need to maintain current information on every volunteer for business and reporting-related purposes. Each volunteer has their own separate file which contains various records and personal facts about their engagement with AndThenIWasFree. Items might include emergency contact information, signed Volunteer Agreement, performance-related documentation, resume, etc.
No one, except the Executive Director, has access to these files which are kept in a secure digital folder. If at any time you would like to discuss the contents of your file, just let the Executive Director know and we will arrange it.
Let us know right away of any important changes in your life such as emergency contact information, new address, etc. so we can ensure our business records are always up to date.
Any requests for references or information about current/former volunteers must be directed to the Executive Director for confidentiality and privacy reasons.
We want you to enjoy working at AndThenIWasFree. If at any time you feel overloaded or unable to have reasonable volunteer/work/life balance, let us know so we can collaborate to find a solution. Your overall well-being is important to us.
Virtual Office and Remote Work
AndThenIWasFree currently functions as a virtual office with all volunteers working remotely. While working remotely, volunteers must adhere to all the conditions in the Student and Volunteer Handbook. All company policies continue to apply, regardless of location. Disciplinary actions will follow policy transgressions of any kind.
Hours of Work
We understand that different people work in different ways. Therefore, AndThenIWasFree operates on flex hours with no set schedule. Meetings will be scheduled, as much as possible, during the week between 10am and 7pm, however, there may be instances where evening or weekend meetings will be scheduled. Availability will be confirmed prior to scheduling.
Social media can be a powerful marketing, networking, and communication tool, but improper use can damage and sometimes destroy an individual’s or company’s reputation/brand. As a company, we need to protect our intellectual property, client information, proprietary designs, our volunteers, and their ideas.
We need everyone to make responsible choices and decisions about the professional or personal use of social media. This is not intended in any way to interfere with your ability to communicate openly and honestly about your employment with AndThenIWasFree.
Below is a sample list of what we consider to be an inappropriate, unprofessional, or irresponsible use of any form of social media including emails:
Intentional or unintentional disclosure or showcasing of our ideas, intellectual property, etc. without prior consent or approval;
Reproduction of any work created for personal use, sale or advertisement;
Negative comments or false information about our competitors, customers, suppliers, vendors, partners, employees, and volunteers;
Displaying dishonest or false information about our company, owner, leadership, team, etc.;
Expressing your personal opinion or point of view which can be construed by association as a statement or conclusion of AndThenIWasFree;
Electronic bullying, discrimination, harassment, or retaliation which is against the law;
Using your company email address to access or register on social networking sites or blogs for personal use on either public sites or those requiring a password, and;
Using AndThenIWasFree’s name to endorse a product, organization, political candidate, or cause.
This is a mission-critical policy for our organization, so any violations could lead to dismissal.
Media / Public Relations / Contact from External Organizations
Our goal is to maintain a professional, consistent brand in the marketplace and online.
If you are contacted by an external source for the purposes of a paid or unpaid public appearance about AndThenIWasFree or the role you perform, at a conference, speaking engagement, teaching role, interview, article quote, etc. please do not engage in a conversation and immediately refer the individual to the Executive Director who is our Public/Media Relations representative.
Do not divulge or share any information about our team, ideas, programs, designs, and/or work in progress to anyone, at any time, through any platform, without prior consent from the Executive Director.
We want to remind all volunteers of the specific clauses in AndThenIWasFree's confidentiality policy. As a general rule of thumb, do not disclose or use any information about our clients, strategy, programs, design, and intellectual property for any reason, without the Executive Director’s prior approval. This section of your agreement remains in effect even when you are no longer an AndThenIWasFree volunteer.
Volunteers who leave AndThenIWasFree are prohibited from directly or indirectly soliciting customers, suppliers, employees, or volunteers if it is related to an organization that competes with AndThenIWasFree. This includes starting or joining a business that competes directly with AndThenIWasFree.
Alcohol, Drugs, and Substances
AndThenIWasFree strictly enforces the absence of alcohol and drugs while working, and promotes an environment of sobriety. It is critical that volunteers are not in an impaired or altered state while working with their colleagues or delivering services to our clients. This includes being under the influence of alcohol or any drug (including marijuana prescribed for medical purposes) that can have an adverse effect on a volunteer’s behaviour and/or physical or mental ability.
Being under the influence while representing AndThenIWasFree is strictly prohibited. Violations will result in disciplinary action up to and including dismissal.
Volunteers may benefit from AndThenIWasFree’s addiction programming, and we encourage participation. If you are struggling with addiction, we can provide additional resources.
Volunteer Job Descriptions
Job descriptions are created for most positions and will continue to evolve as we grow. Job Descriptions are reviewed annually as part of the performance review process to ensure they are current and accurately reflect the responsibilities as well as key skills for the position.
We believe performance is a “shared accountability” and that every volunteer can achieve great heights in their area of expertise. To help you grow, continuously build your toolkit, and improve your performance, we have implemented a number of initiatives to ensure you receive honest, timely, and constructive feedback.
During the performance discussions, you and the Executive Director will discuss expectations, your strengths, your performance against the goals set, and the core values observed in action. Together, agree on how you can take your performance to the next level and what you need from AndThenIWasFree in terms of support or resources.
These are important discussions that also provide an opportunity to discuss your potential for increased responsibilities, promotions, or stretch assignments. You can initiate a performance-related discussion at any time to discuss your achievements or challenges.
Should your performance, workplace behaviours, conduct, or demeanor become unacceptable in AndThenIWasFree’s judgment, based on either violation of the policies contained in this Handbook or any other reason at AndThenIWasFree’s discretion, you will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal.
Sometimes volunteer relationships just don’t work out despite our best intentions and efforts. If you decide to end your work with AndThenIWasFree, please return all company property in good working order by your last day.
Volunteers leaving AndThenIWasFree are asked to keep in mind specific clauses within your signed Volunteer Agreement including Confidential Information, Intellectual Property, and Non-Solicitation, which clarify your obligations after you leave AndThenIWasFree.
Continuous Improvement Meeting
We might ask you to participate in a “continuous improvement” meeting with the Executive Director to share your ideas and insights regarding your volunteer experience. This is done in the spirit of making AndThenIWasFree a better place to work. We appreciate you taking the time and thank you in advance for your suggestions and ideas.
For any questions regarding this Student and Volunteer Handbook, please speak with the Executive Director.