Leave for Change Program Offers Opportunity to Volunteer Overseas

March 17, 2008 - Campus Bulletin

The University of Guelph is again sponsoring employees to participate in the Leave for Change program, giving regular full-time staff and faculty an opportunity to volunteer their knowledge and skills overseas during short assignments in developing countries.

A public information session on the program is running March 20 from noon to 1:15 p.m. in Room 103 of the University Centre.

Leave for Change Program is offered through Uniterra, a joint initiative of World University Service of Canada (WUSC) and the Centre for International Studies and Co-operation. Uniterra mobilizes people and organizations in Canada and the developing world to reduce poverty by achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals.

Under the Leave for Change program, Canadian volunteers are assigned overseas for two to three weeks. This allows a limited number of qualified employees from participating organizations to transform their holidays into short international assignments with well-defined tasks and the support of development professionals in the host country, said Martha Harley, assistant vice-president (human resources).

"They contribute their knowledge, technical skills and know-how to an international development project where Uniterra volunteers are usually involved," she said. "Through contributions made by the University, employees selected by Uniterra for the program receive pre-departure training, insurance coverage, vaccinations, airfare, lodging and daily stipends."

Human Resources is sending out information about Leave for Change to regular full-time staff and faculty and inviting applications for a limited number of overseas opportunities that reflect Uniterra's current needs, said Harley.

Uniterra will screen all applications for suitable matches with posted vacancies, interview short- listed candidates and choose participants. Employees selected must attend a weekend-long orientation session in Montreal before leaving for their volunteer assignment in the 2008 summer semester. When they return to Guelph, they will be asked to share their experiences informally with others.

President Alastair Summerlee, chair of WUSC's board of directors said Leave for Change is a win-win program for everyone. It reaches employers like U of G who want to foster global citizenship in their staff. It also provides people of all ages working in various occupations with opportunities to make a difference.

"Leave for Change enables people to share their skills internationally and, on their return, share their learning at their workplace," he said.

For more information about Leave for Change, call Human Resources at Ext. 53374.

University of Guelph
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Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1