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Read through the scenario below and answer the questions that follow.

The scenario

Imagine you are the coordinator for a program called Literacy Helpers. This program enlists the help of volunteer workers to provide literacy support for disadvantaged children in the local community. Volunteers read to primary aged children in the family’s homes, twice a week.

This program is designed to foster the children’s love of learning and model child-centred interactions for parents and care givers. The program also aims to promote literacy and encourage early reading habits.

Please note:
● You coordinate a total of 22 volunteers
● All volunteers have access to a mobile phone and laptop computer
● You have a list of all volunteer email addresses
● Volunteers typically work 2-4 hours per day across several days/evenings
● There is no requirement for volunteers to be available outside of their assigned hours
● Literacy helpers pays for any volunteer expenses that occur on the job (such as petrol, car maintenance).
● Volunteers also receive a book-budget that they can use to purchase approved books (these books are owned by Literacy Helpers)

1. Imagine the Literacy Helpers program has changed their policy and they now require all volunteers to complete three hours of training per month. This change is to be implemented next month. You are responsible for informing the volunteers of this policy change.

a) What would be the most efficient way to communicate this information to them?

b) Once you have established this channel of communication how would you ensure it remained a valid and timely way to share information with the volunteers?

c) How would you review this communication process to ensure it remains valid to volunteers?

2. Write a brief email (from you, the program coordinator) to the volunteers that outlines the change in policy described in question 1. (Hint: You need to demonstrate the ability to write clearly and succinctly).

3. Upon receiving your email regarding the requirement for three hours of training per month, one of your volunteers (Julia) calls you (upset) to tell you that she couldn’t possibly fit an extra three hours into her already overloaded schedule.

Julia works full-time in a day care centre and offers over 10 hours per week (in the evenings) to the Literacy Helpers program. She is a valued member of the team and you are eager to keep her happy.

Write down how you would respond to Julia (write the words as though you are speaking) (50 – 100 words).

4. Unfortunately the situation escalates. Julia refuses to complete the training and is threatening to leave the program. Julia is well networked with the rest of the volunteer group and it is likely if she leaves, many others will follow.

Below is the organisation structure of Literacy Helpers:

You think this situation requires the help of a senior member of staff.

a) According to the organisational structure, who should you contact?

b) Write an email to the person you selected in part (a) to ask for assistance in managing Julia’s refusal to do the training. (25 – 100 words)

5. Another volunteer, Valarie has just sent you a detailed email complaining that her literacy partner (Anna, the volunteer who accompanies her on many of her home visits) is taking over the reading sessions. Valerie feels as though she doesn’t get to spend any time with the children, as Anna always leads the reading sessions.

a) Valerie says she no longer wishes to work with Anna. What do you do?

b) You have a duty-of-care regarding Valerie’s complaint. You have escalated the issue to senior management (as per organisational policy) and they are being proactive in their response to Valerie. Do you have to do anything more (in regard to this case) at this stage?

6. As the coordinator for Literacy Helpers, how would you ensure that you maintain communication with your volunteers and placement schools?

7. In the contemporary workplace, social media can be a valuable tool in the process of sharing information and establishing networks.

Social media communication in the workplace, however, needs to be managed effectively so that the boundary between professional and personal is not blurred.

Imagine your organisation adopts similar guidelines to those outlined in Reading 1 Social Media Guidelines. Describe (in your own words) the main principles, you as a worker should be aware of when communicating on social media. (50 – 100 words)

8. Explain how you will establish and maintain professional networks in your work (and provide at least three clear examples of communication strategies you would use) (50 – 100 words).

9. Literacy Helpers has mandatory reporting protocols in place.

These protocols state that disclosures of abuse (or neglect) from children involved in the Literacy Helpers program are to be reported immediately to direct line managers. Then in consultation with their manager, the volunteer will report the case to authorities.

This kind of communication is privileged and confidential. How could volunteers ensure that their communication channels respect the confidentiality required in this situation?

10. What strategies could you use to help you overcome cross cultural communication barriers in the workplace (include at least four).

11. Literacy Helpers is a government funded initiative that must renew its funding application on an annual basis. As part of this process, it is important to document the results and outcomes that have been achieved as a result of the program. Politically, the service will need to justify its ongoing funding.
What outcomes and results do you think will need to be reported to justify the program’s continuation? (Provide at least two.)
Example answer: Increased levels parent (or carer) initiated child-centeredactivities in the home.

12. Funding arrangements are dependent on economic and political factors, as well as program specific outcome measures.

When funding arrangements were announced for the New Year, Literacy Helpers found that they were funded 10% less than the previous year due to economic factors and government priorities.

As the coordinator of the program, management have asked for your recommendations. They want to know how the program can run at a lower cost. What do you suggest? (50 – 100 words)

13. In your work, you will meet colleagues and clients with communication needs that are different to your own.

There are many considerations you need to be mindful of when adapting your communication to meet the needs of different audiences.

What considerations do the Victorian Department of Human Services suggest you keep in mind when working with people with disabilities?

(You may like to review your eBook to assist you with your answer. Please ensure you write your answer in your own words).

(50 – 100 words)

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