Volunteers in Education

Regular one-to-one time with a caring volunteer helps kids shine, inside and outside the classroom.

Volunteers join a community of like-minded Ottawans who want to make a difference in their city by supporting public education. They receive special training, regular check-ins, and other ongoing support from OVIE along the way. Volunteering with us is flexible, and we have a variety of opportunities to fit with your schedule.

To meet the exceptional challenge of the 2020-2021 school year, ONFE is working with the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board to offer virtual volunteering to support its students, teachers, and parents. 


COVID-19 Update


Last school year, from September to March, our Volunteers in Education worked an estimated 1.1 million hours. We cannot allow this essential contribution to K-12 education to pause during this challenging year.  


We are working with administrators and teachers to implement virtual one-on-one tutoring sessions in the classroom, as well as volunteer-led virtual clubs and skill-sharing sessions. In addition to classroom support, we are developing a model to offer tutoring to students and parents who choose the learn-at-home model for this school year.


Help us recruit and train volunteers to help students who need extra support.

About the Program


Approximately 15% of students in every Ottawa classroom have learning challenges, and may be at risk of falling behind their peers in school and becoming part of the 13% of students that do not complete high school. Additionally, many refugees, new Canadians, and Canadians for whom English is an additional language, start school without pre-literacy skill, and/or need additional English language learning support.


Last school year before pandemic closures, we placed 1,259 volunteers in 148 Ottawa schools, for an approximate 1.1 million hours! Our volunteers bring a multi-generational wealth of knowledge and experience from all sectors, range in age from 18 to 90, and speak more than 30 different languages. Together with teachers, they help students build core skills, grasp new concepts, close learning gaps, and develop greater self-confidence.


ONFE’s ability to respond to the immediate and ongoing, complex needs of educators and students is an important piece in removing barriers that inhibit learning. The Ottawa Volunteers in Education program ensures that all youth have the chance to finish school with the tools, knowledge and skills they’ll need to complete their studies and go on to fulfilling careers.

How to become a volunteer

Learn about the process of becoming a volunteer with the Ottawa Volunteers in Education program

ottawa volunteers in education, ottawa network for education, onfe

“…I just want to thank you for this opportunity! I find it a really great break from university stress just being around happy children and playing music like I used to. 🙂 It’s really made me happier and I’m so thankful!”

— Sophie Lo, University Student, OVIE Volunteer

Training for Volunteers

Some helpful links to ensure you have a great volunteer experience. To review all the options, click the button below.

You Can Help Students Succeed

Support us in recruiting, screening, and training volunteers to provide much-needed one-to-one support for students with learning challenges. Your contribution helps us to support volunteers, teachers, and students alike.

Become a Volunteer Today

Working with children and youth is deeply rewarding, and we have many ways for you to get involved!