What Strong Start Provides

The success of our Letters, Sounds and Words program is due in large part to the manner in which it is implemented. The design and delivery model make it possible for volunteers, with 4-hours of training, to be independent in delivering the program successfully. This minimizes the time and effort required of the staff at the school using the program.

The following list highlights some of the key supports we provide to our program partners:

  • program kit consisting of two bins of professionally developed games and activities
  • user-friendly, detailed manuals describing how to play the games / activities
  • 4-hours of training for all volunteers (two, 2-hour training sessions)
  • manuals and training for the Site Co-ordinator at the school, responsible for the program
  • guides to support conducting pre and post-assessments
  • training / support provided to use Strong Start’s proprietary web application (SiTE SOURCETM)
  • Volunteer Information Portal™ (ViP™) for trained Volunteer Coaches to find schools that need them, augment their training and get answers to frequently asked questions
  • volunteer recruitment guide, volunteer recruitment video
  • program overview video
  • online resources available for download (e.g. permission letters, recruitment flyers, etc.)
  • volunteer recognition gifts as well as celebration gifts and certificates for participating children

Responsibility of our Program Partners

Schools using our Letters, Sounds and Words program deliver the program as designed (10-week program, one-to-one coaching, 2-3 strands, one session per week per strand) during the instructional day, using the training, materials, manuals, resources and

instructions provided by Strong Start. Each school designates a Site Co-ordinator who is the main contact person for the program. This person must be a staff member the first time a school operates the program. For subsequent instances of the program, the Site Co-ordinator can continue to be a staff member, but could be an experienced Volunteer Coach who volunteer who has the skills to take on this leadership role. If there is a Volunteer Site Co-ordinator, there is still a need for a staff member to be designated as the Staff Site Co-ordinator to support the Volunteer Site Co-ordinator as needed. It is possible for two people to share the jobs of Site Co-ordinator.

The Site Co-ordinator is responsible for:

  • recruiting, screening and supervising volunteers
  • working with teachers to select children who will participate in the program
  • ensuring permission from parents/legal guardian of children in the program
  • scheduling the Coaching Sessions over the 10 weeks
  • arranging for the administration of pre- and post-assessment of students in the program
  • ensuring volunteer and Honour Roll donor recognition
  • submitting final reports using the SiTE SOURCETM

The Site Co-ordinator receives several support manuals to assist in their role. New Site Co-ordinators are required to complete a 2-hour, online Site Co-ordinator Training that will ensure a successful program implementation at the school. Experienced Site Co-ordinators who wish to refresh their knowledge, are encouraged to sign up for a scheduled training session. For more information about  Site Co-ordinator training, please visit the Site Co-ordinator Training Schedules page.


All the materials needed for the program are provided by Strong Start®Charitable Organization. All non-consumable materials remain the property of Strong Start and must be returned to Strong Start upon request. Materials may not be used for any other purpose except the Letters Sounds and Words program.

Communication with Parents/Legal Guardians and other Professionals

The responsibility for communicating with others (e.g. parents/legal guardians) about the child’s behaviour and skill development in the program remains the responsibility of the appropriate staff members at your school. Volunteers are instructed on the importance of confidentiality and the need to share all information with the designated staff person(s) only.

Ongoing Support

Strong Start staff members are always available to help Site Co-ordinators in their role. You can reach our Support Desk, Monday to Friday 9 am – 5 pm, by calling 519-743-9578.

Questions can also be directed to your Regional Program Co-ordinator by phone or e-mail:

Brant, Haldimand, Norfolk: Corrine Psaila

Bruce Grey: Helen Kelch

Elgin, Middlesex, Oxford: Helen Kelch

Halton: Cindy Desbiens

Hastings Prince Edward Lennox Addington Frontenac: Cindy Desbiens

Simcoe Muskoka: Cindy Desbiens

Waterloo Region: Cindy Desbiens

Wellington: Cindy Desbiens