Children's National Volunteer Program
The Children’s National Volunteer Program is the primary program of the Volunteer Services Department. All Children’s National volunteers commit to one regular volunteer assignment based on interest, availability and need. The minimum time commitment for all assignments will be once per week for one year. Shifts will range from 2-4 hours, depending on the specific volunteer assignment. All assignments in this program take place at the main hospital on Michigan Avenue NW.
Children’s National Volunteers are required to undergo our comprehensive FUNdamental Volunteer training prior to beginning their official volunteer assignment. Through this training, volunteers will gain experience and skills contributing to a well-rounded and knowledgeable Children’s National Volunteer. FUNdamental Volunteering consists of 5-10 two-hour weekly sessions to be conducted during the volunteer’s regular volunteer shift time.
Hospitality volunteers are directly supervised by Volunteer Services Coordinators, and provide hospitality-based support in several areas of the hospital, including outpatient clinics, the Emergency Department, inpatient units and the Volunteer Services office. Weekly duties include:
- Greeting visitors at our welcome desk
- Assisting families and visitors with wayfinding
- Delivering flowers, packages, toys, and clothing
- Rounding with the hospitality cart on inpatient units
- Rounding with the caregiver coffee cart in outpatient areas
- Rounding in atrium and family waiting rooms
- Rounding up wagons and wheelchairs
- Providing administrative and organizational support
Hospitality volunteers must be 15 and older and commit to a regular weekly shift of two hours.
Seacrest Studios volunteers are directly supervised by the Seacrest Studios Media Specialists. These volunteers will help spread joy to patients by assisting with studio programming, special events, and more. Duties include:
- Assisting with collecting bingo prizes, calling bingo games, and distributing bingo prizes to patients
- Assisting with celebrity visits and other special events
- Assisting Seacrest Studios staff with additional programmatic or administrative duties
Seacrest Studios volunteers must be 18 and older and commit to a regular weekly shift of three hours.
Volunteer tutors are directly supervised by the hospital’s Education Specialists. Volunteers assist patients with academics/schoolwork and offer educational enrichment opportunities for kids of all ages. Duties include:
- Assisting patients with school assignments
- Providing enrichment activities to patients
- Assisting patients at bedside to log in to virtual learning platforms
- Providing a brief summary/report of each session to program supervisors
- Assisting Education Specialist staff with additional programmatic or administrative duties
Volunteer tutors must be 18 and older and commit to a regular weekly shift of two to three hours.
Canine Courier volunteers are directly supervised by the Animal Visitation program coordinator. Duties include:
- Assisting and escorting pet visitation teams to outpatient and inpatient areas
- Remaining with the pet visitation team for the duration of their volunteer shift
- Assisting with additional programs and special events
Canine Couriers must be 18 and older and commit to a regular weekly shift of two hours.
Unit Based volunteers are assigned to one specific unit/department at the hospital, and report directly to the Child Life Specialist(s) and nursing staff on their assigned unit. Weekly duties include:
- Visiting with patients and engaging in play activities at the bedside
- Escorting patients to events (Seacrest Studios, Healing Garden, playrooms)
- Cleaning and organizing playroom toys
- Restocking unit clothing closets
Unit based volunteers must be 18 and older and commit to a regular weekly shift of two hours for at least one year. If a unit based volunteer would like to increase their shift to three hours, they can assist with hospitality support for this additional hour of service.
*Volunteers currently in school to pursue a career in Child Life may be eligible to increase their weekly shift to four hours. If you are interested in learning more about other Child Life Training Programs, please visit our main Child Life Services webpage.
Healing Garden volunteers are directly supervised by the Activity Coordinators who manage all Healing Garden activities and events. Volunteers will assist with programmatic, administrative and special events in the outdoor Healing Garden, playrooms and other identified program spaces. Duties include:
- Assisting with craft and activity tables for programs and events
- Assisting with registration and/or refreshment tables for programs and events
- Playing Dr. Bear or Dr. Bear’s handler at events
- Performing as costume characters for events
- Providing support for playroom activities hosted by the Healing Garden
- Assisting Activity Coordinators with additional programmatic or administrative duties
Healing Garden Volunteers must be 15 and older and commit to a regular weekly shift of two to three hours.
Family Resource Center
Resource Center volunteers are directly supervised by the Family Library & Resource Center Coordinator. Duties include:
- Maintaining the library space and ensure it is a clean, welcoming space for patients and families
- Interacting with patients, families and visitors in the Family Resource Center in a friendly and professional manner
- Assisting with special events, activities and projects
- Reading to patients at bedside (Bedside Readers only)
- Running the Book Cart in outpatient and inpatient areas
- Assisting Family Resource Center staff with additional programmatic or administrative duties
Family Resource Center volunteers must be 15 and older and commit to a regular weekly shift of two hours.
What are the current openings?
There are currently no open volunteer positions in the Children’s National Volunteer Program. We will resume recruitment for this program in early 2024.
What are the onboarding requirements?
All incoming Children’s National Volunteers are required to complete:
- Online application
- Professional reference
- Interview with a member of the Child Life & Integrative Care Services Team
- Online background check
- Medical clearance through Occupational Health (including COVID vaccination)
- Annual flu shot
- Online orientations and trainings
- Onsite training
Expectations and Commitment
What is the time commitment?
- The minimum time commitment for all Children’s National Volunteer assignments is once per week for one year. Volunteer shifts will range from 2-4 hours, depending on the specific volunteer assignment.
- All Children’s National Volunteers are required to undergo our comprehensive FUNdamental Volunteer training prior to beginning their official volunteer assignment. Through this training, volunteers will gain experience contributing to a well-rounded and knowledgeable Children’s National volunteer. FUNdamental Volunteering consists of 5-10 two-hour weekly sessions to be conducted during regular volunteer shifts.
What are the physical demands?
- This position requires standing and/or sitting.
- This position may include pushing an activity or book cart for at least one hour at a time.
- This position may include pushing a wheelchair with a patient that weighs up to 100 lbs.
- This position may include holding an infant/toddler for an extended period of time.
- This position may include lifting donated items that may weigh at least 10 lbs. such as toys, stuffed animals, games, and books, as well as transporting items to various areas on carts.
- Reasonable accommodations will be considered for qualified applicants with disabilities.
What are the expectations of a volunteer?
Our volunteers represent Children's National Hospital, and we hold high expectations for our volunteers to ensure that our patients and families have the best hospital experience possible. As a Children’s National Volunteer, you will be expected to:
- Learn and exercise hospital safety and behavior conduct guidelines
- Protect patient identity and privacy
- Dress appropriately and according to hospital guidelines
- Engage in age-appropriate play and interactions with patients
- Work with patients of all ages, backgrounds and developmental abilities
- Be a source of information about the hospital for patients and their families
- Be a source of fun and comfort for patients and their families
Volunteers do not perform medical procedures of any kind or receive information regarding the medical diagnosis, treatment or prognosis of any patient. This program does not provide the opportunity to shadow physicians, nurses or other healthcare providers.