Volunteer

It takes only a small amount of time to make a big difference in a child's life. Children’s National volunteers serve in a variety of ways to assist patients and family members during their hospital visit. Whether it be spending time playing at a patient’s bedside, delivering flowers, sorting donations, filing paperwork, or helping people find their way around the hospital, our volunteers play a critical role in setting the standards of excellence in a healthcare setting.

Our volunteer program also manages Dr. Bear’s Closet, full of donated toys, games, books, and personal care items for children and their families. Donating to Dr. Bear’s Closet is a great way to give back and make a lasting impact on a child’s visit to the hospital.

There’s no better feeling than knowing that you have helped ease what can be a trying time for patients and their families. Please take a look at our opportunities below, along with the program-specific commitments, to see what might be the best fit for you!

Help Us Help Children


Gift Amount:
Patient Care Volunteer Program

Patient Care Volunteer Program

(ages 18 and older)

Application

Thank you for your interest in the Patient Care Volunteer Program. Unfortunately, we are not currently recruiting. Please check back with us in mid August for more information.

Orientation / Training

Orientation dates will be provided on the online application — please make note of the three orientation dates and attend one orientation that works best for you. We will not send a reminder email prior to the orientation.

During the hour-long orientation, we will go over the specifics of the Patient Care program. Immediately following the orientation, we will hold interviews for prospective volunteers.

Once the application process is complete, selected volunteers will be required to attend a two-day weekend training session. This training will go into the specifics about volunteer/patient/staff interactions, what to expect while volunteering, and hospital safety and security. Additionally, new volunteers will tour the hospital. Following the training's completion, new volunteers will sign up to shadow current volunteers on at least two occasions. New volunteers must complete all of these requirements before volunteering on the units alone.

After you have completed all requirements, you will be assigned to a particular unit by a Volunteer Team Leader. Assignments are selected based on your interests and where help is needed.

Responsibilities

The Patient Care program can be as enriching for those who donate their time as it can be for the children. Volunteering in the hospital is an experience like no other. Patient Care Volunteers spend time with children or young adults on our inpatient units, in the Emergency Department, and in our outpatient clinics. No visit is ever the same. Volunteers may play games with patients, such as Uno, or help out with other various activities including puzzles, arts and crafts, reading, blowing bubbles, etc. TVs in patient rooms are equipped with internet access, a full library of movies, and even video games that can be played with the patient. Ultimately, the activities are dependent on the patient's age, abilities, and interests. By participating in these activities, not only are you making their hospital stay more enjoyable, but you may also be allowing time for a family member to get a much needed coffee break or lunch without feeling guilty about leaving their child alone.

Commitment

Patient Care Volunteers are asked to make at least a one-year, 100-hour commitment. Volunteers generally work between two and four hours each week and typically come in around the same time each week to ensure that the hospital has coverage over the course of each day. With that said, we understand that you take vacations, have special events to attend, come down with the occasional illness, etc. For consistency on our inpatient units, we ask that you be present for the entire year of your service — if you travel regularly or leave the area for the summer or winter, please wait to apply until you know that you'll be in the DC region for an entire year.

Additional Expectations

Our Patient Care Volunteers represent Children's National Health System, and we hold high expectations for our volunteers to ensure that our patients and families have the best hospital experience possible. As a Patient Care Volunteer, you will be expected to:

  • Comply with all medical and background check requirements
  • Attend all required orientations, trainings, hospital tours, and shadowing sessions
  • 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

Please note that Patient Care Volunteers do not perform medical procedures of any kind or receive information regarding the medical diagnosis, treatment, or prognosis of any patient.

Locations

This program takes place exclusively at the main hospital off of Michigan Avenue NW in Washington, DC. We do not have opportunities for this program at any of our extended campus locations.

Recruitment

We recruit for this program three times a year.

I Can Help Ambassador Program

I Can Help Ambassador Program

(ages 15 and older)

Application

The I Can Help Ambassador program is now accepting applications. Please click here to apply now. Thanks for your interest!

Orientation / Training

Orientation dates will be provided on the online application — please make sure to write down the three orientation dates and attend one orientation that works best for you. We will not send a reminder email prior to the orientation.

During the 30-minute orientation, we will go over the specifics of the I Can Help Ambassador program. Immediately following the orientation, we will hold interviews for prospective volunteers.

Once the application process is complete, selected volunteers will be required to attend a three hour training. This training will go into specifics about volunteer/patient/staff interactions, what to expect while volunteering, and hospital safety and security.

Responsibilities

I Can Help Ambassadors are specially trained to provide world-class customer service to the patients, families, and visitors at Children's National Health System. Ambassadors are a group of enthusiastic, dedicated and team-oriented volunteers who are committed to providing a warm and welcoming environment to everyone who comes through the hospital doors. These volunteers help make the often anxiety-filled hospital experience a little easier for patients and their families.

I Can Help Ambassadors provide play activities to patients in waiting areas, deliver flowers and gifts, assist at the Welcome Desks, help people find their way around the hospital, and assist with administrative tasks in the Volunteer Services office and other departments.

Commitment

I Can Help Ambassadors are asked to make at least a six-month, 35-hour commitment. Volunteers generally work between two and four hours, three or four times a month, and are typically assigned to agreed-upon weekly or monthly time-slots.

Additional Expectations

Our I Can Help Ambassadors represent Children's National Health System, and we hold high expectations for our volunteers to ensure that our patients and families have the best hospital experience possible. As an I Can Help Ambassador, you will be expected to:

  • Comply with all medical and background check requirements
  • Attend all required orientations, trainings, hospital tours, and shadowing sessions
  • Learn and exercise hospital safety and behavior conduct guidelines
  • Protect patient identity and privacy
  • Dress appropriately and according to hospital guidelines
  • Provide age-appropriate toys to patients and siblings
  • 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

Please note that this program does not provide the opportunity to shadow physicians, nurses, or other healthcare providers.

Locations

This program takes place at the main hospital off of Michigan Avenue NW in Washington, DC.

Recruitment

We recruit for this program two times a year.

Summer High School Volunteer Program

Summer High School Volunteer Program

(ages 15 to 18, must be returning to high school)

Application

Thank you for your interest, however we’re not currently recruiting for this program — please check back for our online application after March 1, 2016. Application slots fill up quickly, so the applications are not typically available for more than two to three weeks.

Orientation / Training

Orientation dates will be provided on the online application — please make sure to write down the three orientation dates and attend the orientation that works best for you. We will not send a reminder email prior to the orientation.

During the hour-long orientation, we will go over the specifics of the Summer High School program. Immediately following the orientation, we will hold interviews for prospective volunteers.

Once the application process is complete, selected volunteers will be required to attend a five hour training. This training will go into the specifics about volunteer/patient/staff interactions, what to expect while volunteering, and hospital safety and security.

Responsibilities

The Summer High School Program is a fantastic experience for DC area high school students who are looking to help out in a hospital setting.

Summer Volunteers help out throughout the hospital. They are specially trained to provide world-class customer service to the patients, families, and visitors at Children’s National Health System. This is a group of enthusiastic, dedicated, and team-oriented volunteers who are committed to providing a warm and welcoming environment to everyone who comes through the hospital doors. These volunteers help make the often anxiety-filled hospital experience a little easier for patients and their families.

Summer High School Volunteers provide play activities to patients in waiting areas, assist at the Welcome Desks, sort and process donations, help people find their way around the hospital, and assist with administrative tasks in the Volunteer Services office and other departments.

Commitment

The Summer High School Program is an 8-week program, with a minimum commitment of 75 hours. Volunteers work three to five times during the week, Monday through Friday, from 10am and 3pm.

Additional Expectations

Our High School Volunteers represent Children’s National Health System, and we hold high expectations for our volunteers to ensure that our patients and families have the best hospital experience possible. As a High School Volunteer, you will be expected to:

  • Comply with all medical and background check requirements
  • Attend all required orientations, trainings, and hospital tours
  • 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

Please note that this program does not provide the opportunity to shadow physicians, nurses, or other healthcare providers.

Locations

This program takes place exclusively at the main hospital off of Michigan Avenue NW. We do not have opportunities for this program at any of our extended campus locations.

Recruitment

We recruit for this program once a year. The application is available each year at the beginning of March.

Volunteering as a Group

Volunteering as a Group

(ages 18 and older)

Companies with more than 100 employees: Please contact Mary Delaney at mardelan@childrensnational.org

University Groups: Please contact Tracy Flack at tflack@childrensnational.org.

Non-profits, community groups, and companies with less than 100 people: Volunteer Services works with smaller community partners to provide opportunities for groups to host a patient play date, sponsor a dinner for families in the hospital, and visit our inpatient units with toys and goodies! We work with a wide range of groups to host these events, including local businesses, religious groups, non-profits, and other organizations.

Note: We do not schedule group events between Thanksgiving and the first week in January. During flu season, we might also have restrictions on our ability to schedule events. For all events, we recommend scheduling at least a month in advance, and groups can visit no more than two times per year.

In order to qualify for these events, all donations must be made to Dr. Bear’s Toy Closet, and we must receive donations two weeks prior to the event. Donations can be dropped off in the Volunteer Services office, or mailed to Children’s National, Attn: Volunteer Services Group Event (Suite 1180), 111 Michigan Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20010. Please see the guidelines below for more information and review our donation guidelines for details about in-kind donation requirements and dropping off donations.

Host a Patient Play Date

Please note: Our Main Atrium is currently under construction, and we are not able to host patient play dates at this time. Construction will end in the fall and we will resume play dates at that time. Thank you!

Details: Patient Play Dates involve arts and crafts activities, karaoke, game days, carnivals, or movie showings for patients from our outpatient clinics, inpatient units, and their siblings. Community partners are responsible for providing the materials for these events, and we encourage groups to find materials and activities that are engaging and are different and unique from what the patients might be able to do at home or when in their hospital rooms. We typically expect between 30 and 50 children for daytime events and 5 to 20 children for evening and weekend events. We ask that you prepare materials for 40 to 50 children for all events, and any additional materials will be donated to Dr. Bear’s Closet. Please include activities for kids of all ages (toddlers to adolescents).

Monetary or In-Kind Donation Requirement: $2,500 total (at least $500 in monetary donations or gift cards and $2,000 in in-kind donations, including all of the art supplies for the event)

In-kind and monetary donations must be delivered to the hospital two weeks prior to the event; however, art supplies for an event should be listed in detail on the request form and brought in on the day of the event.

Required number of participants: A minimum of eight individuals and maximum of fifteen individuals from your group

Length of event: Two-hour events can be scheduled Tuesdays or Wednesdays from 10am and 12pm, or 5:30pm to 7:30pm, and on weekends between 1pm and 3pm.

Scheduling an event: With our Main Atrium currently under construction, we are not able to accept patient play date applications at this time. Construction will end in the fall and we will resume play dates at that time.

Sponsor a Meal

Details: Sponsoring a meal allows groups or organizations to serve a meal to families from on an inpatient unit selected by the Volunteer Services team. Group must provide meal and drinks for 50 people, plates, utensils, and gloves. Food must come from a commercial kitchen (receipt required) – we cannot accept any homemade food. Please consider providing healthy options, including some vegan/vegetarian dishes and gluten-free options. Food must be nut-free.

Monetary or In-Kind Donation Requirement: $2,500 total (at least $500 in monetary donations or gift cards and $2,000 in in-kind donations, including the meal for up to 50 individuals)

In-kind and monetary donations should be delivered to the hospital two weeks prior to the event; however, food for the event should be listed in detail on the request form and brought in on the day of the event.

Required number of participants: A minimum of six individuals and maximum of eight individuals from your group

Length of event: Two-hour events can be scheduled on Thursdays during lunch or dinner hours.

Scheduling an event: If you’d like to schedule an event, please complete the Sponsor a Meal request form and return to VolunteerServices@childrensnational.org (please type “Sponsor a Meal” in the subject line).

Round on Inpatient Units

Details: Rounding on inpatient units is a unique opportunity for groups to engage with patients at the bedside. Our Volunteer Services team would work with the group to stock the toy cart and visit the inpatient units to give toys to patients and their siblings. The unit(s) will be selected by the Volunteer Services team.

Monetary or In-Kind Donation Requirement: $7,000, total (at least $2,000 in monetary donations or gift cards and $5,000 in in-kind donations, including at least 200 toys for different ages and genders, to ensure that we’ll have a variety of options for all patients during the event)

Required number of participants: A minimum of three and maximum of ten individuals from your group

Length of event: Two-hour events can be scheduled Monday through Friday between 10am and 3pm or 5:30pm to 7:30pm, and on weekends (Saturday and Sunday) between 11am and 3pm.

Scheduling an event: If you’d like to schedule an event, please complete the Round on Inpatient Units request form and return to VolunteerServices@childrensnational.org (please type “Round on Inpatient Units” in the subject line).

Thank you for thinking of our kids. We look forward to working with your group!

Dr Bear's Closet Donation Drives

Dr Bear's Closet Donation Drives

Donations

Children's National accepts books, toys, clothing, gift cards, and other non-medical items for our Dr. Bear's Closet. These donations are given to patients and family members during their hospital visit to provide comfort, offer distractions, and to normalize the hospital setting. The toys make a big difference to the thousands of patients who come through our outpatient clinics, inpatient units, Emergency Department, and Regional Outpatient Centers. Donated toys also allow us to stock our playrooms and provide gifts for birthdays and holidays.

Donation drives are a great way for students or adults to work alone or with their school/community to raise money or in-kind donations that directly support the patients at Children’s National.

Below you can find a list of our most commonly needed items, along with instructions for dropping off donations. Please note that our highest needs are for infants (ages 0-2) and adolescents and young adults (ages 13 and older).

Immediate Needs (all items need to be brand new and seasonally appropriate)

  • Art and craft kits for all ages, including teenagers
  • Crayons
  • Comfortable clothing for all ages (especially underwear and pants with elastic waists)
  • Monetary donations to run an off-site apartment (giving.childrensnational.org/drbearscloset)
  • Gift cards (especially for grocery stores, Target, area hotels, gas stations, and American Express/Visa)
  • Infant toys (especially toys that light up or make noise)
  • Lego sets for all ages
  • Plastic crib mobiles/soothers
  • Small stuffed animals
  • Uno cards

Ongoing Needs (all items need to be brand new and in-season)

  • AA Batteries
  • Android and iPhone 4 and 5 chargers
  • Baby dolls
  • Barbies
  • Blankets
  • Board games
  • Books
  • Bubbles
  • Coloring books, journals, sketch pads, and word searches
  • Event tickets (e.g. sporting event, concert, or performance tickets)
  • Gimp / lanyard
  • iPads or iPad minis
  • Matchbox cars
  • Personal care kits (i.e. toothbrush, toothpaste, travel size shampoo, conditioner, lotion, deodorant, etc.)
  • Portable DVD players and teen movies
  • Stickers
  • Stuffed animals
  • Regular playing cards
  • Video game systems, controllers, and video games (especially X-Box, Wii, and hand-held video games)

Items that we cannot accept

  • Beanie babies
  • Breakable items, porcelain, glass, handmade wooden toys, or collectable items
  • Food/candy/formula
  • Get-well cards (cards must be void of religious, political, and violent content and should avoid terms like get well or feel better — instead use terms like “Sending you Smiles” or “You Rock”)
  • Items that are gift-wrapped (all items need to be checked for appropriateness before giving to a patient)
  • Items that have been exposed to smoke or other strong scents
  • Latex balloons or anything containing latex
  • Medical equipment
  • Play-Dough
  • Stuffed toys more than 18 inches tall
  • Toys, books, or movies with sensitive issues (e.g. violence, politics, holidays, religion, death, divorce, weapons, etc.)
  • Used items

Monetary Donations

Children’s Volunteer Services team accepts monetary donations that are used for unexpected needs for patients and families that are not a part of the operational budget, including clothing, blankets, hotel stays, support of an apartment for out-of-town families (Dr. Bear’s Den), parking vouchers, transportation to and from the hospital, and additional items for Dr. Bear’s Closet when needed.

Please make checks payable to “Children’s National Health System/Dr. Bear’s Closet,” or donate online at giving.childrensnational.org/drbearscloset.

Online Donations

Donate through our online wish list at childsplaycharity.org. This website has a direct link to our online Amazon.com wish list under the “Donate” tab. You can also search for Child’s Play Charity — DC under “Find someone’s Wish List” on Amazon.com.

Drop-Off Location and Hours

Items that fit the criteria above can be dropped off or mailed to the Volunteer Services office at 111 Michigan Avenue NW, Suite 1180, Washington, DC 20010. Drop-off hours are from 10am to 12pm and 3 to 6pm, Monday through Friday, and 11am to 3pm on the weekends. Please pull into our drop off zone in our parking garage — you are safe to leave your car parked and locked in this area while you bring your items to the Volunteer Services office on the first floor. Unfortunately, we do not have the staff available to pick up donations. For confidentiality and infection control purposes, donors are not able to deliver gifts directly to patients.

You will receive a delivery confirmation slip at the time of delivery and a thank you letter in the mail.

Thanks in advance for your donation!