Community Volunteers Deliver Critical Support to Children

Project Sunshine volunteers deliver play and activities to children in need of socialization and human connection to help them cope while they are dealing with medical challenges. Play allows children to learn, explore, and it enables them to heal. (According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, play is one of the most effective methods of reducing stress in kids!)

New Volunteer Opportunities during the Pandemic

In March 2020 our in-person volunteer activities were halted. But we were committed to deliver our mission, so we piloted and launched a new program: TelePlay. TelePlay connects small groups of children with trained volunteers over a HIPAA-compliant Zoom platform where they play games and activities designed by behavioral health professionals.

About Community Volunteers

Through volunteering, individuals provide critical support to pediatric patients and their families, give back to the communities where they live and work, broaden their personal networks, and connect with other compassionate volunteers.

Community volunteers belong to local chapters. Community chapters are comprised of passionate individuals, 18 years and older, who are interested in community service and dedicated to Project Sunshine’s mission.

The Process for Becoming a Community Volunteer

We are committed to making the training accessible and time manageable to you, our volunteers, while also ensuring that you are well-prepared to engage with an important and vulnerable population. Here is what to expect from our volunteer application process:.

  1.  Complete online application below*
  2.  Participate in a scheduled training (offered twice a month, until training capacity is reached)
  3.  Participate in a minimum of two practice sessions
  4.  Complete and pass a background check

* There is a waitlist to volunteer with the New York City and Philadelphia Chapters. We encourage individuals to complete our application so they can be alerted when spots open up. Thank you.

For over 20 years, Project Sunshine served children during hospitals stays. Now, for the first time, we are building direct relationships with children and families to deliver services. As we do this outreach, we will be slowly expanding the TelePlay program, and we anticipate increasing participation with both children, and community volunteers over the coming year.

It may take some time between completing your training and participating in your first, live TelePlay session. However, we would like to invite you to join us in building this innovative program! If there is delay after you complete your training and practice sessions, we invite you to serve as an ambassador to let families know about TelePlay as a free resource.  You’ll receive our outreach materials after you complete the training.

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FAQs

How do I sign up?

Check here to see if we have a chapter in your area and click here to apply.

What if there isn't a chapter in my area?

You can apply to start your own chapter – contact us for more information with the subject line “new chapter request.” Sometimes we have a waitlist. We appreciate your interest and patience!

Is there a minimum time commitment?

If you are starting your own chapter, we ask for one-year commitment, otherwise volunteering with Project Sunshine is flexible. Frequency requirements vary per chapter.

Will you train me?

You got it! All of Project Sunshine’s volunteers are trained by staff or trained Chapter Leaders.

What if I'm not 18 years old yet?

Please visit our Kids for Kids page to find out more about youth service.

Can you be affiliated with both a College and Community Chapter?

Yes, Project Sunshine can affiliate you with both your current College Chapter and your local Community Chapter which is grouped by regional location.

How do I become a Community Chapter Leader?

You can become a Chapter Leader by submitting an application on our website https://projectsunshine.org/community-volunteer-application/ and then email us at community@projectsunshine.org to organize a Zoom Conference “interview” with our Volunteer Enagagement Team.

How long does the Chapter Leader process take?

Chapter Leaders serve a minimum one-year term and it can take up to a month for them  to complete training in both TelePlay procedures and In-Hospital safety. As a Chapter Leader you will learn how to use programs like Microsoft Office Suite, Salesforce, Zoom, Calendar Anything, and more.

Following Activation how long until I hear from my Chapter Leader?

Regular volunteers will apply and attend a “New Volunteer Training” that includes Teleplay instructions. Depending on the Chapter and the active involvement of the Chapter Leader(s), they will typically reach out following their Chapter Leader training and practice sessions.

How long are program sessions?

Teleplay Program sessions can be anywhere between 45-60 minutes. They are hosted by the Chapter Leaders who send out registration links for volunteers to sign up and assist in our HIPAA compliant Zoom Platforms. Volunteers and Chapter Leaders can also assist in furthering patient outreach and Project Sunshine values by recruiting, posting, sharing, commenting, and liking, via social media and personal networks.

When are program sessions scheduled?

Teleplay Program sessions can be scheduled any day of the week including weekends. They can also be held at any time depending on your USA location. Our National Calendar can be changed and viewed in any preferred time zone. Speak to your local Chapter Leaders about choosing times that fit both of your schedules. https://projectsunshine.secure.force.com/?calendar=Teleplay_National_Programs&uc=y

What types of Programs are there?

There are programs and activities for all patients of all ages. From Trivia, to Bingo, we have games that engage all audiences and their families. Resources are provided.

How many volunteers per session?

We have capped the number of regular volunteers per session to 4 including the Chapter Leaders. This means that there is a limited amount of regular volunteers per session, but do not worry as there are many sessions being held each week.

Is there a minimum requirement of hours committed per month?

As a regular volunteer, there is no minimum amount of hours required to be an ACTIVE member. You can be as involved as you want, however, Project Sunshine asks that you participate in a Teleplay session at least once a month or bi-monthly.

Can Project Sunshine verify volunteer hours?

Yes we can. Please email community@projectsunshine.org or college@projectsunshine.org depending on which department you need your hours confirmed by.

Do regular volunteers need a background check?

Project Sunshine does not require regular volunteers to undergo a background check unless they are in the process of becoming a Chapter Leader. If you are a regular volunteer with a chapter that has a hospital partner who requires all volunteers to undergo a background check then you will need to follow your specific hospital’s instructions.

I am a New Volunteer, do I need to sign up for training?

Yes, following the submission of your application you will be prompted to sign up for a New Volunteer Training which can last 45-60 minutes. Following the training, you will take a short 10 question quiz and then once you are activated you will wait for your Chapter Leaders to reach out to you about when they are scheduling Teleplay Sessions.

I am a Previous Volunteer, do I need to go through training again?

Yes, following your return to Project Sunshine you will need to sign up for a Teleplay Training which can be anywhere between 30-45 minutes. Once that is complete, we will update your records and you will be on a list of Active Teleplay volunteers so that your Chapter Leaders can reach out to you when they are confident following their special training. If you have been inactive for over a year you will also need to complete a new training.

Is there an age limit to participate or volunteer with Project Sunshine?

In order for you to volunteer with us, you MUST be 18 years or older. If you are under the age of 18 we typically have a Kids for Kids Program that has various activities that you can do. Currently due to COVID-19 our Kids for Kids Programs are paused until further notice. As for patients, there is no age limit, we can provide healing through the power of play for medically challenged kids up until the age of 18.

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