SOUTHERN REGION VOLUNTEERS
Children’s Home + Aid Southern Region impacts over 10,000 families throughout the Metro East and Southern Illinois each year. We are an organization that values volunteers and welcomes those from our diverse communities to contribute time and talents—to give children help, hope, and opportunity!
Volunteers of various ages and backgrounds may join us through weekly, monthly, or one-time opportunities, and groups may partner with us through projects and events. While our staff goes into homes, schools, and communities to serve children and families with substantial needs, we invite you to step in to affect their success!
We’re committed to training and supporting each volunteer. Those who routinely work with clients are asked to participate in a screening process, including an in-person interview, health screen, drug screen, and fingerprinting background check.
INDIVIDUAL VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES
- Mentor: If you have a steady year ahead and a few hours a month to give, consider coming alongside one child as a mentor. Our foster children and our teens at risk of entering the juvenile justice system are in particular need of positive, consistent, adult relationships—especially our boys! Mentors may create their own schedules and use their creativity to plan activities unique to a child’s interests. These may be as simple as grocery shopping or studying together or as entertaining as visiting area attractions or work places together. The ultimate goal of this rewarding program is to affect a child’s personal growth and confidence. We ask volunteers to commit a minimum of 4 hours each month to a child for a 6 to 12-month period.
- Foster Youth Connection: Our agency cares for over 125 Metro East kids in foster care, and each year, we have a handful who move out on their own—as independent adults. We are currently building a group of adult volunteers focused on walking with these youth through apartment searches, job hunts, school applications, household responsibilities, and holiday celebrations. We’d be happy to share details with you as they develop!
- Donation Driver: Things get complicated when a worker doesn’t have a large enough vehicle to transport a community donation…If you have a truck or van and an occasional hour weekdays—during the day or early evening—we invite you to join our call list of Donation Drivers. We reach out to these volunteers when a large donation, like a mattress, comes in from the community. The Driver would accompany our staff to the community member’s home, help load the donation, then transport the item to the home of one of our families. It would be a plus if this volunteer could help lift heavy items or assemble them!
- Administrative Support: Community members with a knack for organizing or helping in an office setting are routinely needed. With six offices in the region—Alton, Belleville, Breese, East St. Louis, Granite City and Jerseyville—we likely have an opening close to you. Volunteers file paperwork, prepare mailings, and organize storage areas, allowing our staff to spend more time out of the office serving families! Administrative opportunities range in frequency—from once a month to simply once a year. However, they are always conducted during office hours—9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
- Photographer: If you’re a professional photographer, or an amateur with basic skills and equipment, consider joining us to capture the milestones of children in foster care through portrait photography! We serve many foster children who are celebrating graduations, birthdays and other events typically documented through photos. You would accompany a staff member to meet and photograph a child and/or group of siblings in a memorable location on a weekday—during the day or early evening. The staff member would then receive digital copies of your photos to share with the child. We believe your time will help a foster child feel noticed and celebrated!
- Recreation or Life Skills Instructor: Do you enjoy playing sports or making crafts with youth? Or teaching valuable life skills—like cooking, budgeting, goal-setting or interviewing for a job? We bring at-risk youth together at a Belleville church one weekday afternoon each month for a safe, constructive, after-school event. Join us to lead a game or class—an hour or two can go a long way in engaging and equipping youth.
- Event Assistant: If your time is limited, but you’d like to influence families in your community, we have opportunities throughout the year for you! From a summer party for foster families to a holiday gift drive for all the families our agency serves, volunteers may help us plan and host events that bring smiles to the faces kids, parents, and guardians.
- Auxiliary Member: In both St. Clair and Madison counties, a special group of community members has raised their hands to serve as Children’s Home + Aid’s Auxiliary. What exactly is an auxiliary? When our kids and families in these communities face pressing needs throughout the year, this group learns of them first. They may look through their belongings, spread the word to friends, or raise the funds to support the need. In the past, auxiliary members have spotted furniture for our families in crisis, funded summer camp or after-school experiences for our teens, and given winter clothing items for our kids. There is no time commitment for this group, simply adding your name to our email list!
- Foster Parent: It may come as a surprise that there are more than 16,000 foster children in Illinois and not enough foster parents. If you’d like to consider joining our founder Rev. Martin Van Arsdale in his mission to “find homes for the homeless, protect children from harm, and help parents become better parents,” please reach out to our foster care licensing staff, (618) 235-5335, and ask to attend an informational meeting.
- Youth Advocate: While our Youth Advocates are not volunteers, we have a regular need for workers in this position—to respond 24/7 to families in crisis in all the counties we serve. Visit http://docs.com/IMXU for the full details and firstname.lastname@example.org to apply.
GROUP VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES
- Grounds Maintenance at Local Child Care Centers: Our staff trains and supports hundreds of child care centers in the Metro East, and many have opportunities for volunteer groups to help paint, clean, garden…the list goes on!
- Event for Our Kids: Based on your talents, your organization or group may select a group of our clients and plan and host a recreational or educational activity, including career counseling, arts and crafts, sports, or story reading.
- Makeover a Visiting Room: Our Belleville, East St. Louis, and Granite City offices have visiting spaces that allow families to come together to talk, play, and meet with staff. Help us freshen up these spaces by cleaning, painting, and replacing toys, as needed. Your group may also help us replenish these rooms with books and games!
- Scrapbooks and Photo Albums: We would like each of the 125+ Metro East children we serve through foster care to have a photo album, scrapbook, and decorative materials to celebrate their memories, lives, and communities. A donation drive for these materials would spark a great deal of joy in children and youth living away from their biological parents.
- Hygiene Kits: As our workers respond to youth who’ve runaway or been locked out of their homes, we’d like to provide them travel-sized shampoo, soap, deodorant, face wash, razors, and feminine products to ensure they have the basics in the midst of family crisis.
- Other Gifts: We welcome groups to host donation drives for household items for our kids and families, including school supplies, new winter coats, books, suitcases, or holiday gifts. We can also provide promotional materials!
To learn more about these Children’s Home + Aid Southern Region volunteer opportunities, please call Lynsey Skinner at 618-452-8900, ext. 119 or email email@example.com.