Harmony Hill’s Cancer, Healing and Survivorship Retreats offer individuals affected by cancer a time to reflect and explore the physical, emotional and spiritual challenges of their diagnosis. Retreats are scheduled throughout the year and volunteer "house parents" provide important services for participants.
Each retreat has at least two house parents. One of the house parents must have a health care background and be currently licensed (generally an RN, MD or ND). The second house parent can be previously licensed, or have another background, such as social work. We recruit both men and women for general retreats, and recruit only female house parents for women only retreats. House parents are "on call" both day and night.
A house parent’s primary role is to provide nurturing and support to participants. This includes responding to guests’ needs outside the scheduled sessions of the retreat - for conversation, a cup of tea, supplies, etc. Being a good listener (and minimizing one’s own personal stories) is an important part of this role. House parents are responsible for waking guests each morning, starting the morning fire, assisting with night watch duties, alerting facilitators of any participant concerns, and other tasks.
A house parent’s secondary role is to provide triage and/or basic first aid for participants, if needed. Harmony Hill is an educational center not a medical facility and house parents do not provide medical services. House parents follow the directive, "When in doubt, call 911."
Process and Qualifications
1. Completion of a Harmony Hill volunteer application form
2. Criminal background check is completed (with no incidences)
3. Licensed or previously licensed by recognized organization as a health professional qualified to assess basic daily needs of participants (vs nursing care) and able to provide basic first aid if needed
4. Experience working with individuals with a life-threatening illness, preferably with individuals diagnosed with cancer
5. Two professional or personal references
Once we determine an individual meets the above qualifications, individuals:
- Meet with Harmony Hill’s Program Director and/or House Parent Coordinator
- Attend a retreat as a volunteer "House Parent in Orientation"
- If it is mutually agreed that it is a good match between proposed house parent and Harmony Hill, the candidate will partner with an experienced house parent for his/her first retreat.
Good Match For
Requirements & Commitment
- Background Check
- Orientation or Training