Strong Beginnings is a parent support program which is part of the Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Dept. Volunteers work with young children and can observe family interactions and learn more about the field of infant mental health.
Volunteers will have the opportunity to share in the life and care of a child for 10 weeks, thereby gaining a hands-on learning experience. Volunteers will debrief with a multi-disciplinary team. These experiences are relevant for students in the fields of social work, psychology or early childhood education, and interesting for all who enjoy spending time with young children. Volunteers will receive a certificate of participation and a thank you gift at the end of the program.
Volunteers will be assigned primary responsibility for one child. The volunteer will support the child in separating from the parent, play with the child and see that their needs are met, observe the child, and write a weekly observation about the experience. Volunteers will also assist with set up and clean up each week and participate in a debriefing session.
A volunteer must complete required clearances, receive training and orientation as volunteer and as Strong Beginnings participant, and maintain record of hours.
Volunteer should have interest in young children under 5. The volunteer should be comfortable sitting on the floor, attending to needs of young children, holding and comforting children as needed and playing on child’s level with sometimes messy materials.
It is preferable that volunteers have experience with young children, individually or in groups. A volunteer should be patient, soft-spoken, kind and non-judgmental. A volunteer should have interest in learning about child development, family interactions and support groups. A volunteer must be able to commit to a code of ethics and confidentiality in interactions with mental health clients.
Good Match For
Requirements & Commitment
- Background Check
- Must be at least 18
- Orientation or Training
- Two sessions per week of 4 hours each for 10 weeks