Volunteer Greg Weiner gets a high-five from Michael in the playroom. Greg, a senior at UC Berkeley, volunteers about 12 hours a week in the playroom and emergency room. He loves playing with the kids and sees volunteering as a good learning experience as he plans his future; Greg hopes to be a pediatric neurosurgeon some day.
There are many options for what kind of work volunteers at Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland may do. Below is a detailed list of common volunteer placements. More detailed assignment descriptions are available in the volunteer office. Not all positions or areas will have openings available.
Download PDF list.
Most shifts are weekdays and last four hours, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. or 1 to 5 p.m.
* Asterisk indicates evening and/or weekend shifts are available.
* Art While You Wait
Supervise arts and crafts activities for patients and siblings in the Emergency Department (ED), ED 2 (Urgent Care) and Orthopedics clinic (some weekdays) waiting areas. This is the only service area with a truly flexible schedule. Appropriate for high school-age volunteers.
Center for Child Protection
Supervise and play with patients and siblings in the clinic waiting area. Provide clerical and other support at the Center. Help children in the Therapy Garden. Learn more
Children's Surgery Center
Provide a supportive, nurturing environment for children awaiting surgery and their families by escorting patients, assisting parents, preparing patient surveys and anesthesia instructions for staff to distribute. Learn more
Many departments need telephone, copying, filing, word processing and other clerical assistance. Volunteers in these placements often come more than eight hours a week.
* Coffee Cart
Serve coffee and tea to parents and visitors on patient floors. Provide newspapers, magazines and share information about the Children’s Hospital. Cart circulates twice per day, seven days per week.
Work with nursing and Child Life staff to provide a supportive, nurturing environment for children having transfusions and IV (intravenous) therapies as outpatients. Mornings only. Floor Volunteer training is required.
* Emergency Department: ED1 and ED2
Assist the medical and clerical staff by running errands, replenishing supplies, and assisting with patients in ED1 and ED2 (Urgent Care). When it’s appropriate, there is an opportunity to observe some medical procedures. Group ED training and one-on-one training are required.
Note: Previous Floor Volunteer experience is STRONGLY recommended. Minimum one-year commitment plus previous floor volunteer experience required for ED1.
Minimum 6-month commitment required for ED 2. Shifts offered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Learn more
* Family Resource & Information Center
Greet and assist families seeking information on illnesses, child development, nutrition, parenting, etc. Assist with special programs. Help families with computers, web searches and building web pages. Assist with Health Education programs.
* Floor Volunteer/Play Room/Teen Lounge
Assist nursing and Child Life staff to provide a supportive, nurturing and therapeutic environment for hospitalized children in the play areas and at bedside. There is a separate program for teen patients. Activities may include art activities, playing games, reading books, holding babies, etc. Set shifts coincide with playroom hours: M-F 9:30am-12:30pm and 1:30pm-5:00pm. Teen Program M-Th 5:30-8:30pm, Friday 2:00pm-4:00pm. Floor Volunteer Training
* Gift Shop
You may work in the gift shop doing sales, helping families and staff select gifts and make purchases, inflating balloons, delivering gifts and balloons to patients, and sorting and displaying merchandise.
Hospital School Program - Teacher's Aide
Assist the teachers by tutoring, playing games, reading at the bedside or interacting with groups in the hospital classroom. Some computer experience is helpful. During holiday and vacation periods, volunteers serve as floor volunteers. Floor volunteer training is required. Learn more
* Intensive Care Nursery (ICN)
Volunteers with at least 100 hours of floor volunteer experience who are able to commit to two weekly shifts of up to two hours for two months and one shift per week thereafter, and have had consistent attendance may apply for this position. With direction from nursing, volunteers hold and comfort fragile newborns. Long-term commitment (2 years or more) strongly encouraged. Not available to new volunteers. Learn more
* Library Cart
Circulate books, read to children and keep carts stocked with books. Floor Volunteer training is required.
Parent Infant Program
Help staff provide support and developmental guidance to families whose infants and toddlers have developmental delays. Located at 638 3rd St., Oakland, near Jack London Square. Limited volunteer hours; a minimum six-month continuous commitment is required.
Help with clerical tasks, assist patients and families, and help out with physical and occupational therapy sessions when it’s appropriate. Floor Volunteer training is required. Weekday only, 8 a.m.-12 noon, 1-5 p.m. Learn more
Reach Out and Read/Play Buddies
Volunteers assist with the Reach Out and Read program at the Primary Care Clinic weekday 9-5 (flexible shifts). Play Buddies also serve in the Asthma Clinic Monday and Wednesday 1-5pm, and in Diagnostic Imaging M-F 2-5pm. No additional training is required. Suitable for high school students.
Radiology (Diagnostic Imaging)
Perform clerical tasks, learn about the equipment and run errands. Minimal patient interaction. Some evening or weekend hours available. Learn more
Be a volunteer research assistant with a Children's Hospital research institute scientist. Learn more
Help Sports Medicine staff provide an efficient, energizing and supportive environment for patients and their families. Four-hour shifts are available daily, M-F, 8 a.m. – noon or from 1–5 p.m.
Welcome Wagon volunteers welcome newly-admitted inpatients and families and offer helpful information about Children's facilities and resources. Volunteers also assist with bedside visits, relieve parents during mealtimes and breaks, and support unit nursing staff with general errands. Welcome Wagon volunteers are based as part of individual medical units; Floor Volunteer Training and nursing unit orientation are required. This is appropriate for volunteers with graduate-level college experience or parenting experience; Spanish-speaking volunteers especially needed. Monday-Sunday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., 1 p.m.-5 p.m., 5 p.m.-9 p.m. (flexible schedule).
Use your sewing skills to help kids!
Sew a wheelchair backpack to help children in rehab. Learn more