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At AdvocateChildren's Hospital - Park Ridge

Volunteering at a children's hospital is a challenging yet rewarding experience. Volunteers touch children's lives and make invaluable contributions. In return, volunteers receive the personal gratification of knowing they've made someone's day a little brighter.

At Advocate  Children's Hospital - Park Ridge we believe emotional care is an important part of a patient's treatment plan. Volunteers are therefore trained to provide activities that help patients and family members adjust to hospitalization and cope with the stress and anxiety associated with a hospital stay.

Volunteers assigned to the inpatient care areas of the hospital are coordinated through the Child Life department. The Child Life department focuses on providing therapeutic play and activities for children, teens and young adults. Child Life services are supported by community contributions and volunteers who generously donate their time.

To learn more about volunteering at Advocate Children's Hospital, click on the links below:

Volunteer duties
Criteria for volunteer placement
Application and Training 
Contact us

Volunteer Duties

As a Child Life volunteer at Advocate Children's Hospital, you will bring comfort and support to hospitalized patients and their families. Some of the general services you may offer as a volunteer include:

  • Holding and rocking infants
  • Playing games (board games, cards, video games, etc.)
  • Offering art and craft projects
  • Participating in pretend play with young children
  • Comforting distraught patients
  • Setting up video movies
  • Distributing toys and activities to patients on bed rest
  • Supervising activities in the playroom or teen lounge
  • Reading to children
  • Providing companionship to patients
  • Talking with teens
  • Listening to patient or parent concerns
  • Offering parents much needed breaks
  • Providing attention to visiting siblings
  • Assisting with special events
  • Cleaning toys
  • Keeping play areas neat and organized
  • Assisting staff
  • Involvement in special projects
  • Sharing unique talents (storytelling, art, music, computer skills, clerical assistance, etc.)

Criteria for Volunteer Placement

Volunteering in a hospital is not for everyone. It is not enough to just want to help others. Volunteers must be well matched to their assignment and comfortable with their assigned duties. They must also behave appropriately when interacting with patients and family members.

The staff at Advocate Children's Hospital provides an extensive orientation and an individualized training session. To be suited to the role of a volunteer, an individual should possess certain personal attributes, such as:

  • Genuine interest in children
  • Ability to relate to others, both children and adults
  • Sensitivity toward others (empathy not sympathy)
  • Ability to function in a responsible and dependable manner
  • Willingness to make a commitment
  • Ability to function independently
  • Flexibility
  • Positive attitude
  • Ability to adhere to all hospital regulations

In addition, volunteers must:

  • Be at least 16 years of age to be assigned to the pediatric and adolescent patient care units.
  • Make a commitment of providing service hours once each week, at a regularly scheduled day and time, for a period of at least six months.

If you are younger than 16 years of age or cannot commit to a regular schedule, please consider participating in a service project. Or, if you would like to help, but do not feel comfortable with direct patient contact, please consider supporting our program in the following areas:

Application and Training

If you are interested in volunteering, please complete the following application and training process:

1) Contact the Volunteer Department office at 847.723.6105, or click here for information and an application.

2) Complete and return the application to the Volunteer Department to begin the process of becoming a registered volunteer.

3) Attend an orientation conducted by the Volunteer Department to familiarize yourself with general hospital information, including policies, procedures and conduct.

4) Complete an individual training session with a Child Life team member. This allows you to become comfortable with providing services on the patient care units. These sessions are scheduled according to your availability.

Contact Us

For more information about becoming a volunteer at Advocate Children's Hospital - Park Ridge, please call us at:

Volunteer Department Office: 847.723.6105

Child Life Office: 847.723.PLAY (7529)

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