Hi All!

I am in the process of starting up a non-profit organization that will provide support to children in situations such as; coming into foster care, being interviewed for suspected child abuse, entering homeless shelters, coming to safe visitation centers, and entering domestic abuse shelters. Our volunteers will be following some of the philosophies utilized by child life specialists in hospitals to mitigate medical trauma - building rapport, normalizing the experience through play, preparation for events (photos and flip books of what will occur), and teaching positive coping skills. 

My question for you all is this - who should we β€œmarket” our volunteer opportunities to? I’m already talking to the local college about child life and play therapy students. Are there other populations that might be interested in this opportunity? Do you think this is something that can be offered to the whole community with the right training in place?

TIA!

Original Post

I'm not certain the whole community could be involved at the level.  Certainly the psychological first aid level, yes.  Maybe you an area to look at is retired folks, who have been in or around the field.  Many retired people are still looking to do meaningful work in some way, so this seems like a good avenue.  

As a school counselor and having worked in the child welfare field, it is something I would be interested in volunteering for, so there may be people already somewhat related to the field that may be good targets as well.

Beth

I agree with the previous response. We have a mentoring program for teens with a history in foster care. We recruit regular adult volunteers that go through a trauma informed training program. We have a wide range of people that are interested in volunteering. If you have the right training and supports in place, volunteers can learn. Evaluate if the skills needed can be taught. Creating a list of volunteer characteristics can help people decide for themselves if they are a good fit. Some people are motivated because of their past history, so you need to screen carefully to make sure they are is a healthy place with their own trauma. We've had a lot of success with online recruitment through Volunteer Match and social media. 

Sounds like a great program. Good luck!

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