Child Life Volunteering

Child Life volunteers enrich the lives of patients by using activities and games to help them cope with the hospital environment. All Child Life Volunteers must be 18 years of age or older.

Become a Child Life volunteer

The first step is to fill out a volunteer application. Learn about the application process.

A Child Life volunteer plays a game with a Penn State Children’s Hospital patient.The Child Life program provides age-appropriate, developmentally supportive activities to hospitalized children and teens - many of whom are facing life-threatening illnesses and critical situations. Because of this, consistent caregivers are an essential part of their treatment.

Why volunteer?

Some people volunteer because they’re thinking about becoming Child Life specialists. Other simply enjoy working with kids. Whatever your reason, the Child Life program offers a deeply rewarding opportunity to make a difference in a child’s life.

The Child Life program is special to both volunteers and patients. Many volunteers stay well beyond the minimum commitment requirement, and many children enjoy Child Life so much that they don’t want to leave the hospital.

What will I do as a Child Life volunteer?

You’ll assist Child Life specialists by providing recreational activities to hospitalized children and teens. Other responsibilities may include:

  • Accompanying children to special events in the hospital
  • Working directly with isolated children in the hematology-oncology unit
  • Comforting small children by cuddling them

No prior training is required - just a love for children. We also look for volunteers who are energetic, happy, and outgoing.

If you are accepted into the program, you’ll undergo volunteer training.

Volunteers must commit to a minimum of 100 hours within the first year and be available the same day and time each week. If your schedule is unclear at this time, we recommend contacting us at a later date.

Time periods fill up very quickly, and some days and times may not be available.

Child Life

Learn more about the Child Life program and volunteering.

Visit the Child Life site.

A day in Child Life

What’s a typical day for a Child Life specialist? Read the Penn State Medicine article.