Frequently Asked Questions
Volunteering at the Children First Foundation Retreat
Who can volunteer?
Volunteers must be over 18 years of age and must have a current Working with Children Check. Wherever possible, we ask our volunteers to commit to a regular time. This provides consistency for the children. We can discuss this with you.
Do volunteers require particular skills?
We welcome all offers of support. Day to day support and care for the children is a priority. We also need drivers, gardeners and handy-persons to assist with general maintenance. Some volunteers like to cook or sew, others love to clean! Just bring enthusiasm and a willingness to help. Come and share your skills or learn new skills.
Where are Volunteers needed?
Our greatest need is volunteering with the children at the Retreat in East Kilmore, an hour from Melbourne along the Hume Freeway.
What can I expect the children’s conditions to be?
Children First arranges surgery and pre-and-post surgical care for a range of congenital and acquired conditions including orthopaedic, craniofacial, burns and plastics, renal and urology cases.
Will I need to provide medical care to the children?
Nothing other than basic first aid is required. Retreat managers and volunteer health professionals provide the care associated with the child’s specific condition or treatment.
Do the children speak English?
Most of the children do not speak English when they arrive, but they learn very quickly. Communication is not usually a problem.
Who usually cares for the children?
Our Retreat Manager and program coordinators are responsible for the bulk of the children’s care, supported by the volunteers.
What training will I receive?
Volunteers at the Retreat undergo orientation and training specific to the location and tasks. Whatever help you can provide is truly appreciated.
When will I be needed?
You can volunteer on weekdays, overnight and at weekends. You may volunteer at a time that suits your availability.
What is the application process?
Submit an on-line expression of interest via Children First website. We will contact you for a personal meeting to discuss volunteering in more detail.
Can I bring my children when I volunteer at the Retreat?
We ask that volunteers do not bring young children who will themselves require supervision. We do have social occasions where children, families and friends are welcome and invited.
Can my workplace volunteer?
We welcome enquiries from work place groups wishing participate in Corporate Volunteering for a day. These groups can fulfill tasks such as painting, gardening, window washing, and general seasonal tasks tailored to the skills of the participants. More information is available at here.
Can I apply for a tertiary work placement?
Volunteering at Children First Retreat offers valuable experiences for many tertiary courses, such as child care, community service, social work, teaching, nursing, and allied health. We welcome enquiries from students and course coordinators.
Why should I volunteer at Children First Foundation?
Volunteers are vital for the work of Children First to continue. The contribution our volunteers make to the lives of the children is immeasurable. And volunteers tell us that they ‘get more than they give’. Either way, we all benefit through supporting each other, sharing friendships and enjoying new experiences
What are the benefits of volunteering with Children First?
- Volunteers receive a warm welcome, friendship and sincere appreciation!
- You’ll have opportunities to use your skills
- You’ll receive clear communication from our staff.
- Volunteers are covered by our Accident and Public Liability insurance.
- We provide written references for our volunteers when they leave us and conduct exit interviews if required.
- We organise ‘thank you’ events during the year.
- And most importantly, the children appreciate the volunteers’ support, care and friendship and many develop long lasting connections after they return home.
What does Children First ask of Volunteers?
- Volunteers must familiarize themselves with our Child Safety Standards and adhere to the Code of Conduct.
- Volunteers must have a current Working With Children check
- We expect our volunteers to embrace our values, be accepting of other cultures and beliefs and to be willing to gain an understanding of other cultures.
- We ask rostered volunteers to arrive at their specified time and to inform staff if they are unable to attend their rostered time. This is particularly important at the Retreat when children may have medical appointments for example.
- Volunteers are asked to sign a confidentiality agreement which refers not only to the privacy of the children but to staff and other Volunteers as well.
To arrange learn more about volunteering and arrange an interview, complete the on-line Expression of Interest form.