CATHOLIC CHARITIES CHILD CARE DIVISION OF DENVER VOLUNTEER PROGRAM

. . . helping people, strengthening families, building communities

Catholic Charities is a nation-wide non-profit corporation serving people of all faiths in various situations of need. Catholic Charities USA's mission is to provide service for people in need, to advocate for justice in social structures, and to call the entire Church and other people of good will to do the same.

In the Denver area, the Child Care Division serves over 800 children from low-income and working poor families per year. We operate 3 major child care centers (serving children 6 weeks to 12 years old), six stand alone Head Start sites (Federally funded, children under five), and 1 before and after school program that is housed within an elementary school. The centers that we have volunteers at are the following: The Early Learning Center at 4440 Navajo Street; the Margery Reed Mayo Day Nursery at 1128 28th Street (28th & Lawrence), and the Childhood Development Center at 1155 Decatur Street (near Colfax & Federal).

We have about 35 volunteers who spend a minimum of 2 hours each week with our children. Volunteers are mentors, classroom assistants, and even a few office assistants.

We also have two businesses in our new Sponsor A Classroom program in which organizations give financial and volunteer support to a classroom for one year. For information on how your business can help out the community, see the link for 'Sponsor a Classroom' at the top of the page.


In addition to providing child care, Catholic Charities of Denver has many other community building divisions such as Samaritan House for housing the homeless and employment resources. For more information go to www.catholiccharitiesdenver.org

Volunteer Opportunities
Thank you for your interest in the volunteer program. Here's the scoop:

CLASSROOM ASSISTANT RESPONSIBILITIES::

Volunteer classroom aides will provide attention for children (ages 6 weeks to 12 years) in the child care setting. Duties may involve rocking, feeding or playing with infants; playing games, reading, arts and crafts with toddlers and preschoolers; helping school age children with homework, crafts, working on the computer or participating in outdoor games. Other classroom duties may be assigned. Volunteers will act as an aide to the classroom teachers. In the event that a volunteer cannot make an appointment for volunteering, please call the volunteer coordinator or the teacher in the classroom to notify and/or reschedule. Do not drop by unannounced, since the teacher may have activities that conflict with the volunteer's presence.

MENTOR RESPONSIBILITIES

Mentor will interact with school age buddy, ages 6 to 12, once a week for 2 hours. He/she will assist child with special projects and homework, provide positive guidance and act as role model, and encourage creativity, initiative, and socially appropriate behavior.

We particularly emphasize consistency as a mentor. The volunteer's mentee looks up to his/her mentor, and generally forms a strong bond with them. These children are from low-income families, many of which are single parent households. A major role of the mentor is to provide a stable influence in the child's life, by consistently being there for them. A mentor needs to be patient and understanding towards the child and their family. Scheduling conflicts often arise which could prevent the child from being at the center the day their mentor comes to meet them. In these instances we hope the mentor stays and spends time with the other children as a classroom aide, because their presence is important to all the kids. A challenge of mentoring is finding a way to boost the confidence of their mentee without being judgmental. The mentor may work with the volunteer coordinator in order to come up with ideas and activities to work on with the child.

Qualifications:

Volunteers working with children will have a warm, caring and nurturing personality. They will have good communication skills, and be responsible and dependable. Volunteers will have experience with children, professional or personal. All volunteers must be over 16 years old. Individuals must be welcoming of diversity. Volunteers must be willing to undergo background checks including a finger print check and a CRI check, TB test, and provide references. Spanish speaking and writing abilities are a plus.

Orientation & Training:

The orientation involves the following: The volunteer coordinator will give a tour of the center and introduce the volunteer to teachers and children. Then the coordinator will give a general overview of the nation-wide organization of Catholic Charities, the Child Care Division, and show a short video describing the Child Care Division. After this, the volunteer will fill out mandatory paperwork including an application, and an inquiry form that gives the coordinator an idea of what kind of experience and personality the volunteer has. Following this, the volunteer will be furnished with instructions on how to obtain their fingerprints and TB test. Once the volunteer finishes the process of fingerprints and TB test, they are free to begin their service. Center director, staff and Volunteer Coordinators will provide training in developmentally appropriate practices, classroom procedures, feedback and evaluation of individual volunteers.

Supervision:

Staff will help to guide volunteer, and sometimes make specific requests. Occasionally the volunteer coordinator may observe and guide. The volunteer will sign in and out in the Volunteer Sign-In Book, which is located at or near the main desk at all day care centers.

Time Frame:

Opportunities are available between 7am and 6pm, Monday through Friday. It is preferable that volunteers give one or more hours per week. Since most children are napping between 12 pm and 2:30 pm, mornings and afternoons are more appropriate times to volunteer. School age children are available between 3:30pm and 6pm during the school year, but in the summer months they are in day care all day. Opportunities are ongoing.

Benefits & Opportunities:

Volunteers will gain experience working with children of diverse backgrounds and learn about developmentally appropriate practices in child care. Volunteer will gain insight to their own past and experiences, develop positive, more reciprocal relationships with youth, increased patience, enhanced self-image, a feeling of helpfulness and usefulness, and improved health.

Individuals will be part of Catholic Charities Child Care Services, which is helping families who are working towards self-sufficiency. Volunteers may attend training sessions and staff meetings and will receive Catholic Charities and individual centers' newsletters. Volunteers may use hours of service as required community service hours for school if need be.


For information about Catholic Charities
nationwide go to
www.catholiccharitiesusa.org





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