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Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteers at Crisis Nursery touch lives in many different ways. Every day, individuals help us provide an "Island of Safety" for the children of our community. Our volunteers fill many roles at the Nursery; each touches a child's life in meaningful ways. We have many different volunteering opportunities available at the Nursery:

  • Safe Children Program Volunteer:
    • Works directly with childcare staff and children, providing emotional and physical support, while also creating a safe environment for children to express their feelings and emotions safely.
    • Safe Children program volunteers are asked to make a 2-hour weekly commitment. Student volunteers are encouraged to work during the semester, for at least a year. Community volunteers should commit for six-months time or during Spring, Summer or Winter break at the University.  All volunteers must be 18 years of age. Volunteers are mandated by DCFS to complete a physical, TB test and background check.
  • Strong Families Program Volunteer:
    • Strong Families program volunteers work with our Family Specialists during Parent Child Interaction groups or support groups. Family Specialists run these groups throughout the year for six to eight weeks for 1-2 hours at a time.
  • House Volunteer:
    • House volunteers support the Nursery by maintaining a sanitary and organized environment. Keeping our facility clean and organized helps us to utilize our resources more efficiently and maintain a healthy environment for the children we serve.

      *Groups are encouraged to contact Jill Duden for one time opportunities to help with large house projects.
  • Garden Volunteer:
    • Garden volunteers work with our U of I Master Gardeners to keep our gardens watered and beautiful. Tasks include, but are not limited to, watering, weeding and mulching the gardens.
  • Administrative Volunteer:
    • Administrative volunteers work alongside the Administrative Staff and Safe Children program staff to assist in bulk mailings, filing, follow-up calls, and data entry.
  • Special Events Volunteer:
    • Crisis Nursery has many fundraising events through the year, which require many extra hands. Special Events volunteers will help with events such as the annual Dinner & Auction, Children’s Holiday Shop, and football concessions at the University of Illinois.

      *For more information on dates of events and how you can help, contact Renae Kirkton.
  • Maintenance Volunteer:
    • We call on maintenance volunteers when we have minor in-house issues such as a broken cabinet hinge or a leaky faucet. This volunteer is on-call and does not have a permanent shift through the week.

Steps to Becoming a Volunteer:

  1. Submit a volunteer application.
  2. Complete required paperwork. After submitting your application, you will receive an email with more information about volunteering and paperwork that needs to be completed before scheduling an orientation. Contact Jill Duden, Safe Children Program Director, at 217-337-2731 or, with any questions or if you would like to discuss your volunteer interests.
  3. Attend a Crisis Nursery orientation. At orientation you will meet with Jill to turn in your paperwork, tour the Nursery and learn more about our program, watch a volunteer training video, and complete paperwork to authorize a background check through DCFS (a requirement of all volunteers).
  4. At orientation, you will receive directions on how to get fingerprinted free-of-charge for the background check. This must be completed before scheduling your first volunteer shift. Once fingerprinted, contact Jill to set up your volunteer shift. Fingerprint receipt must be submitted to Crisis Nursery before volunteering begins.  
  5. Turn in all paperwork within one month of your first volunteer shift (this includes a TB test, physical and references). 

    Note: Steps 3-5 pertain to those interested in becoming a Safe Children program volunteer.