Skip to Main Content Go to Sitemap
SickKids

Volunteer Programs

SickKids wouldn’t be the same without the strength, commitment and diversity of our valued volunteers. Every volunteer role at the hospital presents exciting new opportunities to learn, engage and gain enriching experiences. 

The benefits to volunteering are endless. Through direct or indirect interaction with patients and their families, you contribute to the quality of carespirit and overall experience at SickKids 

Volunteers are essential SickKids team members. We depend on them to enhance the programs and services we offer, and to assist staff in providing the finest standards of health care that align with our SickKids mission, vision and values

There are a variety of ways you can share your valued ‘Gift of Time’ with the SickKids community. We have volunteer programs and positions to suit your interests and fit around your schedule. There are volunteer opportunities available with Volunteer Resources, the Women’s Auxiliary Volunteers and through participation in clinical research at SickKids with Research4Kids. 

The children and families we care for are diverse, and so are our volunteers. All are welcome to join our unique organizational culture and be part of our inclusive team.

Want to volunteer at SickKids?

All volunteer programs, including the 2021 Summer Program, have been halted until further notice. Please continue to monitor our website for updates on when volunteer programs and opportunities will resume.

  1. Discover volunteer opportunities for all ages
  2. Learn about the Women’s Auxiliary Volunteers (WAV)
  3. Participate in clinical research with Research4Kids

Volunteer programs

Due to the ongoing pandemic, recruitment for our Adult, Student, and High School Volunteer Programs is currently on hold.

Expand the sections below to learn more about each volunteer opportunity, including intake dates, length of commitment, eligibility, role descriptions and more.

Please note: Due to the ongoing pandemic, high-school co-op has been halted indefinitely and as a result we are not accepting applications for the Fall 2021 semester. Please check back in early 2022 for information on status of the program for the Winter 2022 semester and high school summer volunteer program.

SickKids offers two programs for high school level students, explained in detail below. Students must be at least 16 years old by the start of their placement. 

  1. The High School Co-op Program offers individuals an opportunity to earn co-op credit during the semester academic year (September through January OR February through June). 
  2. The High School Summer Volunteer Program offers individuals an opportunity to be immersed in the hospital environment for a one-month intensive program in July or August.   

Both programs offer great exposure to the hospital environment, where students can learn about SickKids, the patients and families it serves, and the many services it offers. 

High School Co-op Program

The co-op program is an excellent opportunity for high school students 16 years and older to gain a semester of valuable work experience in a Child Life placement (full day) or Administrative placement (half day). Placements are arranged through participating school’s guidance counselor or co-op departments. This is a very competitive program and only 15-18 students are selected per semester.

Eligibility: We welcome applications from high school students enrolled in a semester school from across the various school boards in Ontario. Students must be 16 years of age or older at the start of placement, and be in either Grade 11 or 12.

Applications for all types of placements (half day AM, half day PM, full day) must be submitted through a co-op teacher, and include:

  • Cover letter
  • Resume
  • Credit counselling summary (or equivalent transcript)
  • Two (2) teacher recommendations

Applications for both Semester 1 and 2 will be accepted starting May 1 for the following academic year and will close at the end of the last week in May. Only candidates successful in obtaining an interview will be contacted.

All applications received after June 1 will be reviewed upon receipt for any remaining available placements.

Note: For successful candidates, there is approximately $100 in fees related to registering for a High School Co-op Placement at SickKids (TB testing, uniform fee, etc.)

For any co-operative education teacher interested in learning more, or who would like to submit an application, please contact Volunteer Resources.

High School Summer Volunteer Program

High School students who are 16 years of age or older by the start of the program (July 1st/August 1st) are eligible to apply for the High School Summer Volunteer Program. The program is a great opportunity to be immersed in the hospital environment while earning hours for community involvement. Volunteers will have the chance to learn about SickKids, the patients and families it serves, and the many services it offers throughout the month.

Commitment: The program is an intensive, one-month, five-day a week (Monday through Friday), 3-hour a day commitment for either the month of July or the month of August. Students will earn approximately 60 hours of community service on average by the end of the placement.

Placement Options: Volunteer opportunities are primarily in Hospital Support or Administrative roles, with a limited number of Child Life placements available.

Training: Hospital Support and Administrative placements require a half-day of training prior to the start of the program. Child Life placements require 1.5 days of training prior to the start of the program. It is important you are able to attend the training days as they are mandatory and alternate sessions will not be provided.

When to Apply: Postings will be live February of each year. Make sure to link your profile to the posting in order for our team to view your application.

Responsibilities of Hospital Support and Child Life Volunteers

The specific tasks you may be asked to do as a Hospital Support or Child Life Volunteer vary from placement to placement, however, there are some common themes amongst all of them.

  • Assist patients, visitors, and families in auxiliary services (e.g. Family Resource Centre, WAV PlayPark, Information Desk, 555 Gift Shop)
  • Greet patients, visitors, and families as they enter the hospital and assist with navigation
  • Promote patient and family hospital programming
  • Organize and participate in individual or group play and recreational activities (Child Life specific)
  • Offer parent/caregiver respite (Child Life specific)

Responsibilities of Administrative Volunteers

The specific tasks you may be asked to do as an Administrative Volunteer vary from placement to placement. Some placements have patient and family interaction while others are in office settings performing tasks essential to keeping the hospital running efficiently. Some of the common tasks include:

  • Greet and welcome families and visitors
  • Assist with and coordinate patient flow through clinics
  • General reception (answering phones, photocopying, faxing, filing)
  • Data entry and basic computer work
  • Preparing patient information packages and mailings
  • Assisting with special projects as required

Post-secondary volunteer programs offer individuals the opportunity to volunteer either during the academic calendar year (October through April) for a once a week commitment OR over the summer session (May through August) for an intensive one-month commitment. More information on the different sessions and types of volunteer positions available can be found below. 

Eligibility: All volunteer programs in this category require you to be 18 years of age or older and currently enrolled in post-secondary education (or are of that age group). If you are over 18, then the SickKids Post-secondary Summer Student Volunteer Program could be for you! 

Types of student volunteer opportunities:

Child Life and Hospital Support Volunteers

The specific tasks you may be asked to do as a Child Life or Hospital Support Volunteer vary from placement to placement, however, there are some common themes amongst all of them. 

  • Visit with patients one-on-one in their room, in small group settings in the playroom 
  • Organize and participate in individual or group play and recreational activities 
  • Offer parent/caregiver respite 
  • Promote patient and family hospital programming 
  • Assist patients, visitors, and families in auxiliary services (e.g. Family Resource Centre, WAV PlayPark, Information Desk, 5Fifty5 Gift Shop) 

Administrative Volunteers

The specific tasks of an Administrative Volunteer vary from placement to placement. Some placements have patient and family interaction while others are in office settings performing tasks essential to keeping the hospital running efficiently. Some of the common tasks include: 

  • Greet and welcome families and visitors  
  • Assist with and coordinate patient flow through clinics 
  • General reception (answering phones, photocopying, faxing, filing) 
  • Data entry and basic computer work 
  • Preparing patient information packages and mailings 
  • Assisting with special projects as required 

Below you can learn about both the Summer and Year-Round session dates. 

Summer Post-secondary Student Volunteers

Postings will be live February of each year. Make sure to link your profile to the posting in order for our team to view your application. 

Please note: the commitment required over the summer varies based on the type of placement you are interested in.

Eligibility requirements

If you are interested in a patient or family facing role as a Child Life or Hospital Support Volunteer over the summer, you must meet the following requirements: 

  • Be available to volunteer one full month (May, June, July, or August) 
  • Commit to 5 half-day shifts a week (Monday through Friday) for 3-hours a shift, OR every weekend (Saturday and Sunday) for 6-hours a shift for the given month 
  • Attend 1.5 days of training prior to the first day of your placement 
  • Complete a Vulnerable Sector Search, TB & Immunization Form, Reference Check (approx. $120) 

Administrative Post-secondary Summer Student Volunteer placements 

If you are interested in supporting the hospital through clerical assistance over course of the summer, you must meet the following requirements: 

  • Be available to volunteer the entire summer (May through August) 
  • Commit to one, 3-hour shift a week Monday through Friday (same day and time each week) during business hours 
  • Attend half a day of training prior to the first day of your placement 
  • Complete a Vulnerable Sector Search, TB & Immunization Form, Reference Check (approx. $120) 

Year-round Post-secondary Student Volunteer Program

Recruitment: Those 18 and older can apply online in early June for an October start for these post-secondary volunteer positions. All applicants must create a profile online and link it to an active posting in order for our recruitment team to view it. 

Commitment: October 1 to April 30, 1 shift per week for 3-4 hours (same day and time each week) 

  • Based on the needs of the Hospital, a small intake may be done for an abbreviated 4-month commitment from January through April. Should there be an intake, postings will be live at the end of October. 

Costs: Approximately $110 (Vulnerable Sector Search, Two-step TB (tuberculosis) Test, volunteer uniform) 

Research positions are available through self-referral. After researchers send us a request to take you on, we take care of the paper-work. 

Recruitment Period: As requested by researchers 

Length of Commitment: As requested by researchers 

Costs: Approximately $110, including: 

  • $20 for Vulnerable Sector Search 
  • Approx. $80 for a Two-step TB (tuberculosis) Test 
  • $10 T-shirt, as required 

The Adult Volunteer Program is geared towards adults who are working professionals, recent retirees, or individuals who do not meet the criteria of the Student Volunteer Programs above. 

The program runs in four-month blocks, and is a commitment of one shift per week for 2 to 4 hours: 

  • September 1 to December 31 
  • January 1 to April 30 
  • May 1 to August 31 

Adult volunteers have the option to commit to a shift during the day, in the evening or on the weekend. Evening shifts are very popular, resulting in limited availability for those roles during each intake. 

Volunteers in this program have the opportunity to interact with patients through play on an inpatient unit, day-treatment setting, or in a patient playroom. Patients range in age from infancy to 18 years of age. Through the support of the nursing staff and Child Life Specialists, volunteers are an important part of the patient’s care plan. Volunteers can expect to play games, do arts and crafts, cuddle a baby, read stories or go for a walk with patients as a part of their role. 

There are also a limited number of administrative roles available for individuals who would prefer to provide support to clerical staff in ambulatory clinics or office settings. 

Volunteers are responsible for communicating with Volunteer Resources and unit staff regarding any issues or concerns that arise during their placement and for coordinating with Volunteer Resources around any schedule conflicts that arise. Volunteers must operate within the boundaries of the SickKids Volunteer policies and procedures and respect patient privacy and confidentiality at all times. 

Adults volunteers who successfully complete the initial four-month commitment are eligible to recommit to additional four-month terms if desired. For individuals who choose to volunteer on a long-term basis, the program permits taking one 4-month term off each year if required. 

Application Process 

Individuals interested in the Adult Volunteer Program must meet the following requirements:

  • Be able to commit to four months, once a week, for 2 to 4 hours 
  • Be able to attend an information session and subsequent interview 
  • Be willing to have a Vulnerable Sector Search conducted.
  • Be able to provide the hospital with documented proof of tuberculosis testing and immunization status  
  • A flu shot is highly recommended. Individuals who cannot receive the flu shot are required to wear a mask while in patient areas. 
  • Be in general good health and able to sit or stand up to one hour at a time. 
  • Be comfortable interacting with children of all ages. 

All individuals interested in applying for a position must submit a letter of intent and attend an information session.

  • Information sessions are held at the end of February, beginning of June, and October for the May, September, and January sessions respectively, provided there are openings within the program. 
  • The website will be updated at the start of February, June and October with information about the upcoming session and the option to register for an information session if one is occurring. 

After the information session, successful candidates will be invited to attend an interview.

Our Volunteers

See what some of our volunteers have to say about their experience on the SickKids Volunteer team.

SickKids Volunteer Christian smiling at his desk

Christian S.  
Haematology and Oncology Day Treatment, Administrative Volunteer; Cardiac Unit Child Life Volunteer  

I love giving back and being able to help out wherever I can. This opportunity made me realize that the administrative staff of SickKids play such an important role in keeping everything organized and running smoothly. I loved my time as an administrative volunteer so I decided to switch things up and come back as a Child Life Volunteer. I enjoy making patients smile and creating lasting memories with them.

SickKids Volunteer Gurrattan smiling for a picture

Gurrattan C.
Surgical Services Unit Child Life Volunteer

Having started at SickKids as a high school co-op student, I am continuously amazed by the strength and resilience of patients and their families. As a volunteer, I enjoy bringing smiles through play – whether we are reenacting jungle scenes, playing board games or simply talking, each shift is a new experience. Being a part of the stories of so many patients makes my role truly remarkable!

SickKids Volunteer Gurrattan smiling for a picture
SickKids Volunteer Paula smiling for her picture in a SickKids vest

Paula U.
Critical Care Unit Child Life Volunteer

I volunteer at SickKids because simple acts like cuddling an infant, playing with a child, or talking with a teenager can offer moments of respite for a patient, regardless of all that is going on. As a volunteer, you get to meet children from all walks of life. I am always inspired by the bravery and resilience of the patients, family and staff within the SickKids community. 

Volunteer Craig smiling for his photo beside SickKids elevators

Craig G. 
Consistent Care Volunteer 

Volunteering at SickKids, since the inception of the Consistent Care Programme three years ago, has truly been one of the most enriching experiences of my life. Since stays in this unit tend to be long, strong bonds are created with both the children and their families. I am constantly astounded by the courage, strength and devotion I see on a daily basis, and would urge anyone considering volunteering to do so. Whatever you give will be returned in kind multiple times over. 

Volunteer Craig smiling for his photo beside SickKids elevators
Volunteer Marie smiling at her desk

Marie O. 
CALIPER Project Research Volunteer; Pre-operative Care Unit Child Life Volunteer 

Being part of the SickKids volunteer team both in CALIPER and Child Life is very rewarding and always heartwarming. At CALIPER clinics, healthy children of all ages show incredible care and concern for others by donating blood to aid in research of childhood diseases. Whether preparing materials for clinics, welcoming participants, gathering measurements or thanking the child volunteers, I feel honoured to play a small role in such an amazing hospital. 

Frequently asked questions

Check out our Volunteer FAQ for answers to frequent technical questions about our Volunteers portal.

1. How do I reset my username and password?

You will be able to retrieve or reset your username and/or password by clicking on the ‘Forgot User Name’ or ‘Forgot Password’ link on the Sign In page. Follow the instructions provided.

2. I experience long wait times (the page doesn’t load) when I click on links or buttons. I see a spinning wheel icon.

If pages do not open or it takes considerable time to load them, try using one of the following compatible browsers:

  • Internet Explorer V11
  • Google Chrome V58
  • Firefox V52
  • Safari V10.1
  • Microsoft Edge 39.x 3.

3. How do I upload two documents (e.g., cover letter and resume)?

Upload your cover letter and resume as one document. Our Careers site does not accept more than one attachment per job application.

4. I’m trying to update my cover letter and resume, and keep receiving an error message that states there is a conflict.

Once you submit an application for a specific SickKids job, you are unable to modify or remove your application for the same posting. Please ensure future applications are carefully reviewed before you submit your application.

5. I received an email that directs me to click on a link to complete a questionnaire (about the job I applied for), but the link is inactive.

Please disregard the email. There is no need for you to complete the questionnaire – it will not impact your application for the job.

6. I have checked/addressed the above types of issues and I’m still having difficulty applying for a specific SickKids job. Who can I contact for assistance?

Send an email to SickKids’ aSK HR team. In your message, include a short description of the issues you are experiencing. Please note: we do not accept resumes sent to this inbox, but will respond to requests for technical assistance.

Back to Top