General Volunteering Tips for print .pdf

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Chicago Cares’ children's programs are created to provide opportunities for children
and volunteers to interact in a meaningful way. Programs are designed to enhance
students’ learning and social development while helping to build capacity and increase
impact for our community partners.

Tips for Success
While no two projects are the same, these tips may help you feel comfortable and
confident when volunteering at a children's program:
 Introduce yourself and learn a little about your partner before starting. Students
may be shy at first, but engaging with them and finding something in common
will make the day much for fun for everyone.
 Sit down next to your partner. Staying at the same height encourages
communication and helps make your partner feel comfortable.
 If the activity has a handout or instructions, read through everything with your
partner first and collect materials second. That way you’ll know what to do and
you’ll be sure to encourage students to follow directions and learn the concept
or theme easier.
 Be flexible and encourage creativity! Within the bounds of doing the activities
safely, there is often room for the students to try things or attempt an activity in
a way that may not exactly follow the written instructions. This can actually be
a great situation and can be encouraged.
 Safety is key! Always keep an eye on your child, stay in groups, and be careful
around any objects like scissors that may cause harm. For some activities, there
will be specific parts that the volunteer should do for the children because of
safety; your leader will let you know when this is the case.
 All Chicago Cares programs are encouraging social development and positive
attitudes towards school and learning while reinforcing learning in school. By
continuing dialogue with students and keeping things light and fun, you’re
encouraging growth in a variety of ways!

Ways to Work With Your

Encouraging Words and
Conversation Starters

Great work! Will you show the
I knew you could do it!
Keep going, we’re almost done!
Excellent idea!
I can see how much effort you put
into your work today.
“What do you like to do in your
free time?”
“What is your favorite subject in
“Do you like movies/books/tv
shows? What are your favorites?”

Guide your partner through the
activity with encouraging words.
Assist with more difficult tasks if
needed; keep safety in mind.
Ask questions as you go about the
activity, experiment, or book. That
way you’ll keep the conversation
flowing while supporting the
overall program goal.
Encourage creativity! Follow the
directions as much as you can, but
encourage your child to problem
solve and create their own point of

2 N. Riverside Plaza, Suite 2200 · Chicago, IL 60606 · P 312-780-0800 · F 312-780-0801 ·

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