There are a variety of volunteer opportunities available to adults and students over the age of 16 at our hospital. Please note that due to the volume of applications we receive, and the specific requirements of the programs we offer, we are unable to place every applicant. Below are brief descriptions of the volunteer opportunities here at MUSC Children's Health. For more information about any of these programs please the main Volunteer Opportunities page on MUSC Health.
For weekly placements, all volunteers, including students, must commit to a two-hour weekly shift for a minimum of one year (total 100 hours).
Child Life and Playrooms
Volunteers work one on one with children in the atrium or at bedside providing companionship and play opportunities for our patients ages 0 to 18. Placements are available 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., 2:00 to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Sunday and 5:00 to 7:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The Courtesy Cart goes door to door offering coffee, tea, and hot chocolate to parents in the hospital. This placement is available in two-hour shifts every morning.
Healing Hands was created in partnership with the pediatric pain management team to offer massage to pediatric patients in the acute and critical care areas. Licensed massage therapists volunteer their time to provide services to children, who meet the appropriate medical criteria and desire this service.
Music lives in the halls of the Children's Hospital thanks to local volunteer musicians. Kevin Kreamer, volunteer, guitarist and father of a former patient, has led the development of this program. Weekly visits from musicians are designed to lift the spirits of patients, families, and staff, as well as improve morale and provide stress relief through music as a diversion technique. The name of the program, MUSiC, is also the creation of Mr. Kreamer. The "i" stands for "I am the music at MUSC."
Outpatient Clinic Volunteering
Volunteers assist nursing in providing patients with appropriate diversional activities and play opportunities to help minimize the stress and anxiety of the clinical and hospital setting; while assisting to meet the needs of the patient, parents, family, and Children’s Services Departments. Locations available in Rutledge Tower, North Charleston After Hours Care and Summerville After Hours Care.
The Children's Hospital welcomes dogs and their handlers to serve as volunteers as well. The handlers must go through the normal volunteer process and the dogs must be registered by a recognized national pet therapy organization. The pet visits reduce the stress and anxiety for the patients and their families and also create an atmosphere of fun for everyone.
Special Care Nursery
Our tiniest patients receive comfort and soothing touch from our volunteers in the level II and III nurseries. Volunteer involvement is critical for the physical and emotional development of these babies. Parents cannot always be present to provide the constant touch and interaction necessary for these babies to thrive. Placements are available in two to three hour shifts daily from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Unit-based volunteers are placed on inpatient units to support staff to interact with children as well as support the clinical staff with responsibilities, such as:
- Providing companionship to patients and their families
- Sitting with patients when parents are unable to be there
- "Rounding" on families to assure comfort needs are being met
- Assisting with discharges
- Assisting staff with phones and call bells
Unit-based Volunteer Placements include:
- 7East: General medical/ surgical unit for children four and older
- 7A: General medical/ surgical unit for children under four
Gentle Journeys is a respite program for patients with life threatening illnesses and their families in partnership with the palliative care team, pastoral care and child life department. Volunteers provide consistent support to the patient and family while they are here up until the time of death, if necessary. Volunteers must have six months experience at the Children's Hospital to apply. All Gentle Journey Volunteers are carefully screened and trained to provide comfort and enrichment to the quality of life of our patients and families. Massage, music and professional photography are also incorporated into Gentle Journeys.
Thursdays are a very special day at MUSC Children's Hospital! If you walk through the halls between the hours of 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., you will probably see volunteers pushing the Happy Wheels cart. This cart carries new books and toys to all of the children in the hospital each week. Each child is given the opportunity to "shop" for that something special on the cart that will hopefully make their stay more tolerable. The children look forward each week to the Happy Wheels cart coming around and stopping by their room. Volunteers are rewarded by bright smiles, and happy faces as the children choose their gift. No one wants to miss out on the Happy Wheels cart. What a difference a Thursday can make!
Outpatient Oncology Clinic
Volunteers serve in the oncology clinic playroom providing one-on-one and group activities for the children who visit the clinic. This is very similar to the atrium placement. Volunteers are scheduled on the clinic’s busiest days to support the Child Life Specialists.
Short-term volunteer opportunities are designed for people who may not have the ability to commit to a weekly placement. Our short-term volunteer opportunities include:
Through the Family Meals Program we serve meals to families who are staying at the hospital with their children or are commuting daily. This program meets a couple of needs:
- It minimizes the financial impact of hospitalization on the family.
- Offers members of our community the opportunity to be involved without having to go through the formal volunteer process which normally takes 4 to 5 weeks.
The program has grown tremendously since its inception – from a group serving one Saturday morning a month to many groups serving meals as often as three days a week.
The Heart Health program supports children and adolescents (ages 2 to 21), who enroll in the family-oriented educational program to learn tools to prevent cardiovascular health problems by making better choices and living healthier lives. For more information, please contact Janet Carter via email or 843-792-4717.
Due to the sensitive nature of our patient population, all donations must come from a smoke-free environment. Learn more about our donation guidelines (including items on our wish list).
Ryan's Case for Smiles
Ryan's Cases for Smiles started when Cindy Kerr's son was diagnosed with cancer in 2002 and she began making pillowcases to brighten up his hospital room and to put a smile on his face. He loved it and so she began making pillowcases for other children on the Oncology Unit at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. As a result of the positive response from her local hospital, Cindy began the non-profit ConKerr Cancer: A Case for Smiles. Local volunteers have joined the effort to provide pillowcases for our young patients. If you would like to get involved, the pattern can be downloaded from the Ryan's Cases for Smiles website.
Similar to child-friendly pillowcases, we offer a variety of fun, friendly scrub hats for children preparing for surgery or undergoing a Video EEG test. If you would like to get involved, please follow these instructions.
The Child Life Department has expressed an urgent need for homemade, blank therapy dolls. Patients are often apprehensive about what to expect during their hospital stay and are encouraged to decorate and personalize their dolls as a part of their treatment process. Not only can these dolls be used to help develop a friendly, open rapport between children and hospital staff through play and activities, but they are also useful tools in preparing children for their treatments. The dolls enable staff to assess a child’s perceptions and feelings in a non-threatening manner, while also demonstrating clinical tasks, such as showing the child where injections or surgical incisions will occur. If you are interested in creating therapy dolls, please follow these instructions and use this pattern.
Knitting & Crocheting Projects
New, soft blankets for full-term babies, older children, and parents are always welcome. The dimensions for these should be between 30” x 36” and 44” x 60.”
We love donations of hats and blankets for preemies and full term babies and get more of these than anything else. If you are thinking about making hats or blankets, please see if there are any other projects you may be interested in.
We have talented craftspeople who have time to give, but do not have the means to purchase supplies to do so. Any donations of fabric, yarn, or stuffing is greatly appreciated and will be distributed to people wishing to complete projects.