“May I never get too busy in my own affairs that I fail to respond to the needs of others with kindness and compassion.”
Thomas Jefferson

Thank you for your interest in volunteering at Westchester Institute for Human Development!

We are so pleased that you are considering becoming a part of the WIHD team.  The professional staff welcomes your assistance with our Child Welfare Program and our Department of Assisted Technology, and we want you to know that the time you commit to WIHD will have a direct impact on improving lives.

If you have any questions, or would like to volunteer, please contact:

Donna Lombardi
Executive Assistant, Office of the President & CEO
(914) 493-8204 or dlombardi@wihd.org

Listed below are descriptions of volunteer opportunities available for you to consider.  Please take a minute to read through and select the opportunity that interests you!

Child Welfare Program Volunteer Opportunities

Waiting Area Volunteers
Children in foster care come to WIHD for a variety of appointments including individual, sibling and group therapy, parenting services, speech/language services and medication management.  Volunteers would engage children in the waiting area while they are in between appointments and awaiting transportation or while their clinician meets with their caregiver.  Engagement activities could include reading stories aloud, supervising homework for older children, helping with coloring/art projects, etc.  Volunteers should be comfortable working with children of all ages as well as with children who might have emotional or behavioral challenges.  Ideally, two volunteers will staff each shift and volunteers would commit to come to WIHD for one at least (1) one-hour shift per week.

Hours
Monday – Friday, 2 – 5 pm
Wednesday, 9 am – noon
Alternating Fridays, 9 am – noon

Training
Volunteers will meet with a representative of the Child Welfare Program staff in advance of their first volunteer session for approximately 30 minutes.  This will afford volunteers an opportunity to take a tour of the Child Welfare facility as well as learn more details about WIHD’s programs.  Additionally, volunteers will sign appropriate paperwork with the WIHD personnel department in accordance with state and federal regulations.

Parent Support Group Volunteers
On the 2nd Tuesday of every month, parents who have adopted children from the foster care system attend a two-hour support group.  One volunteer is needed to supervise the children during these sessions and responsibilities could include homework supervision, reading, etc.  Currently, children in the group range in age from six to eight years old but the group’s members are subject to change.

Hours
2nd Tuesday of the month, 6:30 – 8:30 pm

Training
Volunteers will meet with a representative of the Child Welfare Program staff in advance of their first volunteer session for approximately 30 minutes.  This will afford volunteers an opportunity to take a tour of the Child Welfare facility as well as learn more details about WIHD’s programs.  Additionally, volunteers will sign appropriate paperwork with the WIHD personnel department in accordance with state and federal regulations.

Inventory supervisor, Psychological Testing Materials
One volunteer is needed on a monthly basis to assist with cataloguing/maintaining inventory of the psychological testing.

Inventory supervisor, Toys, Games, Therapeutic Aids
One volunteer is needed on a monthly basis to assist with organizing and maintaining the inventory of the materials used in the 9 therapy rooms.

Shift
One morning a month

Training
Volunteers will meet with a representative of the Child Welfare Program staff in advance of their first volunteer session for approximately 30 minutes.  This will afford volunteers an opportunity to take a tour of the Child Welfare facility as well as learn more details about WIHD’s programs.  Additionally, volunteers will sign appropriate paperwork with the WIHD personnel department in accordance with state and federal regulations.

Helping Hands
The Child Welfare staff has a long tradition of supporting its children and their families not only through direct therapies and treatment but also through special giving initiatives.  Typically, staff collects donations to stuff back to school backpacks, distribute toys during the holidays, etc.  The staff would welcome volunteers to help with these special projects on an as-needed basis.

Assisted Technology’s Senior Program Volunteer Opportunities

The Staff of the Assisted Technology Department are in need of two volunteers to assist in their AT Loan Programs.

The Senior Program, or MFP loan program, is designed to help seniors remain in their residence and/or transition back home from a nursing or rehab facility.  WIHD loans equipment at no charge for an eight week period for evaluative purposes.  Most of the equipment loans are extended beyond the initial loan period, affording seniors an opportunity to “try before you buy.”  Dutchess County is a new region for WIHD’s Senior Program and staff needs to reach out to four facilities* and provide hands-on time with the equipment.

Volunteers will become familiar with the equipment that is loaned (primarily seating, mobility, daily living, hearing and visual supports.)  The equipment is of a type typically used by parents/grandparents living at home—walking supports, amplified phones, portable ramps, etc.  Information and device demonstrations/training will be scheduled for volunteers.  Volunteers would be supplied with equipment, brochures, and detailed equipment lists to meet with seniors, their families, and caregivers in the community.  Primary duties would be educating them on what is available, demonstrating the equipment, and sharing knowledge on what they think they should be purchasing.  For example, a person with a hearing aid might experience buzzing feedback on a typical phone with volume control; a volunteer would recommend that they consider an amplified phone.

Timing for visits would be coordinated with the individual facility. The facilities* which have been identified as needing volunteer visits are:

*Hudson Valley Home Matters, Poughkeepsie

*Rhinebeck at Home, Rhinebeck

*Friendship Centers (sites are located in Poughkeepsie, Rhinebeck, Millerton, South Amenia, East Fishkill, Pawling, and Beacon.

Next Steps ….
Donna Lombardi will be coordinating both the scheduling and state-required paperwork for the program.  Please contact Donna either by email (dlombardi@wihd.org) or phone (914) 493-8204 and she will provide you with the necessary information.  Thanks again for joining the WIHD Team and working to create better futures for all individuals!