Comer volunteer reading with a patient

Donate Your Time

At the University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children's Hospital, our volunteers are true stars — exceptional individuals who take the extra steps that make a difference in another person's life. They help in countless ways by making a child giggle. They comfort families who are worried about loved ones. Through deeds large and small, volunteers help patients and their families feel better during difficult times.

Why Volunteer?

Most volunteers say that the personal fulfillment that comes from helping another person is their greatest reward. Other volunteers look forward to the new friendships and camaraderie they share with fellow volunteers. Still others enjoy learning new skills.

In appreciation of the work and time our volunteers contribute, Comer Children's offers benefits to volunteers, including:

  • Annual Volunteers' Recognition Banquet 
  • Free health screenings
  • Free parking in the visitors' garage
  • Free skills training in volunteer work area

How to Join Our Volunteer Team

To become a volunteer, your first step is to submit an application. We will contact you within 30 business days of receiving your application to set up an interview if a volunteer opportunity is available. We are unable to accommodate group volunteering.

Complete a volunteer application and begin your path to volunteering

You must be in good health and at least 16 years old. Volunteers must be willing to receive an annual tuberculosis (TB) test and influenza vaccination and need to commit to four hours of service per week. Volunteer candidates must complete an application and interview, and must pass health-screening tests for tuberculosis, measles, German measles, chickenpox and illegal drugs.

Other Ways to Help

Many of our programs rely on donated items from our community. We are continuously accepting books, magazines and board games that are in good condition. Please contact our main office at 773-702-4421.

Volunteers do not take the place of salaried staff at the Comer Children's Hospital. Volunteer service is not intended in any way to lead to paid employment.

Ways to Volunteer

The following are a few examples of our volunteer program opportunities at the UChicago Medicine Comer Children’s Hospital.

Volunteers can cuddle babies in our neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) to provide comfort and aid in their development.

To be considered in this program, volunteers must:

  • Be 18 years of age or older
  • Complete 40 hours of service in our children’s playroom
  • Receive recommendation from the Child Life and Volunteer Services staff

At the University of Chicago Medicine Blood Donation Center, you may be able to help some of our patients by donating blood or platelets they need to recover. You may even be able to donate directly to a family or friend in need of a blood transfusion.

Volunteers provide administrative support in various departments within our medical center. Their assistance makes an invaluable contribution to the hospital’s daily operations. Tasks can include data entry, filing, office organization and creating pre-operative patient materials.

Volunteers must be able to come in during weekdays between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

Volunteering in the Pediatric Emergency Department (ED) allows you to gain experience working with children of all ages. Volunteers in the ED provide activities (toys, coloring sheets, etc.) to patients and their families in the waiting room and the exam rooms. Ongoing responsibilities include cleaning toys, making copies of coloring sheets and doing bedside visits with patients in the exam rooms.

To be considered in this program, volunteers must:

  • Be 18 years of age or older 
  • Complete 40 hours of service in our children’s playroom
  • Receive recommendation from the Child Life and Volunteer Services staff

At Comer Children’s Hospital, volunteers are paired with a child patient in our child life playroom. The playroom provides development activities that a child would normally do outside of the hospital setting. Activities include reading, arts and crafts and playing games. Playful activities offer our youngest patients a safe and fun escape from illness, tests and treatments. When a patient is unable to leave their hospital room, volunteers bring toys and games to the bedside.

Volunteers must be able to volunteer during set shifts.

Playroom shifts are: 

Monday through Thursday

  • 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • 1 to 4:30 p.m.
  • 4:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Friday

  • 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • 1 to 5:30 p.m.

Saturday and Sunday

  • 1 to 4:30 p.m.