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  • Volunteer at Dana-Farber

    Frequently Asked Questions

    volunteer Carol Hancock  

    What do volunteers do?

    Volunteers provide service in many areas throughout Dana-Farber, including serving lunch to adult patients, locating information and resources for patients in resource rooms, volunteering in the Friends Corner Gift shop or Friends' Place, delivering newspapers, providing support in administrative offices, and, when available, assisting researchers in the labs. Other placements may be available. Please refer to the Volunteer Opportunities section for more information.

    Where would I be volunteering?

    We will place you in a volunteer placement that meets the needs of Dana-Farber and our patients. We take into account your skills, abilities, schedule and interests when considering you for a placement.

    Would I be in an office or have patient contact?

    You will be in a placement that meets our needs and your interests, skills and abilities. There are opportunities to volunteer in office environments or working directly with patients. Volunteers are flexible to assist wherever help is needed. We will determine your placement at the time of the interview.

    Who volunteers at Dana-Farber?

    Our volunteers range in age from 16 to 90 years of age. Our volunteers come from a variety of backgrounds, from students, working professionals, retired individuals and many others with connections to Dana-Farber and the surrounding community. Cancer has touched many volunteers' lives, whether through a family member, friend or personal history. Our students volunteer to gain valuable exposure to a healthcare environment. We have patients, too, who give back for the compassionate care they received while in treatment.

    What is the age requirement to volunteer?

    Volunteers must be at least 18 years of age to volunteer at Dana-Farber. We do offer a summer Junior Volunteer Program only for high school students, 16 to 18 years of age. We do not accept students less than 18 years of age during the academic year.

    Are there special student volunteer programs?

    Learn more about the Junior Volunteer Program 

    Are there opportunities for the summer?

    Yes, we do have volunteer opportunities for the summer. Junior Volunteers, 16 to 18 years of age, volunteer one full day or two half days for a minimum of six weeks beginning the first week of July. Refer to this site for further information. All other volunteers can volunteer for one full day or two half days for 10 weeks.

    Are there internships?

    Unfortunately, Volunteer Services does not place individuals in internship programs. The scope of our service is volunteer service only. Please refer to this site for explanations on the available volunteer assignments.

    What hours can I expect to volunteer?

    Dana-Farber is an outpatient facility, primarily operating during normal business hours. Volunteers commit to one, four-hour weekly shift per week, during our business hours of 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. When available, the Blum Resource Center has evening and weekend hours in the inpatient resource room at Brigham and Women's Hospital.

    Are there evening and weekend placements?

    Yes, the only assignment is in the inpatient Blum Resource Room at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH). All other volunteer assignments are during the day, Monday through Friday. Volunteers selected for the resource room assignment at BWH will interview with the director of Volunteers at Dana-Farber and attend the BWH Volunteer Services Orientation.

    What is the volunteer commitment?

    We ask all volunteer applicants to commit to a four-hour weekly shift for a minimum period of six months. Summer placements are available, with an expected commitment of eight hours per week.

    How do I apply for volunteer service?

    There are a few ways to apply. You can apply directly online through this website. We will then review your application and contact you for interview. Please complete the application in its entirety. We cannot consider incomplete applications. You may also download our application and mail it to us. You can contact our office at 617-632-3307, and we will mail you an application.

    Do I have to interview for a volunteer placement?

    All volunteer applicants interview with the director of Volunteer Services before attending a volunteer orientation. The purpose of the interview is to assess your interests, skills, availability, as well as have an opportunity to get to know you while understanding your motives to volunteer. We encourage you to learn more about Dana-Farber through our Web site. We ask that you come prepared to discuss your interests to volunteer for Dana-Farber and how you wish to volunteer your time. Volunteering at Dana-Farber is a major commitment in your life, so we suggest learning about our organization and the array of volunteer opportunities by visiting this site.

    What are the requirements to volunteer?

    All volunteer applicants complete the following before going to a volunteer orientation. We ask that you consider all these requirements when you make a decision to join our program.

    • All volunteers will interview with the director of Volunteer Services.
    • If selected, the volunteer applicant will authorize Volunteer Services to conduct a criminal background screening check. Volunteers must present valid government issued picture identification, such as a driver's license or passport. Non U.S. citizens may present a green card or a passport from their country of origin with a valid visa.
    • Volunteers will complete a pre-placement health screening with the office of Occupational Health Services (OHS). This includes documenting immunity to measles, German Measles, chickenpox and tetanus. Volunteers must also have two tuberculosis (TB) skin tests: one within three months and one within 12 months of start date. OHS provides any testing free of charge. They are open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. for health screenings. Mass. Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control mandate pre-placement health screenings; in addition to an annual TB review. We strive to provide a safe environment for our patients, staff, volunteers and contractors.
    • Once complete the above requirements, volunteers attend a volunteer orientation. At that time, you will orient to Dana-Farber, Volunteer Services and mandated procedures and policies, like patient confidentiality, infection control, age-based competency and cultural sensitivity.

    How do I volunteer for Jimmy Fund events?

    Hundreds of people volunteer annually for various fundraising events, like the Jimmy Fun Walk, Scooper Bowl, Movie Theater Can Drive, and various golf tournaments. To learn more about these events, refer to the Jimmy Fund website at or contact them at 800-52-JIMMY (54669).

    To volunteer for the Pan Massachusetts Challenge, refer to their website or contact them at or 800-we-cycle.

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