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Volunteer Opportunities

  • Larry Cohen

  • Please inquire with Volunteer Services for the availability of all placements at Dana-Farber. Placements are based on the current needs of the departments.

    Positions available only to patients and family members

    If you are a patient, former patient, or the family member of a patient, you can apply to join one of our patient and family councils:

    Adult Patient and Family Advisory Council
    Pediatric Patient and Family Advisory Council

    You can also apply to volunteer in one of our support programs that link new patients with volunteers who have already experienced diagnosis and treatment:

    One-to-One: Support for Cancer Patients
    Soulmates

    Remote Program opportunities are sometimes available; please apply for more information.

    Open volunteer positions

  • Summary

    Patients and families often find themselves overwhelmed, lost, and unaware of the many resources available to them at Dana-Farber and in the Boston area. It can be difficult to navigate a complex system while balancing the physical and emotional tolls of illness. Friendly support, guidance, and access to helpful information can help ease anxiety and frustration; it can also help patients and families feel more in control of their experience and less overwhelmed. Patients and family members will feel welcomed, supported, aware of available resources, and assisted in finding their way. Patients and families will experience decreased anxiety, greater knowledge of available resources, and increased satisfaction with their overall care.

    Volunteer Responsibility

    The Ambassador Program seeks to provide patients, family members, visitors, and staff with friendly and helpful volunteers who offer directions within the Yawkey Center for Cancer Care (YCCC), throughout the Dana-Farber campus, and extending to Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) and Boston Children's Hospital (BCH); escort patients to appointments while helping answer questions along the way; provide one-on-one support to help a patient or family member — someone who might otherwise feel lost and overwhelmed; provide information about Dana-Farber programs and resources.

    Populations Served

    Primarily adult and pediatric patients and families, but staff and visitors as well.

    Duties

    Enhance the patient and family experience by:

    • Being visible in all patient entrances
    • Escorting patients and families to appointments, by foot or by pushing a wheelchair
    • Responding to calls or requests for Ambassadors from staff, departments, or Concierge
    • Providing comfort, support, and empathy
    • Maintaining confidentiality at all times
    • Helping patients interpret their "patient itinerary"
    • Providing directions within YCCC, throughout the Dana-Farber campus, and to BWH and BCH
    • Understanding patient flow to help patients and families understand the nature of their appointment day
    • Providing information about Dana-Farber programs as needed/requested
    • Directing patients and families to the appropriate program or resource for additional information
    • Checking in with the Shapiro Center and Concierge regarding any new or time-sensitive information
    • Reporting in regularly to Ambassador Team Leaders
    • Attending routine Ambassador meetings

    Essential Skills Needed

    • Warmth, caring, and sensitivity
    • Positive, friendly demeanor
    • Excellent interpersonal (listening and communication) skills
    • Excellent "customer service" skills
    • Ability to recognize and support the emotional needs of patients and their families
    • Healthy and appropriate boundaries
    • Comprehensive knowledge of Dana-Farber campus, as well as some knowledge of BWH and BCH campuses
    • Commitment, reliability, and flexibility
    • Sensitivity to multicultural, cultural, racial, economic, and gender diversity
    • Ability to follow directions and take supervision
    • Ability to be on feet for an extended period of time

    Volunteer Shifts

    Monday through Friday between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Shift times are 7-11 a.m.; 8 a.m.-12 p.m. 10 a.m.-2 p.m.; 12:30-4:30 p.m.Volunteers are expected to commit to one 4-hour shift for at least one year.

  • Position

    Health Educator Volunteer

    Summary

    The Blum Family Resource Center Van is a 39-ft. mobile health clinic that brings free Sun Safety and Skin Cancer Prevention education, as well as free skin cancer screenings to the general public, with a focus on at-risk and under-served communities. The van makes site visits to health centers, non-profit organizations, faith-based communities, special events, and outdoor venues (e.g., beaches, schools, and businesses) in and around the Boston area. People are able to visit the van and learn from health educators on how to prevent and detect skin cancer.

    Volunteer Responsibility

    Health Educators educate the public on how to stay safe in the sun while still enjoying its rays, and how to identify the warning signs for skin cancer, as well as ways to prevent it.

    Duties

    • The volunteer will arrive just prior to the start of the community event and will assist the Sun Safety Team with equipment set-up and preparing the van for visitors.
    • The main responsibility is to utilize the Sun Safety Program’s evidence-based curriculum to empower participants to obtain sun safety and skin cancer prevention information to make informed choices about their health.

    Essential Skills Needed

    • Volunteers demonstrate respect, awareness, sensitivity and support for diverse community initiatives and the populations of all ages that are being served.
    • Volunteers demonstrate clear active-listening skills and can stay focused while assisting visitors.
    • Volunteers are resourceful and flexible with their schedule, i.e. arrive at Blum Family Van sites 30 minutes prior to event.
    • Volunteer must be an objective person who will not personalize his or her own experiences.
    • Volunteers must demonstrate a readiness to help others and the ability to maintain healthy relationships with patients and visitors; this includes understanding the boundaries associated with a volunteer role.

    Shifts

    The Health Educator is expected to volunteer at least one day per week. Skin cancer prevention events often take place on weekdays during the summer, and weekends in spring and fall, lasting about four to six hours. Potential volunteers should have an interest in public health or preventive medicine, and a passion for under-served communities. Bilingual individuals are highly encouraged to apply. Volunteers interested in participating in our program will need to attend a two-hour training session and make the commitment to attend a minimum of 12 events during the spring, summer, and fall seasons. Transportation to events is provided from our main office location in Brookline.

    For questions about this position and to request an application please contact the Sun Safety Team at Blum_Van@dfci.harvard.edu.

  • Summary

    Funded by the Sidney Farber Volunteer Award of the Friends of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, the goal of the Book Cart is to establish a diversionary activity for patients. Recognizing the importance of providing a welcoming environment for patients and families, the book cart allows patients to choose from a host of reading materials while waiting for their appointment.

    Volunteer Responsibility

    Volunteers will travel throughout the adult clinics offering reading material for patients and their families. Volunteer will provide comfort to patients through conversation and general support, explaining the different services and programs that help the patients through their cancer journey.

    Population Served

    Adult patients and their families

    Duties

    • Report to Volunteer Services for assignment
    • Stock the book cart with materials, i.e. magazines, books, etc.
    • Volunteer may visit patients in the adult areas only
    • At the direction of the director of Volunteer Services, volunteers may visit patients at BWH
    • Volunteers will keep a log of materials given to patients and their families
    • Visit all clinics to seek out books left behind
    • Collect returned books from patients
    • Distribute newspapers and magazines to all adult clinics
    • Inform patients of the support services available to them by handing out various brochures and calendars

    Essential Skills Needed

    • Volunteers are warm, caring, sensitive individuals who display compassion to cancer patients.
    • Volunteers recognize the emotional needs of cancer patients and are able to connect with individuals from various cultural and diverse backgrounds.
    • You are a self-starter who can work independently with little direction and supervision.
    • You demonstrate clear active-listening communication skills and are able to maintain healthy, professional relationships with patients, while understanding the boundaries associated with a volunteer role.
    • You are an objective person and will not personalize your own experiences.
    • You will maintain a neat and friendly appearance.

    Physical Demands

    Must be able to push a 40 to 50 pound book cart

    Volunteer Shifts

    The Book Cart goes around the Institute, Monday through Friday, between 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Volunteers will volunteer three to four hours one day per week.

  • Chaplain associate volunteers are an essential service within the Center for Spiritual Care at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, providing spiritual and religious support to patients, families, and staff. Cancer can be a challenging and demanding experience, and chaplain associate volunteers – along with staff chaplains – are an integral part of the health care team offering spiritual care.

    To begin the application process, visit our Chaplaincy Volunteers webpage, where you can get complete information and can download the Chaplain Associate Volunteer application.

  • Position:

    Hospitality and Friendly Visitor

    Summary

    The Abraham D. Gosman Infusion Clinics provide infusion treatments for patients of the Dana-Farber/Partners Cancer Care. Well-trained nursing and medical experts treat adult patients with various cancers and related diseases in one of two clinical areas. Our clinics provide a warm, sensitive and positive atmosphere for all patients and their families.

    Volunteer Responsibility

    Volunteers in the infusion clinics provide a warm and welcoming presence for patients and their families and attend to patients' comfort needs. Volunteers provide refreshments and engage in friendly conversation with patients and their families.

    Population Served

    Adult patients and their families

    Duties

    • Circulate in the waiting areas and infusion rooms; offer drinks and refreshments to patients
    • Engage in friendly conversation with patients as deemed appropriate
    • Serve lunch to patients
    • Assist reception staff with greeting and welcoming patients
    • Escort patients to Dana-Farber areas
    • Maintain the nourishment center and waiting areas in a clean and orderly fashion
    • Circulate magazines, books and newspapers to patients

    Essential Skills Needed

    • Volunteers must demonstrate a readiness to help others and the ability to maintain healthy relationships with patients and visitors; this includes understanding the boundaries associated with a volunteer role.
    • Volunteers are warm, caring, sensitive individuals who display compassion to cancer patients.
    • Volunteers are self-starters who can work in a team-centered environment, as well as independently with little direction and supervision.

    Volunteer Shifts

    Monday through Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

  • Position

    Sales Volunteer

    Summary

    Volunteers who are happy to assist our customers in choosing that special gift for any occasion staff the Friends Corner Gift Shop. Volunteers have the opportunity to offer words of encouragement to patients living with cancer. We have enjoyed 25 successful years of offering these services and hope to continue for many more to come.

    All proceeds from the Gift Shop go directly toward patient care and research programs at Dana-Farber.

    Volunteer Responsibility

    • Greets and welcomes visitors to the gift shop; assist with sales.
    • Responsible for all aspects of payment processing, which requires sound knowledge of the basic principles of cashiering operation; handling cash sales, credit card sales, checks.
    • Answer phones and take telephone orders.
    • Provide feedback to staff members of any requests, or inquiries concerning the Gift Shop.
    • May assist in restocking, pricing, and straightening merchandise during slow business times.

    Essential Skills Needed

    We need dependable, reliable, attentive people who are willing to give a full day; 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., one day per week. Self direction is most helpful and a basic knowledge of a computerized cash register is also helpful but not necessary. You must be able to work in a team environment. We are looking for individuals interested in volunteer service and who want to help the Institute achieve a "world without cancer."

    Volunteer Shifts

    One day per week for a full day, 9:15 a.m. to 3:15 p.m., Monday through Friday.

  • Summary

    During the past several years, many Americans have embraced integrated therapies to combat a wide range of illnesses and health conditions. People with cancer and related diseases frequently use these approaches to alleviate symptoms such as nausea, fatigue, pain and anxiety. The Leonard P. Zakim Center for Integrated Therapies provide quality clinical services to patients and families, sponsor educational programs and training sessions, and conduct research studying these interventions.

    The Hands on Care Volunteer Program provides a complimentary, personal program for patients to increase satisfaction and enhance their quality of care. Trained volunteers, under the guidance of the licensed massage therapist, will provide a 15-minute hand massage. The service is the application of a gentle, tender, soothing, touch to the hands. This service is not a treatment.

    Objective

    Through the application of a gentle hand massage by trained volunteers, patients will experience comfort and care during their chemo therapy infusion treatments. Through this volunteer and patient interaction, we are looking for decreased anxiety and increased satisfaction in overall care of the patient.

    Populations Served

    Adult patients

    Duties

    • Obtain cart and get necessary items, i.e. towels, pillows, hand wipes, Purell, moisturizing lotion, etc.
    • Upon arriving on floor, check with the charge nurse or designate and obtain a list of names. Review the list with the charge nurse or designate and verify appropriateness of each patient indicated.
    • Identify the patient by verbally asking them at least two patient identifiers, first name, middle name, last name, date of birth or medical record number.
    • Introduce yourself to the patient and briefly describe the program.
    • Follow proper hand washing techniques before and after providing the hand massage.
    • Prepare patient for the moisturizing hand massage.
    • Follow operating procedures after session is completed.
    • Give the patient the evaluation form.
    • Document the patient's name and date in binder.
    • Restock the cart for the next volunteer.

    Essential Skills Needed

    • Warm, caring, sensitive individuals who display compassion to cancer patients
    • Able to recognize the emotional needs of cancer patients
    • Able to follow directions and take supervision
    • Able to work with patients and families in stressful situations while remaining empathetic and non-judgmental
    • Committed, reliable and flexible and able to provide at least a one-year commitment
    • Able to demonstrate abilities to support all adult patients; including sensitivity to cultural, ethnic and socio-economic differences
    • Excellent communicators who can work will all levels in the Institute, i.e. nursing, administrative, etc.
    • Objective and will not personalize their experiences with patients.
    • Able to demonstrate readiness on taking a volunteer role

    Physical Demands

    Must be able push a cart around 15 to 20 lbs, with the necessary supplies.

    Volunteer Shifts

    Volunteers will be available Monday through Friday during the hours of 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The expectation is that the volunteer be available for the same three-hour block, one day per week. This assignment is for one full year.

  • Summary

    As part of the ongoing efforts to integrate supportive resources into the patient and family experience, the Information Floor (IF) Specialist provides information, conducts surveys, and guides patients and families towards the most relevant services available given the patients’/families’ expressed interests and needs.

    The IF specialist will be located on the clinical floor, new patient areas, and resource centers – taking a proactive role in guiding patients to resource information. Volunteer Services and Blum staff work hand-in-hand with disease center staff to vet information presented, surveys/assessments to be conducted, and implementation of any special workshops or programs. The IF specialist will also be signing patients up for Patient Gateway and any other tasks that are directed by the disease center staff.

    Objective

    The goal of the IF Specialist is to increase knowledge and access to supportive resources available at Dana-Farber. The IF Specialist is also there to help patients and their families feel supported, welcomed, and informed, as they navigate a complex system during a difficult and stressful time. The IF Specialist will be familiar with Dana-Farber programs and resources and will be able to inform patients and families about where they can access services and materials.

    Qualifications

    The volunteer in this role:

    • Is compassionate, reliable, dependable, proactive, and self-directed
    • Demonstrates initiative and excellent communication skills; will be focused and attentive to this assignment
    • Demonstrates the ability to maintain patient confidentiality and good boundaries at all times
    • Demonstrates readiness to help others
    • Proactively seeks out patients and families to assist
    • Takes direction from disease center and resource center staff, when applicable
    • Has the ability to be on their feet for long periods of time
    • Understands policies of Dana-Farber and will wear designated name badge and/or jacket
    • Commits to any training session(s) assigned by Volunteer Services
    • Is non-judgmental, treating all patients and families equitably
    • Practices all aspects of Dana-Farber pre-defined inclusive behaviors

    Times Needed

    • 4-hour shift per week. Hours determined by Volunteer Services and disease center staff

    Duties and Responsibilities

    • Check in with floor staff upon arrival to the floor
    • Keep resource area/s neat and up-to-date
    • Answer questions and reach out as needed
    • Assist with way-finding on floor
    • Provide basic information about Dana-Farber support services
    • Conduct pre-determined surveys or gateway sign-ups
    • Conduct any new tasks assigned to this evolving position

    Training, orientation, and evaluation

    • Attend all Volunteer Services orientations and trainings
    • Attend ongoing training sessions on clinical floor and in Volunteer Services
    • Attend check-ins with floor staff and Volunteer Services
    • Participate in impact analysis of role effectiveness
  • Dana-Farber's Junior Volunteer Program is a highly competitive program accepting a small number of high school students aged 16 to 18. The program runs from the first week in July through mid-August. Applicants must be able to commit to one 8-hour day a week (8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.) for the full six weeks, and must also be available to attend or call in to a weekly meeting. We seek to accept a diverse group of highly motivated students from a multitude of backgrounds.

    Applications for the Junior Volunteer program are due by the first Friday in April, and must be submitted online.

    Junior volunteer application

  • Summary

    For patients and families dealing with a cancer diagnosis, connecting to someone who has "been there" can be a great source of comfort. Our One-to-One program links individuals who have already experienced diagnosis and treatment with those who are facing it for the first time.

    Requirements

    Must be ONE year out of active treatment

    Populations Served

    Adult patients and family members

    Volunteer Responsibility

    One-to-One volunteers are cancer survivors, caregivers, and family members who have completed specialized training. They talk to patients and families via telephone about the treatment experience, guide them through the hospital system, and discuss available resources.

    Most importantly, they help relieve fears and concerns because they understand what it's like to face cancer.

    Duties

    • Responding to the program coordinator in a timely manner when asked to connect with a patient or caregiver
    • Attend quarterly meetings and trainings for One-to-One
    • Submit Contact report forms to the program coordinator
    • Provide a listening ear to patients and family members that they are matched with

    Questions regarding the One-to-One volunteer role can be directed to Maritza Nassif, program coordinator, at onetoone@dfci.harvard.edu

    One-to-One volunteer application

  • If you are interested in volunteering at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute during the summer, please be advised of the following requirements:

    • Volunteers must serve two half-days (four hours each) or one full day (eight hours each) per week, for a minimum of 10 consecutive weeks, totaling 80 hours of service.
    • Once potential volunteers have completed the Summer Application Form, they will be contacted in early May to schedule an interview and continue with the application process.
    • Applications are due the first Friday of April.

    Summer volunteer application

  • How to apply to be a volunteer

    Volunteering at Dana-Farber is a rewarding and enriching experience. Institute staff, donors, and volunteers all work toward a common goal of defeating cancer.

    To apply for a volunteer position at Dana-Farber, individuals must submit a completed application:

    Online volunteer application

    A representative from our volunteer services office will contact you once your application has been reviewed.

    Additional information

    For more information, please contact Volunteer Services at:

    Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
    450 Brookline Avenue
    Boston, MA 02115
    Phone: 617-632-3307
    Email: volunteerservices@dfci.harvard.edu