Thinking about volunteering with children in Australia? Volunteering with children can provide lifelong skills that can be rewarding for both you and the child. Here is a list of things you may need to get started.
1) Blue Card.
This is needed for any paid or volunteer workers that will be working with children in Queensland. The purpose of the blue card system is to contribute to the creation of safe and supportive environments for children and young people when receiving services and participating in activities which are essential to their development and wellbeing, such as child care, education, sport and cultural activities. (https://www.bluecard.qld.gov.au/about.html)
2) Working with Children Check
Some states require you to have a working with children check and will review any criminal history that may pose a risk to children. There is no application fee for those who are applying as a volunteer. (https://www.kidsguardian.nsw.gov.au/child-safe-organisations/working-with-children-check/apply/apply)
Some organisations require references or referee contact details. Create a mini resume and contact referees before you start applying to ensure that you have these requirements ready to go.
4) Create an activity pack
Volunteering will usually require some form of learning (e.g. helping with their literacy and maths skills). Create an activity pack with books, games and puzzles as this will help education become fun and exciting. This is also a great tool to establish what the child's interests are- whether it is cars, music or sport.
Be respectful and understanding of those who have experienced any form of trauma. Usually, children who are in situations such as foster homes or domestic violence shelters have experienced or witnessed some form of abuse. Being respectful of their boundaries and understanding of their behaviours can have a huge impact on the relationship between you and the child.
Last but not least, have fun! The experiences and skills you learn whilst volunteering will transfer to every part of your life.
To see a list of where you can volunteer in Australia, please click here