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FAQs About Our Program

How old do I have to be to volunteer?
I'm currently a patient. Can I volunteer?
Do you allow "summer" volunteers?
How often is Volunteer Orientation?
What can I expect from Volunteer Orientation?
What is the process for becoming a volunteer?
Do you complete background checks?
Do I need to complete the Immunization/Health Assessment Form?
What is the tuberculosis (TB) baseline testing process?
Besides the two orientation sessions, will I need to return to SCCA for any reason?
Will I be guaranteed placement in my first role choice?
I've attended orientation – what's next?
Can I continue volunteering beyond my three-month commitment?
Do I still need to attend orientation if I’m interested in the Healing Music Program?
 

How old do I have to be to volunteer?

The minimum age to volunteer at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA) is 18 years old for most volunteer roles. We require Child Life Volunteers and Driver Volunteers to be at least 21 years old.

I'm currently a patient. Can I volunteer?

If you are a patient and would like to volunteer with us, thank you for your enthusiasm and willingness to give back! We ask that all General Oncology/Hematology patients wait at least one year after active treatment to become a volunteer. If you have received a bone marrow or stem cell transplant, we ask that you wait at least two years post-transplant to become a volunteer.

Do you allow "summer" volunteers?

We do not have a Summer Volunteer program, but if it works with your school and/or vacation schedule to attend orientation in early May and you can commit to at least three months of volunteering, we'd like for you to consider our program. Volunteers that attend the orientation in early May will need to commit to stay with us through the end of August. Volunteers who attend the sessions in July will need to commit through the end of November.

How often is Volunteer Orientation?

We offer new volunteer orientation in January, May, July, and October. Orientation consists of two mandatory three-hour sessions. If you are unable to attend both scheduled sessions, you will need to wait until the next quarterly orientation.

What can I expect from Volunteer Orientation?

Orientation is a general overview of the SCCA, our patient population, and our volunteer program. After completing orientation, you will interview for a specific volunteer role and then complete role-specific training. Included in the orientation is time to complete medical compliance with our Occupational Health nurses. The service descriptions for all volunteer roles are posted on this website for you to become familiar with prior to orientation. Please contact us if you have specific questions about a volunteer role.

What is the process for becoming a volunteer?

Please complete the PDF application form and return it to us prior to the application deadline prior to each orientation – we use the contact information on your application to send you details about the orientation and will confirm your attendance. You'll then attend the two orientation sessions, meet one-on-one with an Occupational Health nurse and complete medical compliance, meet with your role's supervisor for an interview, then complete role-specific training.

Do you complete background checks?

Yes, we complete national background checks on all of our volunteers. In addition, Driver Volunteers will have an abstract run on their driving record.

Do I need to complete the Immunization/Health Assessment Form?

Yes. Please return this, along with any immunization records you have, with your application prior to the deadline. This will allow our Occupational Health nurses the opportunity to review your records and determine what, if any, blood draws (titers) or vaccinations you need to meet our medical requirements. There is no need to visit your medical provider to receive these vaccinations – we will provide any blood draw or vaccination that is required at no cost to you. If you are unable to provide documentation of previous vaccinations, we can easily perform a blood draw to determine proof of immunization.

What is the tuberculosis (TB) baseline testing process?

New volunteers are required to perform a two-step TB baseline test. At the first orientation session, you will receive an initial TB shot in your forearm and you will need to return to SCCA to have this read 48-72 hours later. You'll receive the second TB shot at the second orientation session, which will also need to be read 48-72 hours later. You will only need to do this two-step process as a new volunteer. After a volunteer's anniversary in our program, will need to only have a single TB test and reading annually.

Besides the two orientation sessions, will I need to return to SCCA for any reason?

In order to complete the medical requirement of the two-step TB baseline testing, you will need to return to SCCA between 48-72 hours after each TB shot to have it read. You will also need to return for the informal interview with your supervisor. A complete list of this process and the dates involved are listed on the front cover of the application. You will receive these dates again in your confirmation email prior to orientation.

Will I be guaranteed placement in my first role choice?

Prior to each orientation, we assess the needs of all of our volunteer roles. If it is determined that there aren't any openings in the role that you are most interested in, we invite you to volunteer in another role until availability in your first choice opens up. In the event that there are more prospective volunteers in a particular role than there is space, we base placement in that role according to the date the volunteer's completed application was received. We do keep a wait list for many of our most popular roles.

I've attended orientation – what's next?

Once you have attended the two orientation sessions and all of your paperwork has been submitted, you will be scheduled to meet with your role's supervisor for an interview. Upon completion of all medical compliance requirements, you will then be scheduled for your role-specific training and volunteering.

Can I continue volunteering beyond my three-month commitment?

We require a commitment of at least three months with our program. Due to the time invested into your orientation and training, as well as the screening and medical costs we incur, we ask that you stay with our program for at least three months following the completion of your training. We hope you'll stay longer, though – we have volunteers who have been with us for close to 30 years!

Do I still need to attend orientation if I'm interested in the Healing Music Program?

Prospective Healing Music Volunteers have a different application and orientation process. Please refer to the application specific to Healing Music Volunteers for more information.