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  1. How do I find out more about the volunteer positions you have available?
  2. Do you provide training to volunteers?
  3. Will volunteering help my chances of gaining paid employment elsewhere?
  4. What other benefits do I get as a volunteer?
  5. What social activities do you offer volunteers?
  6. Do you have regular email newsletters?
  7. Who do I talk to if I want more information?
  8. What characteristics and skills do you seek in volunteers?
  9. In what ways do volunteers directly support and assist kids and their families?
  10. Do you have any roles that have less responsibility, because I work casually, and sometimes I am called in to work at the last moment?
  11. I have read through the volunteer positions that you offer, but none of them suit my skills and interest, yet, I really want to help the cause. What can I do to help?
  12. Who can volunteer to help SHINE for Kids?
  13. I had never thought about how children are affected by parents being in jail. Just how many children are affected in NSW?
  14. What are the skills that all your volunteers have in common?
  15. What's so special about volunteering with SHINE for Kids?
  16. I don't want to work directly with children. Do you have administration or other types of work I could help out with?
  17. As a volunteer will I have to enter a prison?
  18. By what insurance am I covered?
  19. How do I volunteer?
  20. What is the screening process for volunteers?
  21. What is the best way for me to prepare myself for the volunteer interview?
  22. What should I bring with me to my interview?
  23. Do you accept all volunteers who apply?
  24. How many hours do I have to work?
  25. What is the maximum number of hours I can work?
  26. Are volunteers ever dismissed?
  27. What does it cost to become a volunteer?

How do I find out more about the volunteer positions you have available?

All volunteer positions are on the website or you can call or email for an information package which provides volunteers roles, application forms, and general information on SHINE for Kids volunteering@shineforkids.org.au
Central West: phone (02) 6328 9900
Sydney and South Windsor: phone (02) 9714 3020


Do you provide training to volunteers?

Yes, we regularly offer training to our volunteers. Read the training page for specific details of past, present and future training opportunities.


Will volunteering help my chances of gaining paid employment elsewhere?

Yes, many of our volunteers are students seeking to gain professional skills and hands on work experience for their CV. Others are at a cross roads in their career and are seeking to try before they buy, so to speak. This work is beneficial to students studying in areas as vast as child care; psychology, social work, education, and justice for hands on work experience. Volunteering is great way to work hands on in a new area to help work out their future career direction. On top of that, our volunteers are offered a variety of professional training opportunities to extend their skills. In addition, many employers are impressed with people who have volunteer experiences under their belt as it demonstrated their dedication and indicated they are not afraid of hard work.


What other benefits do I get as a volunteer?

Most volunteers are issued name badges and T-shirts, lunch vouchers, voting rights as members, input into agency change an brainstorming opportunities to name a few of the benefits.

Personal benefits include:

  • An opportunity to assist children
  • An opportunity to give back to the community
  • A personal sense of achievement
  • Social contact
  • Mental stimulation
  • Provide meaning to your life
  • Assisting with a caring and worthwhile cause where there is great need

Professional benefits include:

  • A helpful start for re-entering the workforce
  • A positive contribution to your resume
  • Beneficial to students studying in areas as vast as child care; psychology, social work, education, and justice for hands on work experience
  • An opportunity to gain skills working beside trained professionals
  • An opportunity to gain hands on experience in assessment skills, and to contribute and discuss your opinions and ideas
  • An opportunity to try out or sample a new career before investing in retraining yourself

What social activities do you offer volunteers?

Many volunteer roles are an opportunity to socialise and form lifelong friendships, as are our volunteer training and discussion sessions, Annual Christmas party and Annual Volunteer of the Year Awards Ceremony.


Do you have regular email newsletters?

Yes, we have a regular organisational newsletter emailed out to all volunteers. Is a great way to stay up to date with latest announcements, volunteer and training opportunities and the list goes on.


Who do I talk to if I want more information?

For Sydney and South Windsor inquiries call Jeni on Monday, Thursday and Friday -
phone (02) 9714 3020
For Central West call Lorraine on Mondays – phone (02) 6328 9900


What characteristics and skills do you seek in volunteers?

  • Suitability to work with children
  • Reliability and commitment
  • Initiative and common sense - be on the lookout for child's safety and best interests
  • Non-judgmental attitude to clients
  • Able to relate to children in a manner that is free from religious overtones or moral judgments
  • Diplomacy and discretion while working with NSW Corrective Services
  • Have clear personal boundaries
  • Able to act in a professional manner
  • Able to maintain client confidentiality and privacy
  • Parenting skills are highly sought-after
  • Not reacting to children's outbursts of swearing or frustration
  • Understanding and awareness of how our clients are doing it hard
  • Compassion for our kids and family circumstances

In what ways do volunteers directly support and assist kids and their families?

500 families per year in NSW obtain support from SHINE for Kids. Volunteers help with the following core services: transport to prisons, video conferencing, activity and family days, groupwork and day trips, child care, drop-in centre and mentoring.

Volunteers contribute to strengthening the resilience of the family unit with early intervention strategies including:

  • assisting children develop an understanding of their emotions
  • developing family coping strategies for shame anger loss over absent and incarcerated parent/s
  • assisting with prison visits for continuity of parental contact
  • linking families to support services
  • educating positive parenting skills on a local level

Do you have any roles that have less responsibility, because I work casually, and sometimes I am called in to work at the last moment?

Yes, certainly some of our volunteer roles suit people who are not able to commit to certain dates. Most of these roles are cyber based or administration based support. So you can either work at home in your pyjamas or come into the office when it suits you. All of these roles can be found on the Sydney, Central west or South Windsor pages and include, fundraising, internet research, marketing and PR, working in our library, conducting evaluation surveys, collecting small donations, administration support, scoping new projects, writing press releases and the list goes on


I have read through the volunteer positions that you offer, but none of them suit my skills and interest, yet, I really want to help the cause. What can I do to help?

We are more than happy to talk with you and create a special role just for you. You need to have a think about the skills you have and where your interests lie and then we can develop a role for you that helps to extend and expand our organisation. You could write a children's book, update our policy and procedures, assist with audits, provide training, research what other organisations are doing on this issue throughout the world, create a database for us. The only limit is our imaginations.


Who can volunteer to help the SHINE for Kids?

We seek skilled volunteers (usually with experience working with children) and consider all volunteer applications in assessing your suitability for various volunteer roles. In addition, some of our volunteer roles are non child focussed and concentrate on supporting the daily operations of the organisation.


I had never thought about how children are affected by parents being in jail. Just how many children are affected in NSW?

Two separate research papers have recently been released that suggest 14,500 and 60,000 in NSW alone.


What are the skills that all your volunteers have in common?

  • Compassion for the situations in which families find themselves
  • An interest in social justice and change
  • A non-judgmental attitude
  • A willingness to help and support
  • Some volunteers enjoy working with toddlers, children and teens other prefer non-child-focused roles in administration

What's so special about volunteering with SHINE for Kids?

SHINE for Kids is a unique organisation offering unique and personalised volunteer roles. We are open to all kinds of people who want to volunteer and have something to give back to the community- in our case children who have a parent in prison. We know that some people are interested in gaining professional skills and hands on work experience for their CV or simply to help work out which way their career should go. While others have skills and talents that they want to utilise while volunteering, be it arts and crafts, IT, cyber research, initiating new projects, media promotions or fundraising great and small.


I don't want to work directly with children. Do you have administration or other types of work I could help out with?

Not all our volunteers roles work directly with children. Read more about the roles on offer in your geographical area on the Sydney, Central west or South Windsor pages. Here are some examples: fundraising, internet research, marketing and PR, working in our library, conducting evaluation surveys, collecting small donations, administration support, scoping new projects, writing press releases and the list goes on.

And remember, we are more than happy to talk with you and create a special role just for you. You need to have a think about the skills you have and where your interests lie and then we can develop a role for you that helps to extend and expand our organisation. You could write a children's book, update our policy and procedures, assist with audits, provide training, research what other organisations are doing on this issue throughout the world, create a database for us. The only limit is our imaginations.


As a volunteer will I have to enter a prison?

Only some volunteer rules entail going inside prisons. These include: Transports, Activity days, and child care in the Activity Centre. You are supported and trained because we understand going into a prison for the first time can be a daunting experience.


By what insurance am I covered?

All volunteers are covered by Volunteer Personal Accident Insurance and motor vehicle insurance while you are doing prescribed volunteer work within your volunteer position description. All SHINE for Kids centres are covered by public liability insurance.


How do I volunteer?

Volunteering for SHINE for Kids is a simple 3-step process set out in our section How to Volunteer.


What is the screening process for volunteers?

All volunteers are interviewed and reference checks will be carries out. All volunteers who have contact with children must complete the following forms:

  • SHINE for kids Volunteer Application Form
  • Authorised Visitor – Standard of Conduct Agreement
  • Request for an authority to enter Correctional Centres
  • Corrective Services Confidentiality release form
  • Corrective Services Criminal Record Inquiry
  • Attachment 4: The Working with Children Check

What is the best way for me to prepare myself for the volunteer interview?

Before attending the interview make sure you have a think about how you would like to help – and don't limit yourself to the position descriptions that are listed in full – and also about the skills and talent that you have.


What should I bring with me to my interview?

Please note: Most of our forms require your signature to be witnessed by a SHINE for Kids representative, therefore, do not sign your forms before attending your interview.

To successfully complete all the Correctives forms you need to provide two things:

  1. Two colour passport photos – both need to be signed by you and your name clearly printed on them.
  2. Proof of residential address – the easiest way is to show your driver's licence. However, if you do not have a driver's licence, you will need to provide two original documents that show your name and current address (e.g. rent slip, mobile phone bill, bank statement etc). These will be photocopied and returned to you.

Do you accept all volunteers who apply?

No, occasionally we are unable to accept a volunteer application. The reasons are many and varied but the most common reasons are:

  • There are no appropriate volunteer roles being available at the time
  • The volunteer does not have the personal qualities we are looking for in our workers
  • The volunteer has not successfully passed the Working with Children Check or the Correctives Services background checks
  • There may be a conflict of interest

How many hours do I have to work?

There are no set hours. We will work with you to fit with your lifestyle and other commitments. As a guide, most volunteers work a 5 hours day.


What is the maximum number of hours I can work?

Well, you're a volunteer, not a paid worker, so we like to limit the hours to 21 per week. In practice our volunteers would never work more than 14 hours on any one week and they would never regularly work this many hours. The average volunteer shift is 5 hours long.


Are volunteers ever dismissed?

On the very rare occasion, the answer is yes.

  • This decision is usually made in the interests of children’s emotional and physical safety due to unprofessional behaviour around clients.
  • If a volunteer is repeatedly unreliable in a volunteer role that demands commitment for the service to properly operate, then we would discuss with the volunteer about a placement in another volunteer area.
  • Some volunteers might need to have time off from volunteering until their other commitments settle down again, and this is fine. Our volunteer program allows for up to 6 months time off.

What does it cost to become a volunteer?

The only cost is providing two passport photos and, if your primary role is Transporting, you will need to obtain your driving record from the RTA.

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