Finding the volunteer opportunity that best suits your skills, availability and expectations can make all the difference to you and your community.
Here are some of the great opportunities that MHA has available:
Volunteer Call Specialists provide information and referral, supportive listening and crisis intervention working in MHA’s Call Center, which operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Position requires 40 hours of training and 15 hours of apprenticeship in active listening skills, suicide prevention and special topics. Volunteers commit to working at least one, four-hour shift per week for one year. MUST be at least 18 years old.
For more information about becoming a Call Specialist, please contact Linda Myers at 301-663-0011 x 120 or via email.
Court Appointed Special Advocate
In Frederick and Carroll Counties, the Mental Health Association operates Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) and Voices for Children—programs that recruit, train and support citizen-volunteers to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children in courtrooms and communities. Volunteer advocates—empowered directly by the courts—offer judges the critical information they need to ensure that each child’s rights and needs are being attended to while in foster care. Volunteers stay with children until they are placed in loving permanent homes. For many abused children, a CASA volunteer is the only constant adult presence in their lives.
Any mature, responsible, caring and sensitive adult, at least 21 years of age can become a CASA. The Mental Health Association welcomes CASA volunteers from all cultural, professional, ethnic, and educational backgrounds.
A CASA volunteer must complete an extensive screening process by submitting a CASA volunteer application, completing interviews, supplying a State/FBI fingerprint background check, passing the State Child Abuse/Neglect Registry background check, and providing personal references.
A CASA volunteers undergo a 30 hour initial training process and must complete 12 hours of ongoing training per year.
Training includes the following topics:
- Laws about child abuse and neglect
- The court and social services systems
- Family and child development
- Communication skills
- Cultural competency
- Special needs of abused and neglected children
CASA volunteers have considerable flexibility in scheduling their interviews and telephone calls. However, the CASA must be available to attend court hearings. Over the average case involvement of one year, a CASA volunteer may expect to spend an average of two hours per week working on a case.
CASA volunteer offers a child trust and advocacy during complex legal proceedings. The CASA encourages the child to express his or her own opinions and hopes, while remaining an objective observer and advocating for what is in the child’s best interest.
For more information about the CASA program in Frederick County or Voices for Children, our Carroll County CASA program, please contact Jennifer Fuss at 301-663-0011 ex. 118, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the National CASA website. If you are interested in becoming a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer, please fill out and submit the CASA Volunteer Application online here.
Supervised Visitation / Monitored Transfer
Providing children with opportunities for safe, conflict-free access to non-residential parents and promoting the building and strengthening of healthy family bonds. If you share our commitment to helping families and children, we would love to hear from you. The Visitation Center is recruiting volunteers to observe and monitor visits at our supervised visitation and monitored transfer center. Observers are responsible for providing a safe and positive place for children to visit with their non-custodial parents. They facilitate interactions between parents and children as needed, perform interventions necessary to protect the safety of children and to enforce program policy and take observational notes summarizing the interactions of visits.
Volunteer requirements include:
- You be at least 20 years of age
- You be screened through an application and interview process
- You complete an FBI criminal history check and a Child Protective Services background check
- You complete training which includes an initial 3 hour training and monthly 2 hour trainings
- You complete 6 hours shadowing an established volunteer and at least 3 hours of reverse shadowing
- You commit to at least 4 hours per month of volunteer time
- You be available on either Monday evenings from 6-8 pm, Thursday evenings from 5-8 pm OR Sundays anywhere between 1-6 pm
For more information about becoming a volunteer with Supervised Visitation / Monitored Transfer program, please contact Julie Machesky at 301-663-0011 x 138 or via email.
We have an array of special events that occur throughout the year including the Catoctin Affair and the Children’s Festival. A wide variety of time commitments and expertise levels are needed from event day volunteers to committees that meet regularly in the months leading up to an event.
For more information about becoming a Special Events volunteer, please contact our main office at 301-663-0011.