Urbana’s Crisis Nursery is looking ahead — and looking for a few volunteers.
The emergency-based child care facility is open on a limited basis during the stay-at-home order, but when things open fully again, the organization will again need the help of volunteers.
And there’s no better time like National Volunteer Week (April 19-25) to seek those who can lend a hand.
“We’re still open technically but we’re only providing care for those families in which children are in immediate danger,” said Jill Duden, Crisis Nursery’s safe children coordinator. “I’m trying to look ahead a bit, to May hopefully, when we can start doing business like usual.”
Crisis Nursery is dedicated to the prevention of child abuse by providing 365-days-a-year, free childcare. It has 130-140 regular volunteers, about half of whom are students.
“We’re really just trying to bulk up our community members who live in this community year-round and are willing to volunteer regularly at the nursery to help fill the gaps left by the students, particularly this spring and summer,” Duden said. “We would anticipate for these regular volunteers to be (needed) hopefully in May or whenever the stay-at-home order is lifted. We do not have volunteers in the building regularly right now just because of the stay-at-home order and they’re not considered essential. I’m just trying to look ahead and plan ahead.”
Volunteers must be at least 18, pass a background check and commit to a minimum of 2-3 hours a week. A training video and shadow shifts are part of a training process that last about a month, Duden said. Protocols instituted due to COVID-19 — most of which are commonly held across society these days — will likely remain in place for the near future at Crisis Nursery.
Crisis Nursery serves children from birth to age 6. Typical tasks for volunteers include “rocking babies, playing with the older children, or sometimes we’ll ask them to clean the facility if we’re slow on a given day or their children are napping,” Duden said. There are always two staff members in the building along with volunteers.
Those interested should visit the website and click on the volunteer tab.