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This a resource guide to give information on becoming an AWAHIH volunteer.

​To apply, please contact Christy Ponder.


Our mission relies strongly upon our volunteers who provide selfless service, artistic talent and compassion to the patients and families we serve. 


Who we are: We are Artists in Residence who provide group or bedside art experiences to patients and their families.


What is the primary roll of an AWAHIH Volunteer? 


The primary roll of a volunteer is to have direct contact with patients and families while providing an art 

experience that supports the Artist in Residence and the mission of AWAHIH.

Other volunteer roles offered in our organization:

  • creation of art to be distributed to patients as door signs and room decor

  • visiting artist session

  • teen volunteers can perform in office duties

  • organizing supply drives 


Please contact us for more information on the above options.

Should you wish to volunteer with us at Wolfson Children's Hospital the following are requirements set forth by Hospital Auxiliary for you to become and maintain your status as a volunteer with AWAHIH and the hospital auxiliary.


All volunteers must

  • submit and pass a background check

  • provide three contactable references

  • provide an immunization history

  • be tested for TB every March as determined by Wolfson Children's Auxilliary

  • have a yearly flu shot

  • serve at least 8 hours per month 


After completing the hospital orientation volunteering begins with an individually scheduled orientation with an assigned artist in residence. Attention to attire, hospital policy and procedures and scheduling meeting times will make this an easy process and will allow you to work on the floor with patients.



  • maintain a set schedule

  • inform your volunteer coordinator or artist in residence if you will miss a schedule day

  • return to your normal schedule after missing a day

  • follow hospital protocol for illness


  • always wear your name badge and an apron 

  • no exposed ankles, always wear socks

  • no sleeveless shirts, always wear closed toe shoes

  • visible tattoos should be minimized

  • no visible piercings, other than ears

  • no perfume or false nails


AWAHIH volunteers are responsible for protecting the privacy and confidentiality of all patients and patient 

information. Please maintain confidentiality and follow.  HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act).

  • do not discuss patient information in public spaces

  • do not discuss patient information with family and friends

  • do not carry outside the hospital, patient information (names, room numbers, ect.)

  • do not take photos (unless directed and using a consent form)

  • do not exchange contact information with patients

  • no social networking with patients



To help AWAHIH maintain Joint Commission Safety Standards:

  • wear your badge at all times

  • keep art supplies and equipment properly stored, cleaned and organized



  • if an incident such as falling, fainting, injury, exposure to bodily fluids should occur, immediately inform the artist in residence to use the nurse's call button in the room. Do NOT leave the patient.

  • if something seems to concern you in observing or listening to a patient, please report to artist in residence



AWAHIH works closely with Child Life Specialists in providing services to pediatric patients and their families. The Child Life Specialists are certified professionals who specialize in child development and provide developmentally appropriate psychosocial interventions that help in the wellness of the patient. We refer to the Child Life team to learn more detailed information about patients in order to help us provide more specialized and individualized service.



  • AWAHIH provides all art supplies

  • please check with artist in residence first if you introduce your own supplies

  • keep areas neat and clean before, during and after art activities

  • wipe down all supplies including brushes, pallets and cups after use with sani-wipes

  • avoid patients sharing materials as much as possible

  • use age appropriate materials and never leave patient unattended in the playroom.

  • never offer food or drink during an art session

  • avoid discussing medical, spiritual or political topics with patients and family members

  • if a patient needs the restroom help escort back to room or notify nurse (sometimes it is being collected and monitored)

  • all surfaces must be wiped down and clean before and after sessions and free from personal belongings

  • please talk to artist in residence about accepting donations. Art materials must comply with our standards and must be new, unused and unopened.


Before you enter a patients room read signs at the door.  If you are uncertain about entering, please check with an artist in residence or a nurse. Adhere to procedures 

such as wearing a mask, gown and or gloves. Always know before inviting a patient out to a group if they can leave the room.

  • wash hands upon entering and exiting a room (patients with compromised immune systems areat a greater risk for germs)

  • art-to-go bags are to remain with a patient oncethey are distributed and are not to be reused

  • make sure all supplies are sani-wiped after leaving aroom


  • knock gently, slowly open door

  • introduce yourself and offer choices for participation

  • look for clues around the room to give you a conversation starter

  • initiate art experiences with comfort, clarity and flexibility in order to build trust 

  • listen and engage before diving into the art activity

  • if a patient hesitates, reassure them that it is a free service and their choice to participate

  • come to a session (parents and siblings are welcome)

  • have a bedside artist come to the room and work with the patient

  • have supplies delivered (or an art-to-go bag)

  • offer to do a personalized piece of art

  • offer to do art at bedside for patient to just observe

  • don’t be afraid of rejection. We are one of the few services that a patient can refuse. By giving choices it allows for a patient to restore a sense of control.

  • if a family member is present they can be encouraged to join in or suggest they can take a break while the art activity in progress


  • Sensitivity, flexibility and respect are key to meaningful art experiences

  • be aware and sensitive of the dynamic in a patients room (you do not know personal history)

  • engage with the patient on an appropriate level

  • simply listen when a patient shares their beliefs or experiences

  • try to redirect focus to the art activity

  • avoid life/death sensitive words and phrases

  • don’t ask when they are leaving the hospital or focus on their health issues

  • remain flexible and open to the patients suggestions and needs

  • as time permits allow patient to consider how to close a session

  • find a natural way to wrap up a session

  • give warning as to when you need to wrap up a session

  • be prepared to leave if a doctor enters (you can ask if they want you to step out)

  • never promise that you will be back to visit because it is very discouraging if a promise is not kept

  • please refer any further requests by the patient to the artist in residence

  • refer to artist in residence of any unusual session or incident

  • if an alarm goes off on a machine or IV pole notify a nurse

  • if there is a medical emergency alert a nurse immediately


Group Sessions


Setting up:

  • wipe down spaces

  • practice hand washing

  • remove any obstacles in the patient’s path

  • maintain control of art supplies at all times



  • clean all surfaces and supplies with sani-wipes

  • leave room clean and arranged properly

  • never leave art supplies unattended

  • return finished artwork to patients room

  • walk patients back to room if not accompanied by a family member

  • artwork can be taped up in patients room on doors or cabinets (celebrating artwork helps rebuild confidence, self esteem and gives patients a sense of accomplishment

  • return art cart clean and organized and report any low inventory to artist in residence

  • if there are no patients to see please create art for door signs or future requests



After you see a patient, please let the artist in residence know about the session and if you were able to fulfill the patients request. Avoid making promises that may be hard to keep. If there is a request beyond our services please inform the artist in residence or a member of the child life team.



Every AWAHIH artist has a unique experience working with a patient. Sometimes it can be euphoric when a significant connection was made and other times it can be emotionally draining. Always know you can express your feelings to the art team and know that you have our full support. The work we do can be intense so utilize a seasoned artist in residence for support, comfort and grounding.



Art with Heart in Healthcare EXPECTATIONS:

We expect our volunteers to provide an art experience that offers encouragement, direction, and art guidance in a supportive, positive and nonthreatening environment.


In addition:

  • a volunteer shows compassion and sensitivity for children and their families

  • a volunteer demonstrates creativity, adaptability and flexibility in dealing with a variety of medical circumstances and unexpected situations

  • a volunteer has good interpersonal skills and enjoys working with children

  • a volunteer can work independently

  • a volunteer projects a professional manner while representing Art with Heart in Healthcare

  • a volunteer can follow instructions

  • a volunteer can listen without giving personal advice and can direct concerns to staff

  • a volunteer can perform within the scope and limits of these defines guidelines


In return for your amazing efforts you will receive rewarding and life affirming experiences that will transform you as an artist and as a person, while making a huge difference in the life of a hospitalized child.


Art saves the day! Thank you for your desire to be a part of Art with a Heart in Healthcare’s Mission!

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