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What is a Child Life Specialist?

The role of a child life specialist is to focus on the psychosocial needs of children and families in the healthcare setting. Child Life at The University of Vermont Children's Hospital strives to empower children with knowledge and equip them with coping strategies so that they may face potential stressors with understanding and confidence.

Additionally, Child Life serves children and families from Vermont and northern New York by promoting healthy growth and development for children who are hospitalized by normalizing their environment and providing opportunities for play. Child life specialists are educators, coaches, cheerleaders, friends, and advocates.

Our Child Life Specialists

The University of Vermont Children's Hospital and UVM Medical Center have eleven Child Life Specialists:

Child Life Students & Volunteers

Internships

Please note: We are not currently accepting internship applicants.

Practicum

Please note: We are not currently accepting practicum applicants.

Information Sessions

Child Life Information Sessions are offered to help people to learn more about the field of Child Life and educate them on the process of becoming a certified Child Life Specialist. Information sessions provide an opportunity to sit one on one or in a small group setting with a Child Life Specialist to answer any questions about the field.

If you would like to find out about future sessions, please contact the Child Life Department at childlifeatuvmhealth [dot] org.

Job Shadows

We do not accept job shadows at this time. Individuals looking to gain more knowledge about Child Life and the role of the Child Life Specialist are encouraged to attend the information sessions mentioned above.

Volunteering at the UVM Children's Hospital 

If you would like to be a Child Life volunteer on the in-patient pediatric unit, please contact Volunteer Services at 802-847-3536 or apply online.

Volunteers must be able to commit to a shift at the same day/time each week for a minimum of 3 hours/day. Shifts begin as early as 9am and end as late as 9pm.

Duties include interacting with children (ages birth to adolescence) and their families in the playroom and at the bedside, engaging children in play activities and offering parents respite. Other responsibilities include toy cleaning and organizing, along with helping Child Life staff with special projects.

Donations to Child Life at the UVM Children’s Hospital

Children's Hospital Nurses holding donated blankets.

Thank you so much for thinking about our pediatric patients at The University of Vermont Children's Hospital. We are currently accepting donations, while following guidelines to ensure the safety of our pediatric patients and their families.

A hospital can be an overwhelming place for children, but child life specialists help them navigate the uncertainty with a helping hand. By donating to The University of Vermont Children's Hospital, you are helping to ensure that children have the opportunity to still be children, despite their medical needs. On behalf of our patients and their families, we thank you for your kindness!

Coordinating Donations

To coordinate a donation, please call our Child Life Donation Hotline at (802) 847-7831 or send an email to ChildLifeDonationsatUVMHealth [dot] org.

Donations may be shipped to:

The University of Vermont Children’s Hospital
Attn: Child Life Department
Baird 5
111 Colchester Avenue
Burlington, VT 05401

We would love to thank you, so please include your name, phone number and address. If you are able, please complete the In-Kind Donation Form below and send it along with your donation, or email it to ChildLifeDonationsatUVMHealth [dot] org.

In-Kind Donation Form

Important Things to Know About Donations

  • We can only accept NEW and UNUSED items to ensure the safety of our patients. 
  • We CANNOT accept new items that have been stored or kept out on display and may have gathered dust or dirt.
  • All items must be FREE FROM smoke exposure or perfumes and cannot have evidence of pet hair. 
  • We CANNOT accept handmade get-well, holiday or greeting cards.
  • Please DO NOT gift wrap items as they will need to be unwrapped prior to being given to patients.
  • We CANNOT accept items with violent themes, racially or culturally insensitive items, or items with religious themes.
  • We CANNOT accept items made with latex.

Top 5 Donations Needed

  • Local restaurant gift certificates to places that deliver, or gift cards to purchase other goods (GrubHub/DoorDash/Amazon/Walmart)
  • Fleece blankets
  • Board books
  • Play-Doh
  • Lego kits

Other Items We Are Looking For 

  • Teaching tools, such as medical kits, feelings playing cards, muslin dolls and Playmobil hospitals. These toys help child life specialists educate and prepare children for upcoming medical experiences, helping them build confidence and knowledge to face medical interventions with the proper support and care.
  • Distraction and coping items, such as automatic bubble and glitter wands, rain sticks, light-up fans and globes, stress balls, liquid timers, fidget cubes, and I-Spy board books. These are often used during medical interventions to help focus a child’s attention, and are specifically chosen to provide children with a sense of control in an otherwise uncontrolled environment. 
  • Arts and crafts, such as slime kits, Play-Doh, Play Packs, colored pencils, watercolors, and modeling clay. These items provide children with a therapeutic avenue for self-expression and help them pass the time during a hospitalization, outpatient appointment or infusion. 
  • Board games and card games. Everyone benefits from a little fun! Examples of games we are seeking include Skip Bo, Uno, Phase 10, Sorry and Yahtzee.
  • DVDs. We stock an assortment of DVDs to entertain children and teens and love having multiple copies of popular movies. New releases are always in high demand, but nothing R-rated, please.
  • Video Games. We have Wii U, Xbox and Nintendo Switch consoles. Please make sure games are rated E for Everyone.

Donation Wish Lists

 

We currently have two online wish lists that highlight items we are in need of. Many of these items allow us to provide support and distraction to the pediatric patients we see on a daily basis. 

Amazon Wish List

Walmart Wish List

Sewn, Crocheted and Knitted Items

If donating handmade items, please be sure to remove all sewing needles and pins prior to donation. Pillowcases can be made to fit a standard sized pillow.

No-Sew Blankets

We are looking for blankets in two sizes, child and teen, with approximate lengths of one to one and a half yards for child blankets and two yards for teen blankets.

Muslin Dolls

Muslin dolls are used to help provide age-appropriate education to children, to help them prepare for procedures, and to offer patients an avenue to engage in medical play. Download the instructions for making 12-inch muslin dolls below.

Printable Muslin Doll Template