Sheltering Arms Institute offers volunteer experiences for individuals in all stages of life who are seeking a way to give back to others and their community. The root of volunteerism has been part of the rich history of Sheltering Arms and VCU Health and continues to be a stronghold for our patients, team members and caregivers.

Volunteers assist our teams with providing top-notch quality service and showing compassion to our patients and their families. We look forward to your positive contribution to our community. Thank you for your interest in helping us, help others.

Volunteer Categories

To apply, please click on the category you are interested in.

  • Adult Volunteer – A person who volunteers on a routine basis with a set schedule/ assignment [Online Volunteer Application Form]
  • VolunTeen – Volunteers aged 16 – 18 who are available on a routine basis [Online Volunteer Application Form]
  • Community Partner – Individual who is associated with a community organization that provides services to patients and families/caregivers making connections for continued support post-discharge [Online Volunteer Application Form]
  • Student Observer – Individuals who require observation hours as an application prerequisite for a graduate program, or those who wish to learn more about a specific discipline [Online Volunteer Application Form]
  • Peer Mentor – A certified individual who has completed training within our Peer Mentor program and/or a Community Partner program who provides mentorship to a patient with similar medical diagnosis and experiences in rehabilitation and recovery. [Online Volunteer Application Form]
  • Group Volunteer – Individuals who conduct public service projects and/or other special projects within SAI, but are not formally identified as Volunteers under this policy. To apply, please email Volunteer Services – (volunteers@sai.rehab)
  • Project Volunteer – An individual who performs services offsite/ not in contact with patients. To apply, please email Volunteer Services – (volunteers@sai.rehab)

Volunteer Requirements

  • Be at least 16 years old, with many programs requiring volunteers to be 18 years or older.
  • Serve on a regular basis.
  • Complete and submit an application.
  • Meet with a member of the Volunteer Services Department to participate in a skills matching conversation.
  • Submit proof of immunization/vaccinations for measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR), tuberculosis (TB) and flu (during flu season between the months of October and March), COVID vaccine.
  • Pass a background check.
  • Participate in an orientation session. Both day and evening sessions are available.
  • Complete compliance and HIPAA training.

Pre-Application Self-Assessment Questions

Hospital Environment

  • Am I comfortable interacting with individuals from a variety of backgrounds who are in the healthcare environment for a variety of reasons?
  • Am I comfortable interacting with patients, guests, and team members while respecting boundaries and maintaining confidentiality?
  • Am I comfortable offering support that is respectful of those with different perspectives or beliefs and not personal in nature?


  • Am I able to commit to volunteering for a weekly shift for a year or longer?
  • In addition to my important work, family, and other obligations, will I be able to regularly volunteer with Sheltering Arms Institute?

Regulatory Requirements

  • Am I willing to submit the information required (including Social Security Number) for completing the appropriate background clearances?
  • Am I willing to complete an initial health screening that will include two tuberculosis skin tests and verifying certain immunities? (This process can require multiple trips to our health office during daytime business hours or be done through an outside provider at your own expense.)
  • Am I willing to receive a seasonal (annual) flu vaccine?
  • Am I willing to provide proof of having received the COVID vaccine?
  • Am I willing to complete an initial orientation, and ongoing regular training, as requested?

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

There is not a strict minimum number of hours required. We do prefer adult volunteers commit for a consistent period of time and/or schedule. Most volunteer assignments are a weekly commitment of two or three hours. We do understand some volunteer shifts may be missed for major holidays, official college/university breaks and closings, and other circumstances.

It may take 2 to 3 weeks to complete the necessary health screening, orientation, and background check before you’re ready to go. Volunteer Services will help you through those steps once a placement has been confirmed.

We understand the health screening process does take time. For the safety of our patients, visitors, volunteers, and team members, we must follow the infection control policies of Sheltering Arms Institute, which are based on CDC guidelines.

We are not accepting court-ordered service at this time.

The minimum age to participate in our VolunTeen Program is 16-years-old.

Yes, some units do need help in the evenings or weekends. Those opportunities are very popular, and Volunteer Services will talk with you about what is available.

We care about you. If you aren’t feeling well, please stay home to take care of yourself and help us protect our patients and team members. Please follow the instructions given by Volunteer Services and/or your assignment supervisor to remove yourself from the schedule or contact us as soon as possible.

Yes, as long as you remain in good standing, we would like to have you as a volunteer as long as possible. You will be required to complete annual education requirements once a year, and to have an annual flu vaccine. There may be additional annual, periodic, or one-time requirements depending on the volunteer program and/or volunteer assignment.

We want all of our volunteers to find their assignments meaningful and enjoyable. If you are not satisfied, please speak to Volunteer Services and we’ll work with you to fix the problem or try to help you find another area that has availability.