Our passionate volunteers make a tremendous impact in the lives of the children and families we serve. Whether alone or as part of a group, volunteers play a vital role in our mission. We invite you to volunteer and make a difference in the life of a young person.


Our passionate volunteers make a tremendous impact in the lives of the children and families we serve. Whether alone or as part of a group, volunteers play a vital role in our mission. We invite you to volunteer and make a difference in the life of a young person.

Volunteering at UMFS

Volunteers are a vital part of the UMFS community.

Mentors provide an important and impactful relationship for the youth in the UMFS Child & Family Healing Center.

Family Champion Volunteers support families at UMFS by bringing them meals and treats in times of crisis and celebrations.

Operational Volunteers provide vital behind-the-scenes support to UMFS staff so they can focus on supporting kids and families.

Tutors help students meet their academic goals and foster a love for learning.

Community Ambassadors spread the need for UMFS Foster Parents within their local community.

We invite you to join the UMFS volunteer team of unwavering champions. Scroll down to begin your journey.

Volunteer Engagement Opportunities

Beginning Your Volunteer Journey at UMFS

We are happy to offer you the following volunteer opportunities at this time:

UMFS Family Champion Volunteer

Our Family Champions support our community in a number of ways including providing meals and treats, collecting critical items, and celebrating birthdays and special moments for the kids and families we serve.

What does this role look like? As a Family Champion you will be placed on an email list with other like-minded and passionate UMFS volunteers in your local community. We will email this volunteer group when a need arises in your community. Depending on the needs and the time of year, you could receive an email anywhere from weekly to monthly. Please scroll down to the bottom of the page to read our FAQs about the Family Champion role.


We are currently seeking mentors for youth in our Child & Family Healing Center program. At UMFS we believe that relationships are our building blocks. Mentors provide a critical relationship for residents while they are at UMFS and beyond.  Mentors are matched with a teen who has similar interests. Mentors and mentees play games, cook/bake, do arts & crafts, or whatever interests the pair!

What does this role look like? We are looking for consistent, positive and confident volunteers who want to be a support to a youth in residential treatment as they work towards therapeutic healing.

  • Location: Only available in Richmond
  • One-year commitment required
  • Bi-monthly; 2 hours/visit (more visits can occur with additional trainings)
    • Mentor visits are:
      Tuesday between 3:30-6:00p,
      Fridays between 3-5
      Sundays between 10a-1p
  • Focus is on building a healthy, positive relationship
  • Background checks required


Tutors support students in the UMFS Charterhouse School with their academic and social goals. Many of our students are behind, especially following the COVID-19 pandemic. Tutors not only help students with their schoolwork, but provide a special relationship and individual 1:1 time with students to help them thrive.

What does this role look like? Tutors are matched with a student based on their academic objectives. Tutors primarily support high school students with reading and math Standards of Learning (SOL) goals.

  • Location: Richmond, Edinburg
  • One-year commitment required
  • Weekly
  • Weekdays between the hours of 9 am and 2 pm
  • Focus is on building a healthy, positive relationship
  • Background checks required

Operational Support Volunteer

Operational Support Volunteers provide crucial behind-the-scenes support for our administrative and support teams.

What does this role look like? Our Operational Support Volunteers are vital for the success of our programs. They help with behind-the-scenes work, such as clerical and skills-based support (Marketing, IT, Fundraising) so our staff can focus on kids and families.

  • Location: Richmond, Alexandria, Centreville
  • Weekly/Bi-weekly, generally one hour/week
  • Light clerical duties – scanning, data entry, etc.
  • Skills-based duties – use your expertise to develop our support departments (Marketing, IT, Fundraising, etc.)
  • No direct contact with kids or families
  • Background checks required

Foster Care Support Group Volunteer

Foster Care Support Group Volunteers play an important (and fun!) role. They provide childcare during monthly foster care support group sessions at UMFS regional offices. Volunteers provide childcare for both the foster and biological kids of our foster parents.

What does this role look like? Our Foster Care Support Group Volunteers provide childcare in our regional offices (or offsite location) so our foster parents can attend vital trainings and support groups.

  • Location: Richmond, Fredericksburg, Farmville, South Hill, Lynchburg, Virginia Beach
  • Monthly, one weekday evening per month (depending on the regional center)
  • Volunteers help to serve kids pizza, engage in crafts, play outside or in the office, or watch a movie
  • Volunteers will never be left alone without a UMFS staff present
  • Background checks required

UMFS Community Ambassador

Community Ambassadors are community members who bring awareness to the urgent need for foster parents within their network. Community Ambassadors collaborate with UMFS staff and community members to inspire potential foster parents to respond to the need.

What does this role look like? We encourage Community Ambassadors to use their passion and creativity to increase awareness of Virginia’s need for foster parents.

  • Location: Richmond, Alexandria, Fredericksburg, Farmville, South Hill, Lynchburg, Tidewater
  • Six-month commitment
  • Share UMFS content on social media
  • Participate in monthly check-ins
  • Volunteer at events
  • Connect UMFS with your local community
  • Share flyers at local businesses
  • Be part of a team of advocates

Caring Closet at UMFS Volunteer

Caring Closet provides high-quality clothing, necessities and comfort items to children and families in need. They have partnerships with organizations and individuals throughout the Richmond community, including UMFS. Caring Closet strives to increase stability, confidence and in turn, opportunity.

What does this role look like? Caring Closet has a variety of volunteer roles (sorting, organizing, and shopping for Caring Closet clients).  To learn more please CLICK HERE to access their website or send an email to volunteer@caringcloset.com.

  • Location: Richmond
  • Six-month commitment

Amazon Wish List

This is a quick and easy way to support the children and families at UMFS. From providing crucial school supplies to fun games and activities, your donation will make a difference in the lives of the children and families at UMFS. We have Amazon Wish Lists available for several major UMFS programs. Click on the list of your choice and start shopping!

  • Child & Family Healing Center in Richmond – CLICK HERE to shop for games and activities for the children.
  • Leland House in Fairfax – CLICK HERE to shop for games and activities for the children.
  • Charterhouse School in Richmond – CLICK HERE to shop for school supplies.
  • Charterhouse School in Edinburg – CLICK HERE to shop for school supplies.

Please note that Amazon does not usually tell us who sent each item to us. Please contact Kate Ockerman at kockerman@umfs.org to let us know when you make a purchase.

We ask that you ship the items purchased through the Amazon Wish Lists directly to us through Amazon. Please do not drop items off in person.

Group Volunteering

Are you part of a church, company, civic group or other organization? Is your group interested in making a difference in the community by volunteering at UMFS? Group volunteers help complete meaningful projects to support the children and families at UMFS.


If you have any questions at all, please do not hesitate to reach out to our Volunteer Manager, Kate Ockerman, at kockerman@umfs.org or 804.239.1039.

Family Champion FAQs

Can you tell me about a time when a Family Champion helped?

Our Family Champions play an instrumental role in supporting our kids and families. One example is when our volunteers came together to support a UMFS foster family when their refrigerator broke. Our Champions signed up to bring dinner to their home for the next week until their fridge was repaired. The community was able to provide dinner, thereby taking one more thing off the parents’ plate during a stressful time. This allowed them to focus their energy on caring for the kids in their home.

Here is what one foster mom had to say about receiving these supports: “Whatever y’all can do helps. It allows us a break from meal prep/clean-up which frees up time for laundry, cleaning, and escalations and reminds us we are not alone, reminds us there is a community behind us”

What are some other ways Family Champions support UMFS?

Other examples include helping celebrate birthdays and adoptions by providing balloons, cake, and gifts for these well-deserving kids.

  • Some critical items that Family Champions have provided include a crib for an infant in foster care, gift cards for families in need, a new washer and dryer, Christmas gifts, and many more.
  • In addition to the meals and tangible items that our Family Champions provide, you give our families and staff the reassurance that there is a community behind them, supporting and encouraging them always, which is such a powerful gift.

Are Background Checks Required?

We do not require background checks to serve as a Family Champion. The expectation is that you will have little to no direct interaction with our kids and families. Although you will not be seeing our kids and families face to face, please do not underestimate the impact you are providing. We hear time and time again how special our kids and families feel to have the support of our UMFS community and what a relief it is to have you on their team. We do ask that you be mindful of confidentiality and if you receive personal information, such as an address, to keep this confidential.

How often will I receive a UMFS Family Champion email request?

These emails are sent out weekly, bi-weekly or monthly depending on the needs of the program in your area. When there is a need, the social worker for that family sends a request to the volunteer team for a meal, treat, celebration, or item. Within 48 hours of receiving that request, the volunteer team will send an email to the Family Champions in that region to have it fulfilled by this group of volunteers.

What is included in the email request?

The email you receive will include a brief description of the family you will be supporting and what the need is, including the zip code, as well as a Sign-Up Genius for you to sign-up. Once you sign up using the Sign-Up Genius you will receive an email with additional information from us. See below for a sample email request:

The Taylor family of seven is in need of some support. Mom and Dad both work full time and have three girls from UMFS Treatment Foster Care ages 1-7, and two high school boys – all doing virtual school! The family lives in Glen Allen (23060); I will send the actual address to the person who signs up to deliver the meal. The Taylors are dye-free and don’t like tuna, but other than that are open to any meal to feed their family of seven. They would like dinner delivered around 5 pm. If you are able to bring dinner to the Taylors please CLICK HERE .

What if I sign up but forget to deliver the meal?

We understand that life happens, that said, our families rely on and plan for the evenings when they know a meal is coming from a Champion. You will receive an automated email reminder from Sign-Up Genius the day before. If you do forget, please contact Kate Ockerman at kockerman@umfs.org as soon as you realize that you won’t be able to make it to the home, and we will arrange for alternative dinner delivery.

Will I receive a Gift in Kind Tax Receipt for my donation?

Yes, after you deliver the meal/items, you will receive a survey allowing you to request a tax receipt.

How do I sign up to be a UMFS Family Champion?

We are so grateful that you want to serve as a Family Champion. Please click the button below to complete the online volunteer form, and you will automatically be added to the list of Family Champions in your region.