Thank you for your interest in Caitlin’s Smiles. Our non-profit distributes arts and crafts activities to children in medical facilities. We recognize children as unique individuals, and strive to heighten their feelings of self-worth as well as lower their stress & anxiety levels by providing them with opportunities to be creative and successful with a variety of creative art experiences.

Visit the VOLUNTEER page to learn more about becoming a volunteer.

Learn about VOLUNTEERING OFF-SITE, by clicking here.

On our FUNDRAISERS page, you can learn about sponsorships, contributing to the silent auctions, and purchasing event tickets.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Volunteers are vital to the work of Caitlin’s Smiles. We normally provide 1,000 Bags of Smiles, 1,600 Coping Kits, 7,000 Craft Kits each month to health care facilities in 8 states and Washington, D.C. – and these are prepared by our wonderful volunteers! We hope the following answers to Frequently Asked Questions about volunteering for Caitlin’s Smiles will be helpful. If you have additional questions, please call 717- 412- 4759.

Q: Who can volunteer for Caitlin’s Smiles?

A:

Anyone elementary school age/ability or older. We will tailor the activities to the abilities of the volunteers. Children age 13 years and under must be accompanied by a parent or grandparent.

Q: Where are we located?

A:

We are located at 3303 North 6th Street, Harrisburg, PA 17110 (for local volunteers, it’s Susquehanna Township). All donations must be shipped to or dropped off at this address anytime between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday. You cannot drop Caitlin’s Smiles items off at a hospital.

Q: What are Bags of Smiles? Coping Kits? Craft Kits? Camp-in-a- Bag Kits? Cards of Encouragement? What kind of toys do we accept?

A:

Please see the “Our Services” page on our website.

Q: Can people with special needs volunteer for Caitlin’s Smiles?

A:

Caitlin’s Smiles welcomes volunteers with special needs who are accompanied by an aide. The aide must assist the special needs individual during the entire volunteer time and assist their client with tasks.

Q: Do you take “walk-in” volunteers?

A:

No. Our volunteer center is often busy, and our staff is limited. Check our “Events” calendar for upcoming volunteer sessions.

Q: Do you have weekday volunteer hours?

A:

We have limited volunteer hours during the daytime. Please call our office at 717-412-4759 on Wednesday or Thursday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. to make an appointment for your group. Individuals can register through our website for evenings and select Saturdays.

Q: What do your volunteers do at these craft sessions at Caitlin’s Smiles?

A:

Most of the time, our volunteers assemble small homemade craft kits for hospitalized children.These go into our Bags of Smiles and Coping Kits and into boxes of assorted craft kits. We send out more than 100,000 craft kits each year, so our volunteers are very busy with those! Sometimes, we have other projects for our volunteers depending on our needs.

Q: Can I schedule a group to volunteer at Caitlin’s Smiles?

A:

Yes. Check our website “Events” calendar for upcoming evening sessions. For daytime sessions, please call our office at 717-412-4759 on Wednesday or Thursday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. to make an appointment for your group. Please have the following information ready:
 Your date and time preferences.
 The number of volunteers in your group.
 Special-needs volunteers in your group, and number of aides accompanying them.
 If children or youths are included, their age range and the number of adults accompanying the group.

Q: Do I need to bring anything when I volunteer at Caitlin’s Smiles?

A:

We ask all volunteers to bring a box of ziplocking style baggies – (any brand) – snack, sandwich, or quart – to donate. If you want to bring additional items, terrific! You’ll find our Wish List here. Please note that any craft supplies or books you donate must be NEW, nonreligious, and in their original packaging.

Q: What should I wear?

A:

Casual or school wear is fine for our office. If you have a Caitlin’s Smiles T-shirt, you can wear that. If you are part of a group, you can wear your group T-shirt. If you are representing Caitlin’s Smiles at a public event, we ask that you wear a Caitlin’s Smiles T-shirt unless otherwise instructed

Q: Is parking available at Caitlin’s Smiles?

A:

Yes, we have off-street parking available on the side of our building.

Q: I want to volunteer with Caitlin's Smiles from Home. Do I need to register with you or someone else before I begin a project?

A:

No, you do not. We prefer that you fill out and send us a Volunteer Application through our website, so we can send you information about our projects, but there is no formal registration. It is helpful to include our In-Kind Donation Form with your project. You don’t have to wait for our response to your application before you start a project at your home or any other off-site location.  Please keep track of the hours you spend volunteering on our volunteer timesheet. Both forms will need to be submitted with your completed project.

Q: Can I make craft kits at my home/club/school/business?

A:
Definitely! We have several instruction sheets for craft kits on our website.

Q: Which craft kit should I make when volunteering at home?

A:

It’s your choice. Check out our list of kits and materials under “Craft Kit Making” on the “Volunteer” page on our website. The instructions will tell you which materials you need to include. Follow our Facebook and Instagram pages for updates on which craft kits we need most at a certain time

Q: Can I get craft supplies from Caitlin’s Smiles to make the kits at my home/club/school/business?

A:

We ask that you provide the supplies you need to make craft kits at your site. Keep track of your expenses and write them on our In-Kind donation form. You will receive a letter from our organization acknowledging your donation once we receive your donation/volunteer project.

Q: Directions are missing from your website for craft kits I want to make. Can I still make them?

A:
We rotate crafts we post depending on our current needs. If the directions are not on the website, we have lots of them sitting in the warehouse. We would appreciate you picking a different craft kit to work on.

Q: How do I get my project to Caitlin's Smiles when it's finished?

A:
Please either drop it  off  or send it to us – Caitlin’s Smiles, 3303 N. 6th St., Harrisburg, PA 17110. Our office is open between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays; we are closed on Fridays. Please note we do not pay for shipping. Make sure you include an In-Kind Donation form that has been filled out completely.

Q: Is there a minimum or maximum number of cards or kits that I must make for a project?

A:

No. We are grateful for however many cards and/or kits you send us.

Q: Should I write my name on the card?

A:
It’s your choice. Most of the cards we receive are not signed, but it’s fine if you want to add your name.

Q: Do you accept digital or store-bought cards?

A:

No.

Q: What messages should I put on the cards?

A:
Please DO NOT include “get well soon”, “hope you feel better,” and “have a nice day” types of messages. Some of our children have chronic illnesses. Also avoid holidays or seasons since the turnaround time of when we receive your cards and get them to the hospitals can often take several months. Please DO NOT include religious or political messages. Keep the messages upbeat and simple. Kids enjoy cards with jokes. For some card ideas, click here.

Q: Should I keep track of the time I spend on projects?

A:
Yes, please. You can use our In-Kind donation form and timesheet for you and your group’s members to use in reporting your hours and your donation. However, you don’t need an official sheet from us. You can just email your hours to our volunteer coordinator at Volunteer.CaitlinsSmiles@comcast.net. Keeping track in any manner is helpful. Reporting your hours and donations help in two ways: We will credit you for time volunteering; and, for us, volunteers’ hours and donations are key factors when we apply for grants.

Q: Is there a standard amount of time for each card or craft kit?

A:
No. Everyone moves at a different pace. Take as much time as you want. Our rule is quality over quantity. Please doublecheck your measurements and supplies included in the craft kits that you assemble.

Q: Can I fulfill school and religious or other organizations’ community-service requirements at Caitlin’s Smiles?

A:
Yes. If you need community-service hours for school, teams, places of worship and other organizations, you are welcome to volunteer through normal volunteer sessions or at home. If you provide us with a form, we’ll be happy to sign it and email it back to you. If you need a note for your school or work supervisor, we will provide it. However, available times are limited – if you need hours in a hurry, we cannot help you.

Q: Do we have to provide proof of our time spent on a project?

A:

No. Just send us your hours in some form.

Q: Can I do my senior project for school with Caitlin’s Smiles? What about my Eagle Scout or Gold Award project?

A:
Absolutely! You can schedule time to volunteer in our office, hold a craft drive at your school, plan and do a fundraiser — or maybe something totally different! Please call and/or email us to discuss what you are planning to do.

Q: Will Caitlin's Smiles sign off on court-mandated community service hours?

A:
No, we do not participate with court-mandated service hours. If a volunteer presents us with a form for court-mandated hours after he or she completes a project, we will not sign it.

Q: Can I participate in delivering my project directly to the hospitalized kids?

A:
Unfortunately no, because of the health risks to our young recipients. Neither can our staff. When we make a hospital delivery, a representative meets us outdoors or in the lobby and then takes our donations to the pediatrics department.

Q: Do you have other kinds of activities for volunteers?

A:
Yes, we do! We ask our new volunteers to start with making craft kits, but for those people interested in taking the next step or doing different types of work, we have other opportunities based on your abilities and interests, and our needs. Discuss these with our volunteer coordinator.