Community members support CDS Family & Behavioral Health Services in two ways, as donors and as volunteers. Both are vital to our mission of “Strengthening Communities by Building Strong Families.”

Current Volunteer Opportunities

The next new volunteer training will be held in two parts – September 26 and October 2, 2018.  Please email  autumn_santos@cdsfl.org to reserve your seat in these training classes.  The general training for all volunteers will be at the Family Action Counseling office conference room (3615 SW 13 Street, Gainesville, FL  32608) from 1:00-6:00 pm on 9/26/18. The Shelter orientation will be held at the CDS Interface Youth Shelter (1400 NW 29th Road, Gainesville, FL 32605) 1:00-3:00 pm on 10/2/18.  To volunteer at Interface, you do have to attend both parts of the training.

One Administrative Intern is needed each semester.  Applications for Fall and Spring 2018 are now being accepted.  Click for detailed job description.  There are also administrative internships available with human resources and the CDS office manager for the fall of 2018.  Contact autumn_santos@cdsfl.org for more information.

These are some of the forms needed to apply for positions with CDS.  These forms are for both employment (paid) and volunteer (unpaid) positions.  You can print these out to complete but will still need to contact the volunteer coordinator about your background screening.

All background screenings now go through the Department of Juvenile Justice Clearinghouse and this requires live scanning at an appropriate vendor.  Because of the dramatic increase in cost, we are asking all volunteers to pay for HALF of the screening fees.  The volunteer’s share would be $31.  The good news is that the screening is good for 5 years AND can be used by many of our partner agencies including Department of Juvenile Justice and Department of Children & Families.  This will streamline the process for you to volunteer or work with many different government and social services agencies.  Having this process done electronically greatly diminishes the wait time from submitting your screening to approval.  We do apologize for the inconvenience but ultimately this will work out better for everyone.

For your convenience, the required reading material is available here:

Volunteers are required to submit monthly time sheets to CDS.  This is the official form used for all types of volunteering EXCEPT for Youth Care Worker Assistants in the Gainesville Interface Youth Shelter (whose time is recorded in the sign-in book).  These time sheets are due on the first of each month for the previous month.  The numbers on the left side of the page are the actual dates of the month.


volunteerCDS engages close to 100 volunteers each year.  Most of our volunteers work in the Interface Youth Program Shelters as Youth Care Worker Assistants.  Others help with administrative work in our offices or on special events like Spotlight on Youth, Safe Place program, or in prevention programs to encourage youth to make healthy choices.  A limited number of graduate students volunteer as counselors in training.  Some volunteers offer their help with building maintenance or as consultants or serve as board members.  Volunteers are vital to CDS.   Volunteer hours donated are calculated each year and their monetary worth is submitted as “in-kind” contributions when we apply for grants.  If you wish to volunteer with CDS, call (352) 244-0628 x3865 or email volunteer@cdsfl.org .

Who can volunteer?
For volunteer positions that require a background check, the volunteer must be at least 18 years old and possess identification/driver’s license and a Social Security card.   Occasionally there are some volunteer opportunities for teens or those without Social Security cards assisting with yard work or building maintenance.

Why do people volunteer?
Many of our volunteers are college students.  They are often interested in a career helping others and want to get some first-hand experience working with at-risk youth.  Other people just enjoy giving back to the community or have been the recipients of help in the past and wish to repay society.  Here is what one volunteer wrote about her experience:

”I would like to thank you both for the experience I got while volunteering at Interface. Prior to this experience, I had never been exposed to kids with such a great amount of problems at such a young age. Though I faced some challenges while volunteering at Interface, overall it was very rewarding. I am confident that I was able to impact at least one (hopefully more) adolescent while volunteering. Thank you again for this opportunity.”  LS 4-10

The volunteer coordinator works with prospective volunteers to identify the best position for a volunteer to fill.  CDS needs help at the Interface shelters, but also administrative help, building and property maintenance help, and assistance with outreach, Safe Place, and fundraising.  (Click for more details about these opportunities)

What must be done prior to volunteering?
Most volunteer positions that include direct client contact require training and a background check.  Volunteer training is offered three times per year, roughly 4-6 weeks after the start of the University of Florida semesters (early February, June, & September).  Training includes crisis communication skills, HIV safety, an overview of CDS programs, CARF and PREA standards, and for those planning to work at the Interface Shelters an overview of the Interface program.   Volunteer application packets include a fingerprint card and paperwork to submit for a background check.   Detailed instructions are included with the packet and can be picked up prior to, or during, the volunteer training sessions.

College Credit
CDS maintains up to date Memoranda of Understanding with the University of Florida, Santa Fe College, St. Leo’s College, and City College,  making CDS an authorized volunteer site for students in these schools.  Volunteers also come from St. John’s Community College, Webster College, and other programs like ExperienceWorks and CareerSource.  Students should check with their advisors about specific volunteer requirements for their majors.

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