“College of Medicine Friends Offer Respite Time”

For Families of Children with Special Health Needs

Thank you for your interest in volunteering with C.O.M.F.O.R.T providing respite care for families of children with special health needs. Volunteers are matched with families to provide six 2 hour sessions of in-home respite. The children of families participating have a broad range of conditions including seizure disorders, cerebral palsy, autism, developmental delays and genetic syndromes.

While the children have various chronic medical conditions, you will not be responsible for providing any sort of medical care. You will simply act as a responsible, reliable individual spending time with the child so that the family can have some time off from the demands associated with caring for a child with special needs.

Parents may use the time to run errands, or they may stay home during the respite, taking care of household chores, other siblings, napping, etc.

Families are expected to train the volunteer in how to best care for their child, discuss the expectations they have for the care being provided, and what the volunteer should do in the event of an emergency. Both the families and volunteers sign contracts and waivers releasing respite volunteers from liability.

We ask that volunteers commit to providing at least six 2-hour-long respite sessions. Our hope is that volunteers are interested in continuing their work with the families, but we understand that due to scheduling conflicts and other commitments this is not always possible. You and the family will establish a schedule that works for both of you – be it the same time every week or coordinating on a weekly basis. The sessions do not have to be consecutive, as long as there are clear expectations and open communication between parties.

Families may live 15-20 minutes away from Burlington. It is often difficult to coordinate respite sessions with bus schedules; at the present time, only students with cars are being matched with families. If you do not have a car, feel free to fill out the volunteer form anyway, and we can keep your information on file in case we find a family located nearby.

Please fill out the attached volunteer information form, resave it as Name_COMFORT.VolunteerInformation, and send it back to us at UVMcomfort@, along with a copy of your resume and contact information for two references. We will be holding volunteer interviews on the evening of Sunday, September 21. Please understand that the process of meeting and matching families and volunteers can be lengthy. We appreciate your patience and continued interest.

Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.

Thank you.

Angela Russo, Tracey Dafonte, Sarah Kelso, Nicholas Bonenfant

COMFORT Coordinators

Thank you so much for your interest in volunteering to provide respite care for families with children with special health needs. In an effort to coordinate family and volunteer schedules and make compatible family/volunteer matches, please provide the following information:



Current Educational Program:


Phone Number:

Expected Completion Date:

I have a car: Yes No

I would prefer to provide respite on: a. a weekday b. a weekend day

What days of the week would work best for you?

I want to: a. volunteer on a set day/time every week

b. coordinate with the family on a weekly basis

I am CPR certified (not required): Yes No c. no preference

Please list prior experiences working with children with special health needs (not required):

Are you particularly interested in providing care for a child with specific special needs (e.g. cystic fibrosis, cerebral palsy, diabetes, autism, etc.)? Please list your interests (not required).

Extracurricular Hobbies/Interests:

Additional Comments/Information: