Volunteer in Tucson: Casa de los Niños


"Casa de los Niños" translates to "home for the children."

In the early 1970's, Sister Kathleen Clark was a nurse in the emergency room at St. Joseph's Hospital. Appalled at the victims of child abuse that she saw in her work, she resolved to open a safe haven for neglected and abused infants and toddlers, a place where they could be protected and loved. Through her determination and perseverance she founded and became the Executive Director of Casa de los Niños (one of the first crisis nurseries in the United States), where she served from 1973 until 1987. After her retirement, she continued to work at the home until she moved to Los Angles in 1997.

The mission has stayed the same ever since: "Casa de los Niños promotes child well-being and family stability in our community." The crisis shelter now accepts children up to age 12 and the organization offers an array of other services as well.

With the support of community leaders, volunteers, and donors, Casa de los Niños seeks to build a society in which no child experiences the misery of abuse and neglect.


Where is Casa de los Niños located?

In Central Tucson.

The administrative offices are at 1101 N. 4th Avenue. The crisis shelter is directly adjacent at 1138 N. 5th Avenue. Other locations provide behavior health services, family visitation services, and foster care information/trainings.


What volunteer opportunities are available?

  • Administration Assistant: Data entry, filing, photo copying, mailing & telephoning.
  • Angel Reception: Screening visitors, volunteers, workers, etc.; taking phone messages; copying & filing.
  • Building Maintenance, Landscaping, & Labor: Minor carpentry, plumbing, stocking merchandise, moving boxes, light grounds keeping, and general maintenance.
  • Child Care Worker: Assist primary care workers with daily care of children from birth to 8 years of age (feed, bath, diaper, play with, read to, comfort, etc.). Due to the children's need for consistency, childcare volunteers must commit to a specific 3-hour shift once per week (i.e. - every Tuesday from 3:00 to 6:00).
  • Healthcare: Assist with medical clinics, child grooming, stocking medical supplies, etc.
  • Tutor: Under the direction of the School Age Specialist, assist child(ren) with academic work and educational activities. Shifts are available from 3:00-5:00, Monday-Thursday during the school year. Tutors must commit to a minimum of one shift per week.
  • Kitchen: Assist staff with food preparation, serving, and clean-up.
  • Social Work Intern: Accept and carry out a variety of social work tasks, such as monitoring parent visitations, and other projects as assigned by the Casa de los Niños Social Worker.
  • Special Events: Help with concession stands, ticket sales, merchandise sales, gate keeping, etc.
  • Special Projects: Sewing, woodwork, creating displays, etc
  • Thrift Store: Sales floor assistant, donation sorter, driver’s helper, librarian, laundry aide, and warehouse assistant. All proceeds of the thrift store support shelter operations and services.

What are the training requirements?

To begin the process, you can fill out the Volunteer Interest Form online or pick up a Volunteer Application Packet at 1101 N. 4th Avenue.

The application process is quite lengthy and includes a general application, questionnaire, notarized criminal history affidavit, confidentiality statement, volunteer commitment statement, 3 personal reference forms, parental consent form (if under 18), in-person interview, drug screening, medical screening, and fingerprint background clearance.

Every volunteer must then attend a 4-day New Volunteer Orientation (4 hours each day, Mon-Thurs).

Volunteers are asked to commit to a minimum of six months.

What if I can’t volunteer my TIME?

Donate an item on Casa de los Ninos' Wish List. Items currently on the list include summer clothes (size 0-18), shoes (sizes 0-8), twin sheets and toddler sheets, baby wash, arts & crafts supplies, wipes, diapers, pull-ups, museum passes, and more. You can drop off donations at the Administrative Offices located at 1101 N 4th Ave. (northwest corner of Speedway and 4th Avenue) during normal business hours, Monday to Friday, 8:00am to 5:00pm.

Can I volunteer with my children?

Volunteers must be age 16 and up. That said, younger kids can certainly participate by organizing and/or contributing to a collection drive.

Who should I contact if I want to become a volunteer?

Contact Marciela Fair at 520-624-5600 (ext 501) or via email at fair@casadelosninos.org. You can also find more information on the Casa de los Ninos Volunteer page.


What does a foster parent do?

Foster parents provide a stable, loving home to children who have experienced trauma and support the child's biological family to help them heal and grow.

How do I become a foster parent?

Basic requirements include:

  • Applicants must be 21 years of age or older.
  • Pass a criminal history background check
  • Earn sufficient income to meet your family's needs
  • Pass a home inspection
  • Complete 30 hours of pre-service training

If you think foster care may be a good fit for your family, call Casa de los Niños at 520-326-8250 for more information.


Where is the Casa de los Niños Thrift Store located?

In North-Central Tucson. The address is 1302 E. Prince Road, Tucson.

What are the hours?

Monday-Saturday 10:00am-6:00pm; Sunday 10:00am-5:00pm.

Can I donate directly to the thrift store?

Yes. Donations may be brought to the Thrift Store (located at the southeast corner of Prince Rd and Ft. Lowell Rd) during normal business hours. For larger items, such as furniture or appliances, please call the Thrift Store at 520-325-2573 to ask about pick-up.


Who can attend parenting classes at Casa de los Niños?

Parenting classes are free and open to the public.

What classes are available?

Check the website for a full schedule. Upcoming classes include Toddler/Preschool Development, Discipline Techniques, Preparing Your Child for Reading, Parenting to Prevent Bullying, Active Parenting of Teens, and Internet Safety for Parents.

How do I register?

Contact Nettie Villagomez at 520-624-5600 (ext 309) or via email at nettiev@casadelosninos.org.


Is Casa de los Niños on Facebook and Twitter?

Casa de los Niños has a Facebook page, but is not active on other social media accounts.

You can also sign up to receive updates about events, volunteer opportunities, and pressing needs.

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