We are so excited about your interest in becoming a volunteer! Sunshine Acres Children’s Home has been in existence since 1954, and so much has happened because of our dedicated volunteers! No matter the time of year, we’re happy to have a helping hand. From landscaping and painting to tutoring and helping out in the Bazaar or Boutique, we feature a myriad of ways to volunteer at Sunshine Acres.
Becoming a volunteer is an easy process. Like most other organizations, you must complete an application and background check before you can begin volunteering. Please complete the following steps, and we will be in touch with you about the many opportunities we have for volunteers!
- Schedule a tour.
- Complete the volunteer application.
- Schedule an interview with the Volunteer Coordinator. She can meet with you on Tuesdays or Thursdays.
- Obtain a fingerprint card.
Horse Program Volunteers
Volunteers are the lifeblood of many of the Sunshine Acres programs, and the barn is no exception! We are blessed to have truly wonderful volunteers willing to work hard to help us provide exceptional care for our animals and individual attention in lessons for our children. Our program could not be what it is today without such immense help and support from the community!
We are often looking for new volunteers in the horse program to help with the daily work associated with care and lessons. While prior horse experience always helps, we teach you everything you need to know for these positions so volunteering is accessible even to those with little to no horse knowledge. Our horses are very gentle and many of our volunteers were new to horses prior to volunteering with us and are now trained and able to help in many aspects of our program! There are different volunteer positions at our barn. Please read the descriptions to best understand how you may be able to join our team!
Ranch Hand: As a Ranch Hand, you will help with the daily care, feeding, and cleaning in the barn. Ranch handing can be physically challenging work, especially in the Arizona heat, but because of our chores system ranch handing is typically only a 1-3 hour commitment. The time it takes to complete chores depends on building teamwork with the other volunteers you work with and the size of the group you join. Generally, we find most groups take a few weeks to get on track and then they get into a rhythm that makes chores go by in a flash! A Ranch Hand never works alone. You are always paired with at least one other volunteer or staff member to help you! If you already have a group of friends who wants to volunteer on a regular basis with you, we may be able to give you your own shift. In a typical shift you will clean stalls, fill water buckets, throw hay, feed grain, and turn horses in or out depending on the time of day. Depending on your time availability, Ranch Hands can also help groom or wash the horses after chores are completed. While Ranch Hands do not often work directly with the children of Sunshine Acres, understand that through this volunteer position you are doing tremendous work to help keep this important program running for the children. Healthy, happy horses = a better program for the children. Everything here comes full circle!
Mini Tales Reading Assistance Program: Many of our children benefit from individual tutoring, especially when it comes with a fun twist! We use our miniature horses and donkeys to help encourage children who struggle with reading to improve their skills by reading aloud to a mini. Mini Tales Tutors help children sound out words, learn reading comprehension, and make reading more fun by spending a 45-minute session one on one with a student and a mini. We offer this program only during the fall semester, so if you are interested in joining the fun and making a difference in a child’s education, contact us today to get your name on the list!
Lesson Mentor: In order to be a Lesson Mentor, you must complete one full season of Ranch Handing, no exceptions. The reason we have this prerequisite is twofold. First, it helps us get to know you as a volunteer. Second, it helps you get to know our barn procedures and the individual personalities of our horses. As a Mentor, you will assist the Equestrian Manager with riding lessons. Your primary responsibility is to help riders as they begin learning to groom and saddle for the first time, as well as aiding in safety checks before we help a rider mount the horse. Mentors also work one-on-one with children who may be struggling with certain exercises in the lessons, lacking in confidence, or having a tough time emotionally that day. Many of our volunteer Mentors take comfort knowing that teaching the riding lessons or lesson planning is not their responsibility, and the Equestrian Manager or another member of her staff will teach the lessons and run the program. The children of Sunshine Acres love interacting with their Lesson Mentors, often developing strong bonds with them over time. It makes our children feel very special that a volunteer comes out every week just to see them! If you are looking for a great way to touch the lives of both our horses and our children, consider Ranch Handing with the intent to move onto becoming a Lesson Mentor!
If you are interested in volunteering your time with us, please contact our Volunteer Coordinator for more information!
Contact our Volunteer Coordinator Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8AM to 5PM at (480) 832-2540.