Volunteer Opportunities


Introduction to Healing Young Hearts:

Healing Young Hearts is a volunteer project which is presently sponsored by the Cathay Future in Tianjin.  The project was launched after the Sichuan earthquake in 2008 by international and Chinese volunteers who banded together to create free training resources for children emotionally traumatized by the disaster. Healing Young Hearts volunteers trained teachers from the earthquake zone and visited the disaster area 6 times during the following three years, working with the Beijing National Children’s Center, the Heilongjiang Children’s Center, and the Sichuan Children’s Center .  Our free resource handbook of teaching materials for disaster recovery has been approved for use by the China Education Ministry and our online downloadable resources have been used by international organizations such as UNICEF, the International Red Cross, and CHART (Communities Healing through the Arts) as well as by independent projects in 18 countries.

Helping Children Face Challenging Life Situations:

 In the years following the earthquake, our project has expanded to help children build resilience skills in a number of challenging circumstances beyond disaster recovery.  We have provided free resources and training for volunteers working with children receiving treatment for chronic medical conditions, children in orphanages, and children from low-income migrant worker families. We encourage volunteers to help youngsters develop emotional resilience and a positive self-image to help them face the many challenges life brings with hope and confidence. Our volunteer training encourages the use of music, games, story-telling and therapeutic play, in activities adapted from the Healing Young Hearts disaster handbook. Volunteers attending seminars receive training in:

·         Understanding the role of a volunteer – do’s and don’ts for successful volunteering

·         How to choose or develop a volunteer project that suits your talents, interests and available time.

·         What is social and emotional learning (SEL) and why is it important for children

·         What are resilience skills and how can children be guided to develop them

·         The benefits of therapeutic play for children and how it is conducted.

·         What types of games and activities are useful to help children learn social and emotional awareness and a positive and healthy self-image

·         Understanding the challenges of families with disabilities and challenging medical conditions

·         Safety and practical considerations when working with children

·         How to create game and craft materials with limited financial resources

·         The art of storytelling

·         Using puppets with children

·         Music activities for children

·         Workshop sessions to practice practical skills learned, such as game sessions, crafts and story telling activities

·         Self care: How not to be emotionally overwhelmed when volunteering


During the initial orientation on arrival in Tianjin, you are given the option to participate in the following for free:

12 Hour Healing Young Hearts Volunteer Certificate Program:   Twice a year students from local Chinese universities, along with members of the foreign community, meet at Cathay Future to participate in 4 training sessions in our volunteer certificate programme. We teach the use of music, games, story-telling and therapeutic play to help participants better understand the needs of children and hone their volunteer skills. Those who attend all 12 hours of training receive a certificate of completion.   

Activities for Children with Leukemia and Cancer:  Healing Young Hearts volunteers conduct story and play activities with children receiving chemotherapy at the Institute of Hematology and Hospital of Blood Diseases in Tianjin. These activities are geared to reduce the stress of the children’s hospital experience and help young patients find positive ways to cope with their illness.  

Free Winter and Summer Children’s English Activities: Volunteers have the opportunity to participate in free community English camp activities to help children from challenging economic situations.  The children enjoyed games, stories and craft activities and the opportunity to practice their English and meet volunteers from other countries.

To view photos and read about some of our past training projects please see our website at healingyounghearts.org