Children’s Disaster Services offers series of volunteer training workshops

Registration is now open for the Spring 2024 Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) Volunteer Training Workshops. If you have a heart for serving children and families in need following a disaster, find the schedule, cost, and a registration link at

Dates and places for upcoming trainings:

April 12-13, from Friday at 4:30 p.m. to Saturday at 5:30 p.m., hosted at Ankeny (Iowa) Christian Church

April 13-14, from Saturday at 8:30 a.m. to Sunday at 9:30 a.m., hosted at La Verne (Calif.) Church of the Brethren

May 3-4, from Friday at 4:30 p.m. to Saturday at 5:30 p.m., hosted at Freeport (Ill.) Church of the Brethren

CDS is a ministry of the Church of the Brethren and Brethren Disaster Ministries that involves volunteers from many faith communities and community service organizations. Volunteers provide a calm, safe, and reassuring presence in the midst of the chaos that follows disasters by setting up and operating special care centers for children in disaster locations. Parents and guardians are then able to apply for assistance and begin to put their lives back together, knowing their children are safe. The information learned at this workshop can be beneficial to anyone working with children.

Since its founding in 1980, more than 3,813 CDS volunteers have served in 321 disasters and worked with more than 119,383 children. Recently, for example, in 2023 following the wildfires in Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii, and following Typhoon Mawar in the US Territory of Guam, CDS cared for a combined total of 1,020 children with 19 volunteers deployed for 9 weeks.

CDS provides specialized training for all its volunteers. The CDS Volunteer Training Workshop is a comprehensive 25-hour event that uses applied, experiential activities to help the participants integrate their learning. The workshop trains potential volunteers to understand and respond to children who have experienced a disaster. Designed for people who have a heart and passion for children, the workshop helps recognize and understand the fears and other emotions children experience during and following a disaster and how child-led play and various art mediums can start the healing process in children. Participants will experience a simulated shelter, sleeping on cots and eating simple meals.

Once the training is completed, participants have the opportunity to become a certified CDS volunteer by providing two personal references and a criminal and sexual offender background check.

Although most volunteers are motivated by faith, CDS workshops are open to anyone over 18 years of age.

Cost is $55 for early registration (postmarked 3 weeks prior to the workshop), or $65 for late registration (postmarked less than 3 weeks prior to the workshop). A discounted rate of $32.50 is available for students. Those taking the workshop for recertification pay $35. There is a $15 administrative fee for a Professional Development Hours Certificate (if applicable).

Find out more about CDS at

— Michael Scalzi, program assistant for CDS, contributed to this report.


Find more Church of the Brethren news:

[gt-link lang="en" label="English" widget_look="flags_name"]