Frequently Asked Questions
When is Night Owls held?
Night Owls is held the first Friday from October through May except for January, from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
How is Night Owls funded?
Private donations alone fund Night Owls. We receive no funding from the University of Denver. While the directors of the Fisher Early Learning Center generously donate the space, the materials for the evening, this website space, and a phone number, there are still other costs required to run and sustain Night Owls. These include money to pay for volunteers' fingerprinting, stipends for our nurses, stipends for the Night Owls staff to run the program, and disposable office and activities materials such as postage, paper, shaving cream, bubbles, and paint.
How can I donate money that will help Night Owls?
- Sponsor a child: $20
- Sponsor a volunteer: $39.50 (Fees for fingerprinting)
- Sponsor a nurse’s registration: $200 (Fee for credentialing each nurse)
- Sponsor a nurse for a Night Owls evening: $100 (Stipend for nurses for working under their own malpractice insurance and bringing a unique and essential skill to Night Owls evenings.)
- Sponsor a night’s activities: $85
- Provide an evening’s dinner for our volunteers: $250
- Sponsor the Night Owls program: (Please contact us at 303.871.2723. This contribution would go toward the soft costs of time for planning, managing, and organizing the program as a whole.)
- You can send a check made out to the Fisher Early Learning Center, with "Night Owls" in the memo line to the address in the footer below.
How can I volunteer?
- We are always looking for volunteers. Please email NightOwls@du.edu for further information. We will be in touch with the next steps. The more caring volunteers we have, the more families we are able to accommodate at Night Owls. You can volunteer to do a variety of essential tasks for Night Owls:
- Be a Special Friend volunteer and provide care and fun for a child each Night Owls evening.
- Plan activities for the upcoming evenings. This has a more flexible timeframe, as you would work with the Night Owl Coordinator on activities as needed.
- Write grants and assist with finding private donors to create a steady funding stream for Night Owls. This has a flexible timeframe given the nature of finding funding.
Do I need experience to volunteer?
No. We have people with a range of professional and personal experience and comfort levels who volunteer at Night Owls. Within the volunteer registration form, you can tell us your comfort and experience levels and we will pair you accordingly. We provide volunteer training prior to your first night, which is intended to acclimate you to working with children with a variety of abilities. On Night Owls evenings, some professionals who work with children with disabilities and typically developing children serve as floaters to assist you with anything you may need to ensure the child not only is cared for in the best manner possible but also that you and the child have an enjoyable experience.
How old do I have to be to volunteer?
Due to legal restrictions, currently, volunteers must be 18 or older in order to volunteer on Night Owls evenings. We are working on a junior volunteer component to the program, but we are just in the planning stages.
Can I register my children for the next Night Owls meeting?
We are currently accepting applications for new Night Owls families. If you are interested, please complete and send in the necessary forms.
Once my children start participating in Night Owls, do they get to attend every month?
No. So that we can accommodate a larger number of families, we rotate families between upcoming evenings. Therefore a Night Owls team member will be in touch with you about evenings that your family can attend.
Will my children be grouped by age at a Night Owls meeting?
No. One of the fun aspects of Night Owls is that that one-to-one ratio allows the program to be as child-directed as possible. Our special friend volunteers are there to play with the children at whatever activity interests the child. Volunteers make suggestions appropriate to the child’s developmental level and abilities, but if they are capable, the child makes the decision. The special friend volunteer sets limits and provides the child with an idea of timing for the night so that each child is cared for as the parents specify – eating snacks at the right time, changing into pajamas, quieting down for the evening, or going to bed in one of our Sleep Owls rooms. Otherwise, your child may find friends who are all of different ages and ability levels at Night Owls at the wide variety of evening activities.
Is food provided?
We are not able to provide food due to the vast and complicated issue of food allergies, eating disorders, and medical complications. Parents and caregivers may bring dinner and snacks for their children as long as they are labeled with the child’s name and do not contain nuts or nut products.
The Fisher ELC is an allergy aware zone. We have a designated room where the children can eat and their assigned special friend assists them with eating and ensures that they eat only the food their parents and caregivers provided.
What are the activities at Night Owls?
Each evening’s activities vary. A theme for each night determines the general idea for play possibilities. We always have art, music, literacy, pretend play, fine and gross motor options, and we set these up in a variety of forms. We are fortunate enough to have Denver Pet Partners as one of our Night Owls partners. A few evenings a year, Denver Pet Partners bring 4 teams – a handler and his or her dog – to Night Owls for approximately 2 hours. The children are then welcome to watch or interact with the dogs as they desire. Special guests occasionally join us, bringing unique skills and entertainment of their own to a Night Owls night. Our evenings conclude with a child-appropriate movie for all the kids to watch in their pajamas, if they wish.
For questions or more information, please call 303.871.2723 or email: NightOwls@du.edu