How to Volunteer

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FIRST teams rely on adult mentors to teach and guide students; mentorship is an intrinsic and critical aspect of the robotics programs. Mentors are, through the students, the key ingredient to the success of the team.

A mentor:

  • Can be an adult of any age teaching others what they know
  • Brings either technical or non-technical expertise to the team
  • Provides the opportunity for students to learn directly through experience

Contact the team via email ( or by attending a team meeting and make it know to a team officer that you wish to volunteer. We will need your name and email address.

All team mentors serve as unpaid volunteers. There is a brief interview involved in becoming a mentor. Upon acceptance, you will be invited via email to register on FIRST's Team Management System.

Downingtown Area Robotics programs accepts mentors without regard to race, religion, age, gender, ethnic background or sexual orientation. Violence, intoxication or harassment are not tolerated.

Volunteering to work with minors in association with a FIRST program in Pennsylvania requires satisfying both FIRST's Youth Protection Policy and Pennsylvania's child protection law. All mentors must pass FIRST's and PA's clearances before they can begin working with the team.

FIRST Youth Protection Policy (YPP) Clearance

You will be invited via email to register as a team mentor and also to apply for FIRST's Youth Protection Policy clearance. There is no cost associated with this clearance.

Pennsylvania Background Clearances

Pennsylvania's child protection law will require volunteers (any adults serving in unpaid positions) who are individually responsible for the welfare of a child or children, or who will have direct contact with a child or children, to have the background clearances described below.

What clearances are required?

  1. Report of PA Criminal History from the Pennsylvania State Police (PATCH) – free
  2. Child Abuse History Clearance from the Department of Human Services – free
  3. Fingerprint based FBI criminal history clearance submitted through the Department of Human Services – cost $27.50 (Downingtown Area Robotics will reimburse approved mentors once all documentation is received), however Volunteers who have lived in PA for the last 10 years may complete the Downingtown Area Robotics' Affidavit Form in place of the FBI Check

How to Obtain PA Mandated Background Clearance Certifications

Pennsylvania State Police Criminal History

  1. Go to this link:
  2. Click the yellow New Record Check (Volunteers Only) and follow directions
  3. Volunteer Organization Name: Downingtown Area Robotics

Child Abuse History Clearance from Department of Human Services

  1. Go to this link:
  2. Create a new account and follow the directions
  3. Volunteer Category: Other
  4. Agency Name: Downingtown Area Robotics

FBI Fingerprinting (for volunteers who have not lived in PA for the last 10 years)

  1. Go this link:
  2. Click “Register Online” – follow directions, and print receipt
  3. At the end there will be a link to show where you can go to get fingerprinted

Note: This process will take several weeks and must be completed prior to attending and Downingtown Area Robotics program as a Mentor


Print/Scan all PA background screening documents to a .pdf file format and email to We are required to keep all documents on file.