Monthly Archives: April 2011

Words of Appreciation from Physical Therapist Cindy Jarosch

Cindy is a physical therapist in the Developmental Rehabilitation department in St. Paul who works closely with our volunteer therapy assistants.  For National Volunteer Week, Cindy had the following kind words to say about her work with volunteers:

“I could not do my job as well without the committed volunteers who assist me with dedication and interest.  Thank you!  Thank you!”

Thank YOU, Cindy, for your gracious partnerships with our student volunteers!

Cindy JaroschCindy Jarosch, PT

Volunteer Recognition Week: Staff Member Jan Gunderson Honors Volunteer Carol Lemke

Jan Gunderson, Administrative Assistant II in Children’s Infectious Disease department, has been working at Children’s for the past seven years.  Over the past year, Jan has begun partnering with volunteers in her department, and took this opportunity (during National Volunteer Week!) to highlight volunteer Carol Lemke!

Jan writes:

“Carol is friendly and very thorough in her work.  She always offers her help and support for other office duties when a task is completed.  It’s a pleasure to have Carol help our department on a routine basis.  Thanks, Carol, for all that you do!”

 Jan Gunderson            Carol Lemke

   Jan Gunderson                                                 Carol Lemke

Volunteer Recognition Week Profile: Heather LaClare

Heather LaClare Heather LaClare

Where do you volunteer, and how long have you been volunteering?

I started out with Children’s in the Child Life Volunteer Exposure Experience in January 2010, which focused on the role of child life specialists.  I have continued to volunteer since that time, and am mostly volunteering in inpatient rooms.

What is your educational background & future career interest?

I am a senior at Hamline University, graduating in May.  I’m a psychology and sociology double major.  I’ve always known that I wanted to work with children and families dealing with chronic illness, particularly in a pediatric hospital setting.  I will be attending the University of St. Catherine/University of St. Thomas joint Masters in Social Work program in the fall.

What first brought you to Children’s as a volunteer?

I decided to volunteer because of my interest in working in the medical field, particularly with the psychosocial functioning aspect (child life, social work, etc.).  I personally was a patient at Children’s for 18+ years, and wanted to give back and make a difference.  I remembered that, as a young patient, a nurse played Barbies with me at 3 in the morning-I reflect on that time now and appreciate her going out of her way to do so.  As a volunteer, I can be that person.

What kinds of things do you enjoy doing when you’re not volunteering?

I love reading, and getting into a good book.  During the summer, you can find me camping at Minnesota state parks with my family & golden retriever named Summer.  I enjoy going to Brainerd International Raceway (BIR) to watch cars drag-racing (I will hopefully get to race some this summer)!  I also love getting into TV shows; my favorites are Dexter, Nikita, 24, Off the Map, Ellen DeGeneres, and more!

What do you enjoy most about volunteering?

I love making kids smile by acting goofy!  Even though we don’t spend a ton of time with these special kiddos, I feel like I’m making a difference in their life at that moment, and that difference might last a lifetime.

Thank you, Heather, for the difference that you make here at Children’s every day!  A note to our readers:  Heather has graciously offered to contribute during this coming school year as a “guest blogger” to highlight her journey into clinical social work!  Please check back for more of her writings in the future!

Volunteer Recognition Week Profile: Christin Weggemann

Christin WeggemannChristin Weggemann 

Where do you volunteer, and how long have you been volunteering?

I have been volunteering at Children’s since the spring of 2008.  I have volunteered on the 3rd floor, in the NICU, as a float [on the inpatient units], and am currently volunteering in Surgery.

What is your educational background and future career interest?

I will be graduating this summer from the University of Minnesota with my B.A. in Psychology & Biology, Society, & the Environment.  I am currently studying for the MCAT and will be applying to medical school.  I hope to have a career in a pediatric specialty.

What first brought you to Children’s as a volunteer?

I decided to volunteer at Children’s because I wanted to explore my interest in pediatrics.

What kinds of things do you enjoy doing when you’re not volunteering?

Outside of volunteering, I enjoy spending time with my friends and family.  I love doing anything outdoors (when it’s warm!); in the winter, I settle for shopping.  I also enjoy traveling.

What do you enjoy most about volunteering?

The thing that I enjoy the most about volunteering is being able to make a difference for a child or family.  No matter how sick a child is, they still just want to play and be a kid.  Some children have physical limitations due to their illnesses, and I enjoy the challenge of finding a way to adapt their favorite activity so that they can do it in spite of their limitations.  I also enjoy interacting with patients’ families.  Having a sick child or sibling can be very stressful; being able to provide a break to tired parents or distraction to a sibling to make this otherwise difficult experience better is extremely rewarding for me.

Thank you so much, Christin, for making the hospital experience better for so many patients & families!

Where Are They Now?: Andrea Otteson, RN

Andrea OttesonAndrea Otteson, RN

Andrea Otteson started volunteering at Children’s-St. Paul in the fall of 2008 while in the process of applying to nursing school. Combining an undergraduate degree in art with Children’s vast supplies of creative materials, Andrea was well-equipped to sit with crafty kids for hours at a time in the playrooms and diabetes education center. Now a graduate from the U of M’s Master of Nursing program, Andrea currently works as a nurse for the adult population at Regions Hospital. Andrea is grateful for the wonderful experiences that she had while volunteering at Children’s!

Thank you, Andrea, for your continued support of Children’s!  Happy Volunteer Week!

Volunteer Recognition Week Profile: Pamela Neal

Pamela Neal Pamela Neal

Where do you volunteer, and how long have you been volunteering?

I have been at Children’s Hospital-St. Paul for almost four years, volunteering over 800 hours as a Float Volunteer in the NICU, PICU, 3200, 4100, and 4200 units.

What is your educational/career background?

My previous position was Assistant Clinical Supervisor in Surgery.  I worked as a surgical technician and RN before receiving my bachelor’s degree and going into management.  My current interests include exploring education related to personal health care:  taking responsibility for your well-being, teen pregnancy, development of parent-child communication, and possibly traveling abroad to volunteer.

What first brought you to Children’s as a volunteer?

I became interested in volunteering at Children’s Hospital because of my enjoyment of children.  I also was looking for the challenge of working with children who each have a unique need.  Children’s Hospital was my first choice, due to its reputation of quality care relating to childhood illnesses and disease.  I was also impressed with the volunteer department;  they offer a wide variety of volunteer opportunities.

What kinds of things do you enjoy doing when you’re not volunteering?

Extracurricular activities I enjoy include travel, photography, horses, swimming, cooking, reading, music, and stopping to enjoy the sunrise/sunset.

What do you enjoy most about volunteering?

The looks that a child gives are priceless; thus, the personal fulfillment is beyond words.  The appreciation from patients, families, nursing staff and physicians is by far more rewarding than anything I’ve ever done.  The nursing staff continually let me know that I am appreciated.  Children are incredibly eager to please and so easily intrigued, making each day of volunteering a joy.  The multitude of interactive options available to volunteers allows for a unique and positive experience with each child.  It is an honor to be allowed to give my time to these precious children.

Thank you, Pamela, for giving your time to Children’s so generously!

Volunteer Recognition Week Profile: Sarah Bundrick

Sarah Bundrick

Sarah Bundrick

Sarah has been volunteering at Children’s since the beginning of February.  During this time, she has volunteered in the NICU, Family Resource Center, and as a float volunteer on the inpatient units.  Sarah is a pre-medical/psychology student at Bethel University, and hopes to someday become a physician. 

When asked why she decided to volunteer at Children’s, Sarah responded, “I wanted to gain experience working with children in a health care setting, and I wanted to contribute to the positive experience that every child and their family deserves while at Children’s!”  Sarah’s favorite part of volunteering is “holding all of the beautiful and happy babies!”

Outside of volunteering, Sarah enjoys running, skiing, and blogging.  (We may have to utilize her services for the “Red Vest Review” in the future!) 

Thank you, Sarah, for your enthusiasm, compassion, and service to Children’s!

Volunteer Recognition Week Profile: Jill Bartel

Jill BartelJill Bartel

Where do you volunteer, and how long have you been volunteering?

I volunteer on the sixth and seventh floors at Children’s-Minneapolis, and I have been volunteering for the past seven months (since October 2010).

What is your educational background and future career interest?

My undergraduate degree is in Gender and Women’s Studies, and I’m currently pursuing my Masters in Nursing from the University of Minnesota.

What brought you to Children’s as a volunteer?

I decided to volunteer at Children’s because I enjoy spending time with kids, and I wanted direct experience working with pediatric patients.

What kinds of things do you enjoy doing when you’re not volunteering?

I enjoy spending time with my friends and family, traveling to new places, reading, and running.

What do you enjoy most about volunteering?

Hanging out with awesome kids is what I enjoy most about volunteering! I especially like playing games and doing crafts with kids. Seeing smiles on their faces is really rewarding, and I like knowing that I made their stay at Children’s a little bit better.

Thank you, Jill, for taking the time to hang out with the awesome kids that we have here at Children’s!

Where Are They Now?: Child Life Specialist Amanda Meyer

“I volunteered at Children’s of Minnesota in 2009. I got my start in Child Life by participating in the Child Life Volunteer Exposure Experience. This program was so valuable to my education and preparation for my future as a Child Life Specialist.

After graduating from University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in May 2009 with a Bachelors of Science degree in Psychology, I spent the summer preparing for my Child Life Internship for fall 2009 at Saint Joseph’s Children’s Hospital in Marshfield, WI. After completing my internship I started applying for jobs across the country. After many interviews, I finally accepted a job at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis, TN ( It was hard to leave my friends and family, but I was excited to have my first “real” job. My starting position was as the evening Child Life Specialist, covering the whole hospital (225 beds, including the intensive care areas). My job was to attend to any needs that arose after the daytime specialists left:  this included providing procedural support/distraction, preparation, and family support; providing sibling visits, supervising special events, and conducting pre-surgery tours. In June 2010, I sat for the Child Life certification exam and passed. After 8 months of working the evening position, I was offered a position working in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (60 beds), which is where I am today! I provide family support, sibling visits, preparation, developmental stimulation, and memory building for all the newborns at Le Bonheur. I am so lucky to be working at such an amazing hospital, and I know that my volunteering experience helped me get here.”

-Amanda Meyer, BS, CCLS

P.S.  Amanda is more than willing to chat with any potential child life specialists/students with child life interest!  You can e-mail her at [email protected].

Amanda MeyerAmanda Meyer, “down South” at her new home in Memphis!

Thank you, Amanda, for your continued support of Children’s Hospital!

Volunteer Recognition Week Profile: Lisseth DeGracia

Profile pic

Lisseth DeGracia

Where do you volunteer, and how long have you been volunteering?

I have been volunteering at Children’s since January 2010, so a little over a year now. I am a float volunteer, which means that I am on a number of different floors and get to work with a variety of patients, which I love. 

What is your educational background and future career interest?

I am currently a nursing student, and will graduate with my RN degree this May.  I hope to work with children when I am done with school:  any age would be wonderful, but taking care of tiny babies would be my dream come true! Volunteering at Children’s has absolutely confirmed to me that I chose the right career path. 

What first brought you to Children’s as a volunteer?

When a child is sick or hospitalized, they do not understand why. They are taken out of their normal environment, and are in a very vulnerable state. If I can make even a little difference in their stay at the hospital becoming a positive experience, then I am satisfied. I decided to volunteer because I wanted to give back a little, and could not think of a better way to do it.  I decided to volunteer to see a smile on the face of a child that really needs a smile.

What kinds of things do you enjoy doing when you’re not volunteering?

Outside of volunteering, I am a full-time mother, a full-time nursing student, and a full-time employee at Lifetime Fitness and Seven the Steakhouse in Minneapolis. When I have free time, my favorite thing to do with it is spend time with my two little boys. Whether we are watching a movie, playing outside, or wrestling in the living room, I love being with them. I also love sports, and play soccer one night a week on a co-ed adult soccer team. Being outside is another one of my favorite things, so I am very excited to see this snow melting!

What do you enjoy most about volunteering?

In one word:  EVERYTHING. I love being at Children’s. What I enjoy most about volunteering is seeing these kids’ faces light up. I love seeing them get excited when they kick my butt in a game I very well could have won, I love seeing them look at me and know that they are enjoying themselves, I love when babies fall asleep in my arms and I know that they are content; I love when I see them happy. There are so many things that I enjoy, I could go on and on and on. Every time I leave Children’s, I know that my outlook on life and positivity have grown just a little.

Thank you, Lisseth, for spreading your warmth & positive energy across our inpatient units!