Monthly Archives: December 2012

Red-Vested Rockstar: Robert Mills III

Robert delivering blankets!

Children’s Volunteer Services presents: Red-Vested Rockstar!

Meet Robert!

1.   Why he ROCKS?!

 “My lifelong dream has been to be a pediatrician.  After working several years in the education field, I decided to go back to school to pursue my dream and figured, what better place to gain experience working with children in a medical setting than at Children’s Hospital?” We are thrilled to have Robert volunteer with us on our St. Paul Campus. He has assisted with pre-surgery tours and on the inpatient units, excelling wherever he is placed! Robert has incredible energy, as well as a positive outlook:  he is an ideal volunteer!

2.   Favorite thing to do outside of volunteering?

“Outside of volunteering, I love to play on my XBOX 360.” We are sure that Robert gets plenty of practice here on the inpatient floors!

3.   Do you have any kids or pets of your own?

“I have two sons, Elijah (7) and Aden (4).  I also have two pet goldfish that the kids named EJ and Julio.” :)

4.   If you could create a new candy bar, what would be in it and what would you name it?

“If I could make a candy bar, it would have to be a mix of Snickers and Turtle.  It would include milk chocolate, peanuts, pecans, caramel, and creamy nougat.  I would name it a Snurckle.”

5.   Share a favorite volunteer experience or story:

“There was an 11-year-old who came in for the pre-surgery program when all of the other kids were five or younger.  He, of course, felt out of place with all of the younger kids, so I really tried to connect with him on an 11-year-old level to make the program enjoyable.  We talked about video games, what we liked and didn’t like about middle school,  and sports.  We both had a good time during PSP, and I found out that when he came back for his surgery, the first thing that he asked the Child Life Specialist was, “Where’s Robert?”  It was really cool to know that in our short amount of time together, I made a positive impression on his hospital experience.”

Thank you, Robert, for all that you do!

Red-Vested Rockstar: Fatima Ahmad


Fatima and her favorite childhood character... Elmo!

Children’s Volunteer Services Presents: Red-Vested Rockstar!

 Meet Fatima!

1.   Why she ROCKS!!

Some would describe this week’s Rockstar as a “positive, energetic person”…we could not agree more!  Fatima brings her energy, love of play, and honest desire to help others to our hospital every Thursday afternoon…and she is only a high school sophomore!  “I started volunteering because I wanted to make a change; I wanted to make a difference. The only problem? I was only about 14 when I first signed up! Luckily, Children’s allowed volunteers of my age.  I fell in love with everything about this hospital:  the kind people, the amazing volunteers, and the inspiring patients.  I just try to live an optimistic life.”

 2.   Favorite thing to do outside of volunteering?

“My favorite things to do outside of volunteering are probably reading and theater. Some of my favorite books include ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ and ‘The Book Thief.” For theater, I like being backstage and helping there.”

 3.   Do you have any kids or pets of your own?

 “No:  sadly, I have no pets, and I’m too young to have children!”

 4.   If you could create a new candy bar, what would be in it and what would you name it?

“If I could make a new candy bar, I would name it Chuckles. It would be made of milk chocolate and inside would be caramel swirls.  It would have layers too:  one of chocolate, one of caramel, and one in the middle of white chocolate!”

 5.   Share a favorite volunteer experience or story:

“My favorite volunteer experience is probably sitting with a patient and playing Wii…which I am awful at!!  The patient and I had a blast playing Mario Kart and talking!”

Thank you, Fatima, for all that you do! 

From Patient to Volunteer: Guest Blogger Meredith Shimek

Meredith Shimek has been volunteering with Children’s Hospital for a year, playing with children and sharing her time on the inpatient units. As a senior in high school, Meredith is writing about her volunteer experience for class and was kind enough to share her story with us, as well!

Volunteer Meredith Shimek

“In the summer of 2009, I went to see my pediatrician for my 14-year physical.  I come from a tall Minnesotan family, and with a brother towering over 6’5”, when I had stopped growing at 4’11”, it became apparent that something was a little off. My pediatrician began running blood tests, and a couple of weeks later, I was diagnosed with Turner Syndrome. A month later, after an Upper GI Endoscopy, I was also diagnosed with celiac disease. As a teenager, I didn’t really know what to think about this new information, but now I do know that if not for my many appointments at Children’s Hospital, I never would have become a volunteer, or become interested in medicine.

As a kid, I never had an interest in the medical field. I was squeamish about blood and notorious for fainting when I’d get a flu shot- in short, the hospital was a place that I dreaded going to and had no interest in. After being diagnosed with Turner Syndrome, I went to Children’s Hospital many times for echocardiograms or blood draws. I can’t remember a time that I wasn’t eager to leave, but I would see other kids, younger than me, being wheeled into a room connected to IVs, and I would notice the dedication and tact of the Children’s staff. Everyone worked together to help these young people, and that was something I wanted to be a part of. I became increasingly interested in the medical field and wanted to help foster the environment that makes Children’s such a welcoming hospital.

As I started my junior year of high school, I began volunteering in the Pediatric Epilepsy Unit at Children’s. During my first month of volunteering, I spent my shifts with a little girl. At first, she would talk about how she missed her dog, or how she was distracted by her IVs, but in the following weeks, she would actually have a good time with me. We’d spend our time making friendship bracelets or discussing People magazine articles. She left the hospital happy, healthy, and excited to tell her 4th grade class all about the games she played, the people she met, and the artwork & scrapbook that we’d put together.

After a couple months of volunteering, I was already eager to be trained in other areas of the hospital. The first day of summer vacation, I started my shifts on an inpatient unit. I ended up spending the entire morning with a little boy, having our own little “bedside party” blowing bubbles and party blowers to help his lungs. On a day when his parents couldn’t visit him, it was great knowing that he didn’t have to be lonely.

There are a couple of reasons why I have loved my time at Children’s. It is a place that has inspired me so much as I see these kids become physically healthy.  It also means so much to be able to help them through their time at the hospital. Now I know that I am more open to changing my mind, and more eager to make a difference and dedicate myself to something that matters to me.”

Thanks, Meredith, for the time and energy that you’ve shared with the kids and families here at Children’s! We are so glad to have you here! 

Buds in Scrubs: Charles Lillicrap

Children’s Volunteer Services presents:

Buds in Scrubs!

1.   Meet Charles:

Charles works as a Unit Operations Coordinator in the Surgery department in Minneapolis. He has held this title for about 1 ½ years. Before this position, he worked as a Child Life Associate in Sibling Play and Concierge at the Welcome Desk. “None of this would have been possible if I didn’t start out as a volunteer in 2002.”  What a neat Children’s history!

 2.   Favorite thing to do outside of work?

“I’m competitive, so playing games and taking names is probablyat the top of my list, especially with my kids. I also enjoy watching Vikings football, spending time with friends and family, and driving in the snow.”

 3.   Do you have any kids or pets of your own?

“Two children, Finnegan (6) and Adeline (3 ½).”

 4.   What is your favorite book and/or movie?

“Star Wars IV, but before Lucas decided to add all of the extra junk to it. I can’t say that I have a favorite book; too many good ones to choose from!”

 5.   Who was your hero as a kid?

“Luke Skywalker.”

 6.   Who is your hero now?

“My wife.”

 7.   If you could create a new candy bar, what would be in it and what would you name it?

“Caramel, sea salt, dark chocolate, peanut butter, and pretzels.  I’d name them ‘Charlie’s Lil’ Craps.’  No one would buy them, and I’d get to eat them all!”

 8.   What do you love most about your job at Children’s?

“When I’m able to make a difference in a family’s experience. In the surgery center, we see a lot of parents that are stressed and not used to the powerless feeling that comes with sending a child into surgery. I help to make the time spent in our department a little less stressful ,which is wonderful: I really enjoy making a family smile, either with a joke or delivering good news.”

 9.   Share a work experience involving volunteers:

“My job would be impossible without the continuous help and support that I get from all of the amazing volunteers in our department. When my role first expanded to Family Waiting Room Supervisor, I asked for some ideas from the volunteers about how to make the surgery experience better. The responses were overwhelming, which showed me just how much volunteers cared about everything that we do for the families. It really impressed upon me how much volunteers invest into their jobs, and made me proud to work hand-in-hand with such a great group.”