Monthly Archives: January 2013

Red-Vested Rockstar: Cooper Rapp

Cooper playing the infamous Pac-Man game!

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

Meet Cooper!

1.   Why he ROCKS?!

 Cooper, often known at Children’s as ‘Super Cooper,’ has been volunteering with us since 2011! He spends most of his time on the inpatient floors, but has also helped out in our hematology-oncology clinic and many other areas. Listen to how he got involved in volunteering: “I got into volunteering through my desire to pursue a career in the field of medicine. Also, because kids rock! I love to play video games, run, and eat good food. Aside from volunteering, I’m a student, researcher, and laboratory preparation assistant at the University of St. Thomas. GO TOMMIES!!”

 2.   Favorite thing to do outside of volunteering?

  “Outside of volunteering, I like to play Super Smash Brothers on the N64 or Wii with my friends.”

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

 “No kids, but an awesome little Tibetan Terrier named Ruby. Unfortunately, I’m allergic to most furry little critters, but for some reason, not to Ruby. Thank goodness!”

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

 “Well, it would definitely have Whoppers, toffee, and caramel in it…also, whatever they put inside Three Musketeers bars, because that stuff is awesome. All that would be wrapped up in some thick milk chocolate, and it would be called Magnitude.”

 5.   Share a favorite volunteer experience or story:

  “A few months ago, I was volunteering at the hospital with a little boy who wanted to play Pokémon with me. He had a huge stack of cards… [and] told me that he didn’t want to play the normal card game, he wanted to play the “other” one. He explained that he wanted to play through the original GameBoy game story line using his actual cards. We each picked one of the original starter Pokémon (Pikachu included) and had our first rival battle with each other. Then, using our pooled knowledge of the original game, we constructed accurate lineups for each of the eight original gym leaders using what cards we had available. … After we had defeated Giovanni, I set up the Elite Four lineups for him to complete. Being the Elite Four, new rules came into effect. He had to beat each of the Elite Four simultaneously, with accumulating damage and knockouts carrying over into the next battle…After he defeated each member, it was time for his final battle with his rival… Needless to say, I was soundly defeated and we celebrated our new Pokémon champion, taking the time to induct each of his starting six into the ‘Pokémon Hall of Fame’. I spent three and a half hours reliving some of the best times of my entire childhood. Awesome.  Just awesome.”

 We think that YOU are awesome, Cooper!  Thanks so much for all that you do!

Red-Vested Rockstar: Ardie Arko


Ardie & Murray on Give to the Max Day

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

Meet Ardie…and Murray!

1.   Why she ROCKS?!

 Ardie has brought two generations of therapy dogs to Children’s: her beautiful Sheltie, Molly, and now her handsome Sheltie, Murray! She began volunteering at Children’s in 2008, and is an integral part of our PAWH (Pets Assisting with Healing) program, volunteering multiple days each week! Here is her background story: “I was at agility training and discovered that my first Sheltie, Molly, could no longer be involved with agility due to a bad back.  Someone in the class suggested that we might want to pursue training as a therapy dog team.   I was completely unaware that such an activity existed, so I began my research.  Molly and I began the training program, became registered as a therapy dog team, and began visiting regularly at Methodist Hospital.  I retired and became available during days that enabled us to become part of the teams at Children’s Hospital, and I have been working in the rehab areas of Children’s-St. Paul, Minneapolis, Maple Grove and Minnetonka, as well as visiting patient floors at Children’s-Minneapolis.”

 2.   Favorite thing to do outside of volunteering?

 “As a result of my interest in therapy work, I joined a group called North Star Therapy Animals and am currently a board member and treasurer.  I love reading and belong to a mystery book club.  I have a new grandson and love to spend lots of time with him, as well as with my daughter and her husband.  I do a bit of fishing and a lot of gardening in the summer time, and enjoy a warm ten days in the winter (not here!).”

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

 “Our dog Molly passed away a few weeks ago, but Murray has been taking her spot in the therapy dog arena.  He is now four years old and really enjoys the children.  We also have two cats, Max and Franky.  We have three grandsons – would love a granddaughter but probably not going to happen!”

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

 “This one will be a work in progress…!”

 5.   Share a favorite volunteer experience or story:

 “I have had so many great experiences as a therapy dog team.  One Saturday, I received a phone call from Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis about a little girl who had had surgery on Thursday, but the staff was having a really hard time getting her to sleep.  She loved dogs with a passion, and we were asked to visit to see if we could to possibly help her rest.  I placed Murray in bed with her and, of course, she was delighted.  She petted him, hugged him and talked to him.  After a bit of time, she asked her father for her blanket, which he provided with a great deal of hope.  We had thought she was going to curl up and possibly sleep with Murray next to her.  Not so: she took the blanket and covered Murray with it.  Murray went to sleep!  However, much to our delight, she fell asleep a bit later.”

Bringing the Spirit of Volunteerism to Advocacy

Did you know that Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota has an Advocacy and Health Policy department? This department’s staff dedicate their time to promoting policies, initiatives and laws that support kids’ health, as well as Children’s ability to provide the best care possible.

As someone who already devotes your personal time to serving the needs of children, you understand the value of volunteerism and the positive difference that it can make in someone else’s (and your own!)  life. Advocacy is really an extension of that value because when people speak up for the issues that matter to them, like children’s health, we can have a big impact on the lives of many. Since the concepts of volunteerism and advocacy embody the same core values, we wanted to share more about our advocacy work so you can get involved if you’re interested!

Children's Advocacy Team: Kelly Wolfe, Anna Youngerman and Katie Rojas-Jahn

The advocacy team at work

Influencing government

A lot of what the Advocacy team does revolves around local, state and federal government policies. We work to inform policymakers about the most pressing health concerns faced by children in our region, and the value of a health care provider focused exclusively on kids.

For example, one of the public health care programs in Minnesota is called Medical Assistance (Medicaid) and it plays an important role in making sure kids have access to care. In 2011, 430,901 kids were covered through Medical Assistance.  As one of Children’s advertising posters states, “Any kid can get sick. Not every kid can afford to.” Because Children’s treats every child seeking care, regardless of ability to pay, the advocacy team works to make sure that Medical Assistance is funded appropriately to meet pediatric health care needs.

We also support programs at the state and federal level that fund education for pediatric students, residents and fellows to develop knowledge in their chosen specialties. Unfortunately, this funding has been threatened in recent years (in 2011, the state-based funds for this work, called MERC, were cut by 50 percent), so in 2013, Children’s will advocate for the preservation of remaining funds and restoration of the cuts.

In the community

The Advocacy and Health Policy team also supports ongoing community work to address some of the public health concerns facing kids today. Childhood obesity is on the rise across the U.S., and Minnesota is no exception. In our recent report, Children’s Check-Up 3: Starting Early to Prevent Childhood Obesity, we discussed the importance of starting early in the fight against obesity.

We also support the work of Vida Sana Minneapolis, a community-based program spearheaded by our own Dr. Julie Boman that provides community-based, culturally-appropriate programming for Latino families to reduce childhood obesity.

You can be a powerful advocate!

We hope that you’ll get involved with this work by signing up to be a part of our Children’s Advocacy Network (click the “Action E-list” link when page loads)—we’ll keep you updated on our work and let you know when you can take action in support of children’s health.

You can also follow the Voice for Kids blog and @childrenspolicy on Twitter. If you have more questions about our work, please contact Katie Rojas-Jahn at [email protected] or (612) 813-7111.


Buds in Scrubs: Christy Gotto

Children’s Volunteer Services presents:

Buds in Scrubs!

1.   Meet Christy:

“My name is Christy Gotto. I have been a registered nurse here at Children’s for seven and a half years, first starting on 7th Floor and now (for the last couple of years) in the NICU!”  Christy is a wonderful supporter of our volunteers, finding them plenty of kiddos to play with!

 2.   Favorite thing to do outside of work?

“I love to cook, bake, and (of course!) spend time with my family.”

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

“We have one son, Liam, who is almost 3 years old, and a new baby on the way next May.  We also have two dogs, Maverick and Dakota, who are 8 and 10 years old.”

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

“My favorite movie is Top Gun.”

 5.   Who was your hero as a kid?

“My dad.”

 6.   Who is your hero now?

“My grandmother, Eleanor.”

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

    “These are difficult questions.  It would be called ‘A Whole Lot of Goodness,’ and contain all of my favorites: dark chocolate, coconut, caramel and pecans.”

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

“I love being able to make a difference in some shape or form for our families and patients, even if it is just to make them smile for the first time that day.”

 9.   Share a work experience involving volunteers:

“One of our volunteers, Tom, came by almost every shift he volunteered to rock one of our older babies in the NICU that did not have family consistently here to be with her.  Her eyes lit up every time she saw him and he rocked her, which was her very favorite part of the day.”

Thank you, Christy, for all that you do to support and encourage our volunteers!