Archive for the ‘Volunteer Profiles’ Category

Red-Vested Rockstar: Doreen Schlangen

Friday, September 20th, 2013

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

Meet Doreen!

1.   Why she ROCKS?!

 “My first real job was in the medical field.  I was a medical lab technician at St. Cloud Hospital for 5 years full-time and 2 years part-time, then I went back to school for computer programming.  When I left the medical field, I promised myself that one day, when the time was right, I would find my way back into medicine in a different capacity.  The only thing that I could do without a salary was volunteer.  Twenty years after leaving the medical field, I started volunteering at Children’s and have been here for the past 11 years.  When you are successful and have much to be thankful for, it is your responsibility to give back. Volunteering lets me do that.”

2.   Favorite thing to do outside of volunteering?

“Anything athletic or outside – working out at LifeTime Fitness, biking, running, golfing, etc.”

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

“No.”

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

“It would have to have nuts, chocolate and caramel with an almond cream filling.  I’d call it ‘Alnutso.’”

5.   Share a favorite volunteer experience or story:

“The most rewarding nights in the NICU are when you have a baby that has had issues all day long, but when you rock them, they settle in quickly and are quiet for the entire time.  That is why I chose to come here.”

Thank you, Doreen, for providing that extra TLC to our little patients!

Red-Vested Rockstar: Tayla Saccoman

Friday, August 23rd, 2013

Tayla hard at work!

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

Meet Tayla!

1.   Why she ROCKS?!

“I began volunteering at a soup kitchen when I was in high school, and did that for a couple of years. I started because I wanted to give back in some way, and stayed because of all the awesome people I met. It was a lot of fun, but completely different then my experience here at Children’s. I love kids and have always bonded with them; I just felt this place calling to me when a friend of mine told me about her experience here. I remember telling Jenna in my interview that I wanted to volunteer here more than I’ve wanted anything in a long time. I am currently working at a local coffee/wine bistro and living life!”

2.   Favorite thing to do outside of volunteering?

“I love biking and hanging with friends and my boyfriend…mostly enjoying the summer while it’s here! We are always having a good time no matter what we do!”

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

“No kids. As far as pets go, there are just my roommates Luke and Bryan. Haha…just kidding, guys.  =) No pets yet!”

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

“Oh, that’s easy; every type of chocolate mixed into one. And maybe throw some pop rocks in there…and chili peppers. I’d call it “The Explosion”…oooo, I like that name!”

5.   Share a favorite volunteer experience or story:

“This is a tough one, because every day I leave Children’s with a story to tell. My first day I was up on the floors, I held a six-week-old baby:  he was so sweet and quiet and just stared at me with his sweet newborn blue eyes. Right then, I knew that this place was going to impact me in a way I wasn’t anticipating. A more recent story is from the Sibling Play Area. There’s the sweetest little four-year-old boy that I see every week, and every week I see him get so excited to see his little sister. Last Monday he told me all about her and when his mom and sister came to pick him up, he was so excited for me to meet her! He waved me over anxiously, grabbed her face and gave her a big kiss on the forehead. What a wonderful moment to see!”

We adore your positive energy, contagious smile and love for kids! Thanks for volunteering, Tayla!

Red-Vested Rockstar: Carolina Valladares

Friday, August 9th, 2013

 

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

Meet Carolina!

1.   Why she ROCKS?!

 “I’m currently studying Child Psychology at The University of Minnesota.  My goal is to one day be a Child Life Specialist at Children’s!  My little sister was an oncology patient here at Children’s and I’m incredibly grateful to have had such awesome volunteers to make the experience less scary.  Volunteering is my way of giving back and it is also a way to remember my little sister. I love walking into a room and seeing how much hope the kids have. They have a joy about life that is pretty unexplainable.”

 2.   Favorite thing to do outside of volunteering?

 “I love to spend time with my friends and family. In the summer I like to go to the beach and to drive-in movies!”

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

 “I have a guinea pig named Stuart, a betta fish named Charlina, and two dogs named Bella and tinker! I guess you could say that my family loves animals!”

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

 “I would somehow mix Oreo cookies and caramel together.  I would name it ‘Cookie Crumbs’!”

 5.   Share a favorite volunteer experience or story:

  “I look forward to coming in every week to volunteer because it is always a different story and I feel blessed to have the opportunity to play with the kids.  I’m fluent in Spanish so it’s always fun when I get the chance to speak Spanish with the kids! One of my favorite experiences was being able to interact with a little boy who only spoke Spanish.  I’m glad that my Spanish comes in handy at times!”

Thanks for volunteering, Carolina! Your passion for Children’s, and kids are evident in the work that you do!

Red-Vested Rockstar: Daniela Brito

Monday, July 29th, 2013

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

Meet Daniela!

1.   Why she ROCKS?!

“Ever since my brother was 8 months old, we have been in and out of the hospital because of his medical condition. I still remember when volunteers came in his room here at Children’s to play with him and I. Other times, we would come to Children’s and my brother and I would play in the Sibling Play Area.  Now, I feel that I can really connect with the kids that I volunteer with in the Sibling Play Area!”

A bit more about Daniela: “I’m learning Korean, and like making desserts. This year, I will be starting high school (9th grade). I do homeschooling and I really enjoy it!”

2.   Favorite thing to do outside of volunteering?

“Spending time with my friends/family and learning Korean.”

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

“I have two dogs:  Cookie is the mom and Sugar is the daughter.”

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

“Coconut, pecans and milk chocolate would be in it. I would call it ‘Crazy Coconut.’”

5.   Share a favorite volunteer experience or story:

“It was time for me to leave the Sibling Play Area because my shift was over. One of the little girls that I was playing with didn’t want me to leave; she wanted me to stay and play with her some more. I ended up staying a couple minutes extra to played with her. Doing that made me feel happy because I saw that the kids enjoy playing with me!”

Thank you, Daniela, for sharing your family’s positive experiences at Children’s! Your compassion and love for kids shows each time you volunteer!

Red-Vested Rockstar: Mike Igoe

Friday, June 28th, 2013

 

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

Meet Mike!

1.   Why he ROCKS?!

 “I am currently a junior attending the University of Minnesota working towards my Civil Engineering degree. I started volunteering because I have always wanted to give back to the community and help kids. I believe in trying to help anybody who needs it, and make positive differences in the lives of kids. Also, my girlfriend was at Children’s when she was a kid, and said she always looked forward to the volunteers coming in as it made the long days in the hospital feel much shorter. This made me want to volunteer at Children’s even more.”

 2.   Favorite thing to do outside of volunteering?

  “I really enjoy going up to my grandparents cabin in the Summer: going wakeboarding, and playing golf.”

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

 “I have two dogs, Chloe a Yellow Lab and Sophie a Black Lab.”

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

 “I would combine smooth caramel and peanuts and surround it with hard butterscotch; simple but delicious. I would call it Butter Crunch.”

 5.   Share a favorite volunteer experience or story:

 “I volunteer on the floors and in the Sibling Play area; my favorite experience comes from the sibling play area. Every week, this one boy would come in for an hour and a half to play. He immediately liked playing with me but when he would come back the following week, he would not remember who I was or know my name. After a month or two, when I was unable to be there right when he came in, he would ask the staff member where I was, and when I was coming in. When I showed up, he lit up and was very excited to see me. Ever since hehas always recognized me and has been very happy when we get to play.”

 Thank you, Mike, for being such a rockstar! Your calm, inviting demeanor is perfect for our kids in Sibling Play!

Red-Vested Rockstar: Kelly Jordan

Friday, June 14th, 2013

 

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

Meet Kelly!

 1.   Why she ROCKS?!

 Why not start off with some fun facts about Kelly! She is a twin, who has worked as a TV news reporter & anchor; she lived in New Zealand for almost a year. She has fortunately avoided hospital stays with a clean record, holding zero broken bones! What is one of the most important attributes of Kelly’s? Her love of volunteering:

 “I truly LOVE to volunteer! Volunteering at Children’s Hospital is super fun, and I am really happy I get the opportunity to do it each week. I look forward to putting on my super stylish red volunteer vest every time I come because I know I am going to help Children’s Hospital staff, patients and their families — that gives me a tremendous sense of pride.”

 2.   Favorite thing to do outside of volunteering?

 “I have many hobbies and interests outside of volunteering, so it’s hard to pick just one. Some people might even call me a jack of all trades! I enjoy traveling, being with friends and family, following the news and reading magazines. I am a big sports fan, and I also like cooking, or at least attempting to cook.

 When I am not struggling to make fantasy football picks, I can usually be found frequenting local lakes and parks with my dog, Hendrix. In addition to volunteering at Children’s Hospital, I also volunteer regularly for youth sleep away camp during the summer in Annandale, Minnesota.”  

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

 “I have one dog, his name is Hendrix and he’s a rescue Yorkshire Terror…I mean Terrier. I’ve imposed a lifetime ban on him from visiting the local grooming salon. Only kidding! He’s a handful, but he keeps me on my toes and I couldn’t imagine my life without him — we’re best buds!”

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

 “After volunteering and Hendrix, candy is one of my biggest loves. I have such a sweet tooth! If I could create any candy it would be a licorice-flavored (I’m partial to Red Vines) coating that had a mix of Sweet Tarts inside of the licorice, drizzled with sugar from Sour Punch Straws. Just thinking about that combination really makes my mouth water. Yum!”

 5.   Share a favorite volunteer experience or story:

 “Even though it might sound cliché, I really have too many favorite experiences to pick just one. Even on days when things are a little slow, I have a ton of fun. Off the top of my head, one day in particular comes to mind while I was working with Mindy, a Child Life Specialist.

 It was during the evening, and Mindy grabbed me as soon as she could once I got to the Hospital. She walked up to me and said “I have a job for you.” She then explained to me that a couple of siblings needed someone to hang out and play with. So, before Mindy introduced me, I gathered as many toys as my little hands could possibly hold. I played with the sibling for about 45 minutes. During that time, I learned more about Pokémon than I ever thought possible, made “cookies” and “pancakes” out of Play-Doh. I also got to learn about spring break plans and what the latest “hip” trends were in the fourth grade.

 It was a really unique situation, but was a lot of fun. I tried my hand at making masterful Play-Doh characters, even though the finished result didn’t turn out so great — just ask the sibling, they’ll tell you. It was also a good experience in that it helped further my confidence in entertaining kids to ensure they were having fun while the ED staff went about their work. In the end, it was really rewarding to know I was a good partner and helped make a difference as part of the Children’s Hospital team!”

 Thank you, Kelly! Your enthusiasm, teamwork, and love of play are an asset to Children’s!

 

Red-Vested Rockstar: Rachel Lerman

Friday, May 31st, 2013

 

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

 Meet Rachel!

1.   Why she ROCKS?!

 “I first applied to volunteer at the hospital when I was in 8th grade.  I always have loved helping people and giving back to my community.  My older sister was also a volunteer, so I followed in her footsteps.  I officially started when I was a freshman, and have spent time on various floors.  I am currently a senior in high school, and spend a lot of my time not only volunteering at the hospital, but at many other organizations.”  

 2.   Favorite thing to do outside of volunteering?

 “Outside of volunteering, I love spending time with my family, shopping, and traveling to new places.”

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

 “I have a dog named Bella.  She is a little white fluffy dog.”

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

“If I could create a new candy bar, it would have peanut butter, caramel, milk chocolate, and Rice Krispy cereal. I would name it ChocoPop.”

 5.   Share a favorite volunteer experience or story:

   “When I first started volunteering, I was in the NICU.  Week after week, I walked in and held the same baby over and over again.  It was an eye-opening experience to connect with that baby during my volunteering.  Another experience occurred when I was on 3rd floor playing with a young boy.  In the middle of us talking and playing, he looked up at me and said, “You know, one day I will be like you; volunteering here when I am old enough.  I want to help people.”  It was amazing to hear someone so young saying this, and to see what an impact people can have on others.”

Thank you, Rachel, for being an exemplary volunteer! Your caring touch enriches the experience of our patients!

Red-Vested Rockstar: Chase Tokarczyk

Friday, May 17th, 2013

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

Meet Chase!

1.   Why he ROCKS?!

 “My niece and nephew were both patients here at Children’s when they were born with heart defects.  Volunteering at Children’s is my way of giving back for saving two wonderful lives.”

 2.   Favorite thing to do outside of volunteering?

 “Outside of volunteering, I love to play music (mostly the guitar) for my friends and family.”

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

 “I have three pets: 2 dogs and 1 parrot.”

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

 “If I could create a new candy bar, it would be an Oreo covered in caramel, then layered with milk chocolate. I would call this creation the ‘Caramel King!’”

5.   Share a favorite volunteer experience or story:

       “I was pushing a young boy around in a little car through the hallways…after a while, he began to hum the theme to Batman:  nah-nah-nah nah-nah-Batman!  This made my week, since Batman is my favorite superhero.”

 Thank you, Chase, for being such a rockstar! Your smile and enthusiasm are an asset to Children’s!

Red-Vested Rockstar: Janene Koutek

Friday, April 5th, 2013

Janene and The Dude, delivering cool prizes!

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

 Meet Janene!

1.   Why she ROCKS!!

“My brother, Joseph, used to be a patient at Children’s, and I always thought that it would be cool to come and hang out with the kids at the hospital… so here I am! I finally made the decision to become a volunteer. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.” We agree! Janene has been an awesome addition to our Star Studio volunteer team. She brings fun, laughter, and plenty of smiles to each and every shift.

As for the future: “Right now, I am in the process of completing my Masters Degree in Child and Adolescent Development. I hope to someday become a Child Life Specialist.”

  2.   Favorite thing to do outside of volunteering?

“I love to sing! In January, I won a trip to Hawaii and auditioned to sing “God Bless America” at Target Field for a Twins game. I also love reading, dancing, and scrapbooking.”

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

 “No kids, but I do have a cat. Her name is Tighty Whitey. She’s white with blue eyes and is super shy.”

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

“This is a loaded question…um… I think it would have to be something with toffee, chocolate, and peanut butter. But then there’s nougat and caramel, too. UGH! Okay, for real, peanut butter, strawberries, and chocolate. Kinda like a chocolate-covered PB & J. Yup, that’s it. I’d name it LaLa’s Lucious Lunchwich.”

  5.   Share a favorite volunteer experience or story:

“I feel privileged to be able to work with the AWESOME staff at the Star Studio, especially The Dude. But I really love the fact that I get to visit so many kids while I’m at the hospital. I love being able to go into the rooms and share with them what’s going to be on the show. I think it’s super cool when new patients call in! It’s a fantastic feeling to get the kids excited to watch the show, whether it’s their first time or their 100th time.”

Thank you, Janene, for being such an awesome volunteer!

Red-Vested Rockstar: Sean Creegan

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

 

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

Meet Sean!

1.   Why he ROCKS?

“Being in a medical environment is a large switch for me. I worked all through college and after as a carpenter, welder, and painter for the theatre. The work took me all over the United States, and I got to work with a wide variety of talented people on musicals, plays, dance shows, and other performance pieces. Some of my best memories involve working all-nighters with my team to get the show ready to open that evening.

 I recently began to explore medicine as another career choice. As an artist, I have always found anatomy and physiology fascinating. Having worked with my hands all my life, getting to apply this science to a craft like medicine is very exciting to me.

I began volunteering at Children’s to explore this interest more, as well as to spend time with patients. Coming from a family of six children, I feel right at home playing board games and doing art with the kids in the hematology/oncology clinic. The kids that I get to spend time with are so bright, funny, creative, and brave; it’s really a highlight of my week!”

 2.   Favorite thing to do outside of volunteering?

   “Kung fu! No, seriously, I do kung fu. It’s a great workout, and good for building focus.”

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

 “I do not, but I would love to get a nice big dog! I’ve decided that his name will be Duke.”

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

 “There used to be a candy bar called “Seven Up,” not to be confused with the sugary drink. It got its name because it had seven sections, and each one was filled with a different flavor, such as caramel, nougat, and mint. I would build off of that idea, add a few new flavors, and call it “The Big Ten,” a nod to the University and my alma mater. I would keep the original flavors and add a few of my own, including bacon, cinnamon roll, and jalapeño.”

 5.   Share a favorite volunteer experience or story:

       “I recently played Super Mario Bros. on the Wii with a young patient in the clinic. He had never played the game before, so I gladly showed him the ropes. Mario had been a favorite game of mine when I was his age, so it was very exciting to teach him how to play and see him enjoy it. When he was leaving, he snuck up and hugged me. It was a very touching moment.”

 Thank you, Sean,  for being such a rockstar! Your passion, hard work and positive energy are appreciated!