Archive for the ‘Volunteer Profiles’ Category

Red Vested Rockstar: Angela Chang

Friday, October 26th, 2012

Angela catching a ride!


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

 Meet Angela!

1.   Why she ROCKS?!

 Angela started volunteering at Children’s  in 2006. She loves kids ‘and their adorable smiles’ and simply has a blast volunteering here! Angela has helped out on the inpatient units, in the Surgery Family Waiting Room, and most recently serves as a Peri-operative Escort in the Surgery Department. Within the past year, her passion for Children’s found her a position as a medical scribe at Children’s on the St. Paul Campus. She just can’t get enough of Children’s!

 2.   Favorite thing to do outside of volunteering?

 “I love dancing, shopping, sewing and spending time with family and friends!”

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

 “No, not yet at least!”

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

 “I think if I made a new candy bar, it would have to be a chocolate-covered cookie, hazelnut and caramel candy. I would call it Crazelnuts!’

 5.   Share a favorite volunteer experience or story:

    “There are an endless amount of great experiences I’ve had volunteering. The most recent I would say, was when my hip hop student group (Hip Hope) from the University of Minnesota was featured live on Star Studio. It was so much fun to talk and play games with kids over the phone or in person. At the end, we had a little guy in the audience who decided to join us up on stage to dance!”


Red-Vested Rockstar: Marjorie Branum

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

Marjorie having fun in the office!


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

Meet Marjorie!

1.   Why she ROCKS!?!

 Marjorie is working towards her nursing degree at Normandale, with the goal of becoming a pediatric nurse! When her class was told that Children’s was looking for volunteers, she leapt at the opportunity. Marjorie volunteers because she adores children and wants to make a difference in their lives, even if only for a few hours a week.

 2.   Favorite thing to do outside of volunteering?

 “Some of my favorite things include spending time with my husband and family, reading (my husband teases me that I could open a library with all of the books that I have), sewing, and baking.”

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

 “Three lovely cats have adopted my husband and I.”

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

 “I’m more of a cupcake girl than a candy bar girl, but I would want to make a candy bar with raspberries and lemon, wrapped in either white or dark chocolate…or a candy bar that tastes like Dr. Pepper, my favorite soda!’

 5.   Share a favorite volunteer experience or story:

   “One of my favorite things about volunteering at Children’s is watching the children interact. These children will share, look out for, and comfort other children that they have just met! It is so awesome! I have seen a child plant a plant with Leonard (horticultural therapy volunteer), then turn around and give it to another child who was unable to plant one because she was having some tests run that didn’t allow her to plant one herself. Children have invited others to play with them so that no one feels left out. I have overheard one child tell another patient not to be afraid of getting an MRI, then explain how it works in a simplistic manner. Every day is my favorite day at Children’s!”


Red-Vested Rockstar: Derran Bedward

Monday, October 1st, 2012

Derran and the infamous 'handwasher!'


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

 Meet Derran!

1.   Why he ROCKS!?!

 Derran is a sophomore at the University of Minnesota, majoring in Kinsesiology, under Pre-Medicine. He hopes to become a surgeon in either Pediatrics or Orthopedics. His family originated from Jamaica, although he was born right next door, at Abbott Northwestern! He has lived in Minneapolis (in the SAME house!) his whole life. Derran came on board late August, and we are THRILLED to have his enthusiasm and playful spirit on our volunteer team!

 2.   Favorite thing to do outside of volunteering?

 “I enjoy spending time with my friends and family because there is nothing better than laughing with those you love and care about. In addition to that, being a Seventh-Day Adventist Christian, I enjoy participating in all of my various church programs and events.”

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

 “I have no kids (though I love babies) and no pets.”

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

 “Well, I don’t really like chocolate (yeah, yeah…weird, I know), so it would be one not made out of chocolate. It would be amazing, and I would call it“Chocoless!”  Haha!’

 5.   Share a favorite volunteer experience or story:

 “My favorite volunteer experience thus far would have to be my very first day. Ms. Ingrid and I were on my tour when we came across this handwashing machine that neither of us had ever used until that day. It honestly looked like two turbines that sprayed soapy solution on your hands, and then partially dried them. It was awesome!!”

Mother-Daughter Volunteer Team: Pamela & Christine Neal

Friday, September 21st, 2012

Volunteers Christine and Pamela Neal

Over the past two months, both Pamela and Christine Neal have shared their time on the inpatient units in St. Paul. Pamela has volunteered with us for nearly 5 years, with nearly 1,500 service hours, and will continue on over the school year. Pamela’s daughter, Christine, attends college at the University of California in Santa Barbara, and was able to volunteer more than 35 hours over her summer break!

Thanks, ladies, for all of the time that you’ve shared with us at Children’s! You make a great mother-daughter team!

Red Vested Rockstar: Vince Opheim

Friday, September 14th, 2012

Vince... doing what he does best (Having fun!)

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

Edition 1: Meet Vince!

1.   Why he ROCKS?!

 Vince is, as the title states, a ROCKSTAR of a volunteer! He volunteers on our inpatient units in Minneapolis, serves as our ‘Twinkle’ mascot at various events, and helps out at Diabetes Support Groups in St. Paul. After toying with the teaching vs. social work professions, Vince has now settled on attending nursing school. If his plan works out, he will be working here at Children’s someday:  pediatrics is a must for Vince. He stays inspired to volunteer from all of the smiles that he receives on a weekly basis, and we are beyond pleased to have him on our team!

 2.   Favorite thing to do outside of volunteering?

 “I love running, playing football, competing in Mud Runs, and hanging with friends, as well as spending time with my nephews and niece!”

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

 “I have a Beagle named Gracie.”

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

 “Sugar-free chocolate, Lorna Doone cookies, and banana:  I will call it the ‘DiabetiBar.’

 5.   Share a favorite volunteer experience or story:

   “One of my favorites (and a recent experience!) was playing with a sibling who was here with her baby brother. She wanted a volunteer, so we started playing a couple of games of ‘Sorry!’ and ‘Uno.’ We then started talking about her favorite band, Black Eyed Peas, and after signing “Imma Be” a few too many times, she decided it was time to ‘throw me in jail!’ This was no normal jail walk for us. We would moon walk, bunny hop, skip, pretend we were a train, and even salsa! It was fun and non-stop laughter; even some of the staff got involved! The best part was after I dropped her off in her baby brother’s hospital room. She decided to show him some of her new moves, and gave me a huge smile…which left MY smile permanently glued to my face.”

Summer Stories: Volunteer Katelyn Paget

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

Volunteer Katelyn Paget

Katelyn Paget volunteered over the summer months on the inpatient units, and is now beginning her first semester of nursing school!

What do you study, and what are your future plans?

I am going into my freshman year at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, studying nursing.

What made you decide to volunteer over the summer months at Children’s Hospital?

I decided to volunteer this summer because I am headed to college this fall and needed to solidify my decision that nursing was the right path for me to take. When you volunteer, you learn so much that will come in handy for any health care profession like what the emergency codes mean, precautions when entering the room, bedside manner, and so much more! After spending time firsthand in the hospital, watching all the nurses go about their jobs and interacting with patients, I am 100% sure that I want to be a nurse!

Tell us about a fun or memorable volunteering moment.

My most memorable volunteering moment this summer was when a little girl came into the playroom and we started to make a friendship bracelet out of embroidery floss;  two other patients then saw us making them and joined in.  Everyone started talking with each other-even the parents!  It turned into quite a party and was really fun! I am really glad that Children’s gave me this summer opportunity.

Thanks, Katelyn, for spending the summer with us at Children’s, and best of luck in the new school year!

Summer Stories: Wetschka Sisters

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

Maria and Anna Wetschka are sisters who both volunteer at Children's!

In this post, guest blogger Maria Wetschka writes about her experience as a summer inpatient volunteer at Children’s. Maria is currently a junior in nursing school at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. Maria’s sister, Anna, is going into her senior year of high school this fall at Cretin-Derham Hall in St. Paul.

What made you decide to volunteer over the summer months at Children’s Hospital?

“One of the main reasons I chose to volunteer at Children’s this summer is because of my sister Anna. Anna has been volunteering here for almost a year, and every time I would see her after a shift, she always had the biggest smile on her face. I knew that what she did while volunteering made her happy, and I wanted to find that same happiness in helping others!”

What was your most memorable moment from volunteering this summer?

“The moment I realized that what I was doing was meaningful was when I was playing with a child on the epilepsy floor. I spent an hour with a patient who I thought didn’t really want to play with me. Instead of letting that get me down, I tried my hardest to help her have fun. We passed time blowing bubbles, taking her doll on walks, and coloring princess pictures. When her mom returned, I still wasn’t sure if the patient had fun. As I said goodbye to her, what happened next surprised me. The patient ran to her door and gave me the biggest hug. She said “goodbye, Maria” over and over, and when I thought she was done hugging me, she let go and hugged me again. It was then I knew that even though it may not always seem like it to me, the impact I can have on someone is big.  Even if it means doing something simple like playing dolls, I have the ability to make someone who is in what can be a scary place feel happy and safe, and that is what I love most about volunteering.”

What would you like to do in the future?

“I am a junior nursing student at Creighton University, and I would love to work with children in the future. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience or way to spend my summer! I truly value every second I have spent volunteering and hope to be back next summer!”

Thank you, Maria and Anna, for sharing your time with us this summer!

Volunteer Profile: Tom Hayden

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

Tom Hayden

Tom Hayden has been volunteering on the inpatient units at Children’s-Minneapolis since 2009.  His warm smile, positive energy, and good humor are always great to see on Thursday mornings!  Here is a bit about Tom, in his own words:

“I was born and raised on a farm six miles east of LeSueur, the second of eleven children.  After high school, I spent two years in the Navy on the East Coast.  After the service, I received my first job at an advertising agency, where I met my wife, Kathy.  We just celebrated our 51st wedding anniversary, and have two children, Kevin & Mika.  I find great enjoyment in our six grandchildren’s sports activities, band & choir concerts, plays, etc.  Since Kathy and I were restricted from working at the same firm, I moved to Northwestern National Bank of Minneapolis.  After 21 years, I started a new career at Allison-Williams Company, sold tax-free municipal bonds to individuals and institutions for ten years, then moved to Smith-Barney and worked as a broker for 19 years. My goal was to work for 50 years in downtown Minneapolis:  I did 49!  After my stroke on October 15th, 2007, I decided to retire on May 1, 2008.  

After retirement, I decided to apply to volunteer at Children’s Hospital.  I always worked toward goals in my career, and am continuing to do so as a volunteer.  I have 365 hours as a volunteer here thus far; my current goal is 400 hours by the end of 2012.  My next goal will be 500 hours, to be completed in 2013.

I enjoy being a volunteer:  the interaction with nursing staff, helping children, and allowing families to have a break.  I feel privileged to work with the staff in the volunteer office.  It’s a special honor to volunteer.”

Thank you, Tom, for your wonderful volunteer work here at Children’s!  WE are honored to have you on our team!

Volunteer Profile: Annika Johanson

Thursday, April 19th, 2012
 What would our department do without Annika Johanson?  From covering the desk in the Surgery Family Waiting Room to distributing flyers for Star Studio, she does it all!  Read on to learn more about this amazing young lady, who has already donated 230 hours of service in 2012!

Annika Johanson, hard at work in the Star Studio!


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

“I started volunteering at Children’s in June 2011. Currently, I volunteer on Mondays on the inpatient units and in Star Studio (Bingo), and Tuesdays with Star Studio (Kids’ Clubhouse) and the Surgery Family Waiting Room. Last summer, I volunteered in both the Surgery Family Waiting Room and the Pre-Surgery Program for child life. This past January, I did a little bit of everything for a career exploration credit through my college.”

What is your educational background & future career interest?

“I just received my B.A. in Psychology from Gustavus, and want to become a Child Life Specialist!”

What brought you to Children’s?

My dad is a pediatrician and my mom used to be a pediatric nurse, so, growing up, I was familiar with and felt comfortable in the hospital setting. As I began to consider different pediatric healthcare careers in college (Child Life, in particular), I decided to start volunteering to help myself figure out what direction I should take. I wanted not just to be around kids, but to be with kids – and to do something to help others while also learning more about myself. ”

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

“Outside of volunteering at Children’s, I enjoy painting, origami, cooking/baking, jetskiing, being outdoors, and just spending quality time with my friends and family. During the summer, I love being a nanny to two very awesome little girls!”

What do you enjoy most about volunteering?

“My experience at Children’s has been more than I had ever expected it to be! The best part by far is the kids – being able to make that little connection that makes a big difference, even when you can’t see it right away. I’ve come to understand the value of a simple smile when it seems like everything else in the child’s world is going wrong. I get to be a kid again when I go to Children’s…who could ask for anything more?” :)

Thank you, Annika, for being such an incredible asset to our volunteer program!   We’re lucky to have you!

Volunteer Profile: Anthony Brown

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

Anthony Brown

Anthony Brown is a Normandale nursing student who has been a volunteer on the inpatient units at Children’s-Minneapolis since November 2011.  He is currently on a leave of absence to care for his infant son:  as you’ll see from the pictures above, we’re sure that Anthony has all the right “kid skills!”

What is your educational background & future career objective?

“I am currently in my final year of nursing school.  My goal is to become a full-time children’s nurse.  I enjoy helping kids recover and feel better.”

What brought you to Children’s?

“I decided to volunteer in order to gain experience in the hospital setting.  I also wanted to influence and help children’s recovery.   I think that children need to have fun and play, despite the fact that they are in the hospital.”

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

“I love to travel.  In fact, I have traveled to 30 countries on all populated continents (never quite made it to Antarctica).  I enjoy learning about other cultures, and experiencing different ways of life.  At home, I enjoy outdoor activities such as softball, fishing, and hiking.  My two favorite sports are baseball and football.” 

What do you enjoy most about volunteering?

“I really like helping kids have fun.  I like seeing them smile and laugh, and forget about their ailments for the time being.  I also enjoy allowing parents to have time to rest and relax while I care for their child.

P.S.  A special perk is that I get to make fun of Ingrid and Jenna…they could always use a little provoking!”

Thank you, Anthony, for your fun-loving spirit and good humor!