Red-Vested Rockstar: Debbie Closmore

June 6th, 2014

 

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

Meet Debbie!

1.   Why she ROCKS?!

 Debra is a volunteer on the St. Paul Campus; she was formerly a float volunteer, and currently serves as a peri-operative escort in our surgery department. She is energetic and fun, and truly lights up the room! Debra serves as a trainer for new volunteers, passing on her knowledge and expertise. See why she got into volunteering at Children’s:

 “I got into volunteering with hopes to ease the anxiety for children & their families during a stressful time. Spread a little joy!”

 2.   Favorite thing to do outside of volunteering?

 “I love spending time with my husband, family, and friends. I also enjoy biking, hiking, yoga, and walking… staying active!”

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

 “I have a stepson, daughter-in-law and five grandchildren!”

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

 “My candy bar would be made with raw pecans, dates, figs, sunflower seeds and dark chocolate. I would name it Healthy Me.

 5.   Share a favorite volunteer experience or story.

 “I spent many hours rocking and holding an infant boy. Every week I went to his unit to rock & talk with him, we really had a connection. When he smiled at me, my heart sang!”

 Thank you for your bright, positive energy, and true commitment to Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota!

 

Red-Vested Rockstar: Kevin Hanzlik

May 23rd, 2014

 

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

Meet Kevin!

1.   Why he ROCKS?!

 “I volunteer because I want to help children and their families through this challenging time in their lives. We had one of our daughters at Children’s-Mpls about 15 years ago and I was so impressed with the child-centered approach they provided. Also, I volunteer because I have devoted my life to children for 36 years as a 6th grade teacher. I retired in July 2013, and I have 4 daughters that are at the center of my life.”

 2.   Favorite thing to do outside of volunteering?

 “My favorite thing to do outside of volunteering is watching my daughters move on with their lives and golfing.”

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

 “As I stated earlier I have 4 daughters, a female dog, and an amazing wife. For the record I also have 7 sisters so I have been trained very well over the years.”

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

 “It would have coconut, peanuts, milk chocolate, a touch of peanut butter and a cream filled center…I would call it ‘Heaven’”.

5.   Share a favorite volunteer experience or story:

   “My favorite experiences are mostly centered around simply sitting for hours and singing to and rocking babies. I love babies. Another wonderful experience was receiving the first picture colored for me by one of the patients. She even signed it.”

 Thanks, Kevin, for your dedication to the patients we serve, and willingness to partake in any and all activities!

Red-Vested Rockstar: Callie Albaugh

April 25th, 2014

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

Meet Callie!

1.   Why she ROCKS?!

 Callie volunteers in the Rehab department, working with a speech therapist, though helping the entire Rehab team! She is a senior Psychology major at Bethel University, and plans on getting her Master’s in speech pathology. Her passion for becoming a speech therapist is what brought her to volunteer at Children’s! Check out her fun answers, as well as a further introduction from the speech pathologist she works with!

 “Callie has been volunteering in the Roseville Rehab department for almost a year. She has been an AMAZING help during her time here. She is such a great, independent worker; she completed numerous projects to help within therapy sessions and around the clinic. She almost single-handedly developed a theme and activities for this year’s rehab week celebration. The decorations for rehab week received rave reviews from staff and patients alike. Callie is dedicated, cheerful, thorough, and an absolutely wonderful person with whom to work!” –Melanie G., SLP

 2.   Favorite thing to do outside of volunteering?

 “I am obsessed with yoga! It’s a great way to unwind from the day and get ready to start another! I also love traveling; I was able to spend a month in Europe over January, and it was incredible!”

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

 “I have an adorable puppy, Oliver, who is a Morkie (Maltese + Yorkie)!”

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

 “It would have chocolate, caramel, and coffee! Three of my favorites! And I think I would call it ‘Java Lava’.”

 5.   Share a favorite volunteer experience or story:

   “I love being able to follow our patients through their therapy journey. Being able to help them through difficult areas and be able to reach their goals over time is incredibly rewarding, and is my favorite part about being a volunteer.”

 Thanks, Callie, for your commitment to the patients we serve!

Red-Vested Rockstar: Melissa Burns

April 11th, 2014

 

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

Meet Melissa!

 1.   Why she ROCKS?!

 “I’ve been working in advertising sales for the past 8 years and am a U of M graduate. I started volunteering because I love babies, and was looking to do something a little more meaningful with my time.”

 2.   Favorite thing to do outside of volunteering?

 “I love food and travel – new adventures.”

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

 “No, the last thing I had were Sea Monkeys …..probably the most disappointing ‘pet’ ever!”  

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

 “It would probably be some sort of fig preserves topped with salted caramel and coated in dark chocolate.  I’d call it a ‘Figaroo.’ ”   

 5.   Share a favorite volunteer experience or story:

 “I remember playing with an older, spunky girl who loved pranks/jokes. I was pushing her down the hall in a riding car, she kept trying to bump into things, to encourage me to speed up! Her nurse joined in the fun, and made a hall speaker announcement stating “nurse police, get off the road silly drivers!!” The young girl thought it was so funny, and it was clear that she had a great relationship with the staff… even though they would not allow her to solely eat candy bars for dinner.”

 Thanks, Melissa, for extending your love of babies to Children’s! The comfort through holding and rocking is one that the staff and families so appreciate.

Volunteer shout-out: Kiry Koy

April 11th, 2014

Volunteer shout-out: Kiry Koy

 

Kiry Koy
 
The celebration of our volunteerscontinues this week with a profile of Kiry Koy.

Kiry is a freshman at the University of Minnesota, studying neuroscience. He volunteers at Children’s – St. Paul on the inpatient units, and has gained more than 60 hours of service since he started volunteering in October of 2013. This summer, he plans to broaden his skill set by volunteering in a new area: as a peri-operative escort in our surgery department! His favorite part about volunteering is playing with kids in the unit playroom. Plans for the future? Well, to become a doctor of course!

Thank you, Kiry, and all of our volunteers for all you do to assist staff and brighten the lives of patients and families.

 

Red-Vested Rockstar: Natalie Lunda

March 13th, 2014

 

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

Meet Natalie!

 1.   Why she ROCKS?!

 “I was a patient at Children’s Minneapolis in the 90’s; when I went to High School, I decided to see the hospital from a different angle and volunteer! I took a brief break during college, but after I graduated last year, I was excited to return to volunteering at Children’s. I carpool with my mom who volunteers at the Ronald McDonald House! I just LOVE working with children and plan to continue that in my career as a Child Life Specialist!”

 2.   Favorite thing to do outside of volunteering?

 “I love listening to all kinds of music and spending time with my family and friends. I enjoy skiing (downhill, cross-country, and water), biking, nannying, climbing, archery, and photography. Oh, and traveling! I’ve been to Spain and India. Eventually, I hope to visit many more cities and countries!”

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

 “I have a Yellow Lab named Earl, a Cairn-Westie Terrier named Lester, and a Flat-Coated Retriever named Chase. On top of that, I also have been cat-sitting for family members while they live in India for another year!” 

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

 “Half of the candy bar would be mint chocolate brownie, and the other half would be salted caramel dipped in chocolate. That way, you can eat half at one time, and then save the rest for later. It would be called ‘The Stellar Duo’.”

 5.   Share a favorite volunteer experience or story:

 “Every volunteer shift at Children’s is memorable, whether I am holding a baby, taking a patient for a stroll, or playing games with kids. One day, I was sent to a patient room to spend time with a baby while parents took a much deserved break. This was the first time the parents would be leaving their baby to take a break, so as you could imagine it was very difficult for them to do. I spent the rest of my shift playing with the baby, taking her for a stroll in the hallway, and simply holding her. When her dad came back to the room, he told me how grateful he was that someone was with their child until one of them returned.”

 Thanks, Natalie, for offering your compassionate spirit to the patients and families we serve!

 

Volunteer Services Welcomes Karen Alderfer!

March 11th, 2014

 

Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota is excited to welcome the newest member of their Volunteer Services team: Karen Alderfer!

 What better way to get to know someone than to learn their favorite superhero??

 Karen is originally from New Jersey, but  has been living in Minnesota for the past 22 years. She started her professional career as a teacher and coordinator at a child care center. After 10 years though, it was time for a change which is when she joined a hospital team in the Volunteer Services department. She is thrilled to continue her passion for volunteer coordination with joining the Children’s team,  and we look forward to incredible teamwork!

  1. What excites you most about working at Children’s?

“It is such a positive environment, it’s contagious!  Children’s has such a great mission and I enjoy being a part of that.”

2. Favorite thing to do outside of work?

“I love to travel, run, bike, and hike.”

3. Something unique or interesting about you?

“One year I visited and hiked in all of the state parks in MN. I was gone most weekends that year!”

4. Favorite Superhero?

“Does Pippi Longstocking count?  I LOVED Pippi when I was a little girl.”

5. Do you have any pets?

“Nope, no pets.”

6. What words come to mind when you think of a volunteer?

“Inspiring, present, caring, giving, thoughtful.”

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

“It would have to have pecans, caramel and chocolate for sure…throw in a few marshmallows and call it ‘Pecachma’ (from the first 2 letters of the ingredients…not some funky word!)”

Red-Vested Rockstar: Rocio Andrade Vera

February 28th, 2014

 

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

Meet Rocio!

1.   Why she ROCKS?!

 “I am a neuroscience major at St. Thomas and love interacting with kids. I originally started volunteering through a j-term program at St. Thomas that helped with career exploration. However, I loved it so much that I continued to participate in the volunteer program after j-term was over. Even though I didn’t know what to expect from the volunteering program it has surpassed anything I have ever done. Those who know me know that I also volunteer for the pure privilege of rocking babies to sleep, which is something I have gotten quite good at.”

 2.   Favorite thing to do outside of volunteering?

 “I enjoy spending time with my siblings as well as my nieces and nephew. Watching bad TV shows always helps me release stress, as well as playing ‘flappy bird’. I take every opportunity I get to travel; exploring new places around the world is something I feel passionate about.”

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

 “I have never had a pet in my life (even as a kid!) I have six siblings, so my parents never even considered getting us a pet to cause more trouble!”

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

  “I’m obsessed with life savers gummies and sour patch kids. If I could, I would create a gummy that was chewy like the life saver but sour and thick on the inside. I would call it ‘the life sour saver’.”

 5.   Share a favorite volunteer experience or story:

  “Since the first day I started volunteering I have had nothing but positive experiences. My favorite experience happened when I first started at Children’s. I went to see a kid who had just gotten out of surgery; he wasn’t feeling well so when I got to his room he wasn’t in a great mood. I asked if he was in the mood to play. He said no to playing, but asked if I could stay and just hang out with him. I was more than determined to make him feel better and as time went by he started smiling and playing with me! I think this experience reflects the true reason behind why I’m here, I enjoy providing that positive experience kids need when they’re in the hospital. To know that you can be the person that can change someone’s day for the better is something to be proud of.”

Thank you for sharing your constant smile, playful energy and true passion for helping others with the patients and families at Children’s!

Give, Dream, Inspire!

February 19th, 2014

 

Nick isn’t your average twenty-something year old college student, he is a young man with a mission. Thanks to his first volunteer experience, right here at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, he realized he has a lot to give and that possibilities are endless. Check out his post below.

 “I knew I wanted to do something, to add more meaning to my 20 year old life, but never knew what it was. After High School, my friends went off to college, and I took a semester off in hopes for opportunities to meet new people through getting involved with the community. After a web search, I came across Children’s Hospital. I applied to volunteer, went in for an interview, and was offered a position! I still remember my first shift: a nervous excitement, getting used to my surroundings, but the spark was there… and came to life after that shift. On my Children’s volunteer days, I would wake up happy. I made an effort to get good night sleep the day before, so that I had plenty of energy to work with patients.

 The feeling of knowing I was helping others, making a hospital stay a little less scary is indescribable.  I will never forget a patient I worked with; we never had that awkward first meeting stage, we were instantly buds. He challenged me to a game of Wii and I thought, “ok, I am older and really good at video games, so I will let him win.” Turns out there was no need for that, he was a skilled player and beat me time and time again! As my shifts at Children’s continued, I found myself signing up for more and more opportunities and charities that I could help with in the Twin Cities.

 I helped with a couple of other organizations serving less fortunate populations, which continued to open my eyes at the importance of giving back. After countless smiles, laughs, and friendships built from these experiences, I caught myself sharing my experiences with my friends, family, and peers… letting them know that my goal in life was to live happily, forever, with laughter! I found myself being called the “volunteering guy”, having numerous people call or email me, asking how they can get involved, which inspired me to help coordinate opportunities. I started living my personal mantra, and decided that the way I wanted to live, should be the name of my movement… ‘Happily Forever Laughter.’ The organization I created encourages peers to lend a helping hand, instilling in people that they have a worth, and a purpose and can do more that they may believe they can do. Getting out into different communities, meeting new people, and spreading happiness is the best medicine.

 Now, months and months later, I have coordinated over hundreds of volunteer opportunities, and have been given the opportunity to sign off on volunteer hours for other U of M students. I will never forget that my mission all started from my positive experience at Children’s Hospital.” -Nick DeMarco

Red-Vested Rockstar: Vinh Dang

February 14th, 2014

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

Meet Vinh!

1.   Why he ROCKS?!

 “My time volunteering started at Red Cross, I originally did that because I thought it’d be a good experience, and I love helping people out. Last year I fell in love with the idea of everything pharmacy and getting to work in a hospital sounded like an opportunity I wouldn’t dare pass up. I’m currently pursuing a career in pharmacy, work in a pharmacy at Walgreens, and am a 4th semester PSEO student at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.”

 2.   Favorite thing to do outside of volunteering?

 “My favorite thing outside of volunteering is working in the pharmacy at Walgreens. I get so much joy out of helping others, and I can just tell it’s where I’m meant to be.”

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

 “No. Being only 18, I don’t plan on having any kids for a long time. As for pets, I once had 2 hermit crabs.”

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

 “Gummy narwhals. Pretty straight forward, but it’s hard not to love narwhals!”

 5.   Share a favorite volunteer experience or story:

   “My most memorable volunteer experience was aiding in the comfort of 12 pre-schoolers in the Emergency Room waiting area as they went in for tests after a small bus accident. Being able to alleviate their worries and fears was immensely satisfying, especially when I got to see their faces light up as they ran to embrace their parents.”

Thanks for your reassuring demeanor and genuine excitement for helping others!  You truly have… heart!