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!

Red-Vested Rockstar: Parker Freiborg

January 31st, 2014

 

 

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

Meet Parker!

 1.   Why he ROCKS?!

 “I got into volunteering because I realized that I was being a little selfish with my spare time. I love kids, so it was a no-brainer to look up Children’s Hospital and inquire. For some reason, after a year of playing board games and video games… I still get whooped by the kids I’m volunteering with!”

 2.   Favorite thing to do outside of volunteering?

 “I’m huge into the outdoors; I hunt when I can, although this year has been a little scarce. I put in time filming for a hunting show on the Sportsman’s Channel called “Hallowed Ground Outdoors”, so that’s where most of my “hunting time” goes. Other than that, most of my time is spent with friends and family, I try not to stay idle for too long!”

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

 “I have a 14 year old yellow lab named Gunnar. She was my first pet and she will be a tough act to follow for any other dog I consider getting. She loves kids so much, that we have a collage on our wall of 30 or so kids using her as a pillow, dressing her up as a princess, or riding her like a horse.”

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

 “I go back and forth with my sweet tooth, I LOVE a good chocolate/caramel combo, but the next day I’ll be craving gummy worms. But, if it had to be a candy BAR I’d probably do the chocolate/caramel combo with small coffee beans in it. (I’m also addicted to good coffee) The name would end up being something like “Diet Bar” or “Health Plus” because it would obviously be calorie free ;)

 5.   Share a favorite volunteer experience or story:

   “I’ve had so many good experiences at Children’s, from babies that go from screaming to an out-cold slumber when you hold and rock them, to making new friends that don’t want me to leave at the end of my shift. I think the experience that I had the most fun was with a younger boy, maybe 10 years old. He wanted a volunteer because he was a little nervous being left alone while mom went out for dinner. I walked into the room and he said he just wanted someone to watch TV with, so we started flipping through channels. We came across the Barrett-Jackson auction (car auction in Arizona) and this kid’s face lit up. Now, to preface this story, I’d like to think I know a lot about cars: old cars, new cars, obscure cars, but this boy KNEW cars. I’ve never had such an in-depth conversation about classic Mustangs and the pros and cons of model changes year over year. This little guru had cars DOWN. We had so much fun talking cars that when his mom came back from dinner, he asked if she wanted to go out for dessert so he and I could continue watching the auction and talking motors.”

 Thanks, Parker, for showing that taking the time to get to know a patient can lead to a fun and memorable experience for all!

Buds in Scrubs: Angie Norvitch

January 24th, 2014

 

Children’s Volunteer Services presents:

 Buds in Scrubs!

 1.   Meet Angie:

Angie is the interactive designer in the marketing and communications department at Children’s. What exactly does that mean, you ask? Well, she offers her creative talents to many areas including website re-designs, some Facebook images & cover photos, the images for the Children’s journey walls and, most recently, she redesigned the blog along with its newsletter design. Did I mention she created the adorable photo template for our Pet Therapy Thursday PAWH post??

 2.   Favorite thing to do outside of work?

 “I enjoy being outdoors and anything that keeps me active. I am a marathon runner, so I run lots of miles. My mom taught me how to crochet a couple years ago, so I’ve taken that up as a “relaxing” hobby. And I also enjoy being social and being with my friends.” 

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

 “No kids, no pets.” 

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

 “My favorite movie is The Proposal with Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock. I laugh like it’s the first time I’ve seen it, everytime.”

 5.   Who was your hero as a kid?

 “Probably Batgirl or Belle from Beauty and the Beast.”

 6.   Who is your hero now?

 “My parents. They are pretty much amazing.”

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

 “I’m all about dark chocolate and REAL peanut butter, so probably those ingredients and I’d call it ‘PB & DC’, because I’m not good at naming things.”

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

 “ I don’t know that I can pick just one thing that I love most. I love that I get to be creative everyday and my team that I get to work with. I feel that my reach is pretty vast here, being the only web designer, so I love that I get the opportunity to learn about different departments and meet others from all over the organization. And, I love that I am learning something new every day!”

 9.   Share a work experience involving volunteers:

 “Recently, I did some user-testing of our website with some volunteers. They were so helpful in providing valuable feedback about the website and changes being made to the site.”

Thank you, Angie, for sharing your creative talents with Children’s!