Red-Vested Rockstar: Gretchen Arana

January 17th, 2014

 

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

Meet Gretchen!

1.   Why she ROCKS?!

 “The main reason I got into volunteering at Children’s is because I love working with children!  I had a career in health insurance sales for many years and decided it was time to change things up so I went back to school for nursing!  I recently graduated and hope to get into pediatric nursing. I am thrilled to be entering the healthcare field and so excited to start my new career!”

 2.   Favorite thing to do outside of volunteering?

 “My absolute favorite thing is to hang out with my kids! When we have a free day we like going to the movies or spending a day at the MOA going on rides – always a huge hit! We went sledding twice this past week, which was awesome. Outside of that – I love to read, bike, and spend time with friends.”

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

 “I have 2 kids and 2 pets. My daughter is 10 and my son is 7. We have a cat and recently added a dog to the mix. It’s been a few months and they are finally able to tolerate being in the same room together, which is lovely. I am talking about the cat and dog, not the children! Haha!”

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

 “I called in the kids for back up for this question. We’ve decided the candy bar would include cookie dough, caramel, and chocolate. We came up with the name ‘Triple C bar’!”

 5.   Share a favorite volunteer experience or story:

 “There are so many special moments that it’s hard to pick a favorite. During my most recent shift, I was playing with a patient who was 16 months old. We were reading and looking at books and she started to repeat a word or two – so amazing to be a part of! I love rocking the babies, taking the kids for strolls in the hallway, and playing games with the older kids. Just being able to help families, in any small way, during this stressful time is the best volunteer experience for me.”

 Thank you, Gretchen ! Your enthusiasm, warm smile, and love for kids is evident in the volunteer work you do!

 

Volunteer Services Welcomes (back) Ben Reed!

January 10th, 2014

 

Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota is excited to welcome (back) Minneapolis Volunteer Coordinator,

Ben Reed!

 

Why share his talents with Children’s? Find out below (along with other fun facts about Ben):

 What excites you most about working at Children’s?

   “The people and the culture. Knowing that each day I am making an impact, direct or indirect, on the experience that children and families have.”

 Favorite thing to do outside of work?

 “Stay current on doomsday prepping in the event of a zombie apocalypse.”

 Something unique or interesting about you?

 “I have ran the Twin Cities marathon twice. And never will, ever again.”

    Favorite Superhero?

  “Aquaman. I love fishing and fish frys, although being Aquaman may take the fun out of it.”

 Do you have any pets?

 “Two cats. Belle, who my wife named and Beluga, who I sort of named. My wife would not go for Lester or El Tigre.”

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

 “Hero, selfless, engaged.”   

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

 “Layers of bacon, maple breakfast sausage and chocolate, dipped and covered in chocolate. I’d call it ‘Choco-Meaty’.”

We are excited to have you back on board, to collaborate and see what endeavors are ahead!

Red-Vested Rockstar: Rachel Comfort

January 3rd, 2014

 

 

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

Meet Rachel!

1.   Why she ROCKS?!

 “I decided to start volunteering as a way to explore nursing as a possible career and also because I want to give back to my local community. Being able to volunteer my time and energy is priceless because I can impact someone’s life in a positive way. I am currently a nursing student and also work at a small, family-owned restaurant.”

 2.   Favorite thing to do outside of volunteering?

 “My favorite activity outside of volunteering is long distance running and spending time with my friends and family. Staying active is a big part of my life and my relationships always take priority!”

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

 “I currently don’t have a pet or kids of my own but my parents adopted an English Cream Golden Retriever named Cooper. He has been a wonderful addition to our family and makes each day filled with laughter!”

 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 taste like a Girl Scout Thin Mint cookie. It would have layers of mint, chocolate, and cookie! I would name it the ‘Hope Bar’ because something as simple as a candy bar can bring people hope and make them feel better about their day.”

 5.   Share a favorite volunteer experience or story:

 “My favorite volunteer story was when I spent time with a patient and within my short period of knowing them, they were calling me their best friend and were so sad when it was time for me to leave. We played for hours in the playroom and I wheeled them down the halls in a toy car. We talked about their friends and all the activities that they were involved in. It was a memorable experience for me because before I left, the patient looked at me and said, “Because of you, I’m not scared to be in the hospital anymore.” That is a memory that I will treasure forever.”

Thank you, Rachel, for providing the extra time and care that our patients deserve!

Red-Vested Rockstar: Rui Raposo

December 20th, 2013

 

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

Meet Rui!

 1.   Why he ROCKS?!

 “I got involved at Children`s because I hope to become a pediatric nurse. Volunteering is the best way to gain experience, and give back to the community. I am originally from South Africa and been living in the U.S. for 3 years. I currently speak four languages and hope to learn more.”

 2.   Favorite thing to do outside of volunteering?

 “When I am not at college, I travel as much as possible! I am looking forward to going to South Africa in June.” 

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

 “I have a moody tabby cat that I adore. Salta is seven years old, and is obsessed with sleeping.”

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

 “It would need to have the following layers:
A crunchy almond base, layers and layers of shredded coconuts, one layer of caramel, one layer of Peanut butter and finally,
COVERED IN CHOCOLATE…pure bliss! I would call it; ‘Eat this’!”

 5.   Share a favorite volunteer experience or story:

 “When volunteering, I frequently speak Spanish with patients and families. Recently I had a play date with a patient who only spoke Spanish. Being a child in a hospital is overwhelming, not having anyone to speak your native language is beyond frightening to say the least! We spent the afternoon coloring, and playing with play-Doh. Having some sort of familiarity to someone, even if I was stranger, brought some security that she was understood. Understanding a non-English speaker in a language they understand makes healthcare universal and satisfying.”

Thank you, Rui, for being a part of the Children’s team. Your enthusiasm, talents, and ability to connect with our patients and families are invaluable!

 

Red-Vested Rockstar: Emily Machi-Conigliaro

November 8th, 2013

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

Meet Emily!

1.   Why she ROCKS?!

 Emily has been volunteering at Children’s on the inpatient units (most recently, the Infant Care Center) since January 2013! She brings enthusiasm to her shift each week, and has a clear passion for helping provide comfort to our patients!  Why has she chosen to give her time to Children’s?  “When my niece was just over one year old, she became critically ill and spent about two months at Children’s Hospital.  I was so amazed by all the good work that happened there that I wanted to give back.”

2.   Favorite thing to do outside of volunteering?

“I love to spend time outside with my family.  We frequently ride bikes, have picnics, and visit playgrounds. I also love to cook and bake.”

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

“I have two kids of my own: Avery (5 years old) and Ian (2 years old).  They keep me busy all day long as a stay-at-home mom. I also have a dog named Linus and a husband, Paul.”

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

“I don’t think I could make a candy bar more perfect than the ‘Take 5.’  It is my favorite and has all my favorite things in a candy bar!”

5.   Share a favorite volunteer experience or story:

“My favorite part of volunteering is snuggling with babies.  They are so much calmer and happier when someone can hold them.”

 Thank you, Emily, for your support of Children’s and the patients that we serve!

Red-Vested Rockstar: Jack Schneck

October 25th, 2013

 

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

Meet Jack!

1.   Why he ROCKS?!

 “I’ve always been interested in healthcare and I am currently applying to medical school. My friend got me involved at Children’s in High School and I really enjoyed my time there, while gaining insight into the hospital world. Fun fact about me is that I am also a professional DJ.”

 2.   Favorite thing to do outside of volunteering?

 “With free time I often bike, sail, or do other outdoor activities. I also love live music concerts and movies too.”

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

 “Does a bonsai tree count?”

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

 “My candy bar would contain dark chocolate, almonds, and pretzels. Call it, ‘SS’ (salty sweet) crunch bar, or something like that.”

 5.   Share a favorite volunteer experience or story:

  “A favorite memory was a morning I spent with a child who didn’t speak english very well. Without exchanging many words, we spent the entire morning together, and it went by so fast! I had been a little curious how it was going to work out when I started, and was amazed by how easily we got along and how much you can do/fun you can have without talking a lot.”

 You brighten the days of our patients when you are here, Jack! Thank you for your contributions to Children’s!

Buds in Scrubs: Jake Beaver

October 11th, 2013

Children’s Volunteer Services presents:

Buds in Scrubs!

1.   Meet Jake:

“I am the A/V Specialist as part of IT (Information Technology) within the hospital. I’ve been here two years now and absolutely love it. I help doctors/staff get the conference rooms set up for meetings, and take care of special audio/video projects around both campuses.”

2.   Favorite thing to do outside of work?

“I love to listen to music. You may even catch me dancing from time to time:  it’s very bad dancing, but you should always dance like no one is watching. I also help run an Internet radio station named KSIZ.”

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

“I have a 4-year-old son, Theodore. We call him Teddy for short. He is by far the best thing to ever happen to me. He also is begging to get a dog, so we’ll see what happens there.”

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

“My favorite book is The World Wide Dessert Contest by Dan Elish. It was a book I read as a kid and can re-read at any moment.  My avorite movie is The Princess Bride. It has everything you would want in a movie.”

5.   Who was your hero as a kid?

“My hero as a kid was my Grandpa Dale. He shared with me so much wisdom that I hope to pass on to Teddy as he gets older. I wouldn’t be the person I am now if it wasn’t for him.”

6.   Who is your hero now?

“My hero now is Teddy. It may sound weird to have a 4-year-old as a hero, but he makes me try to be the best person I can be every single day.”

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

“This is the best question EVER! I would have peanut butter, marshmallow, cashews, and cover it in chocolate. It would be called ‘Ridishulous’ because it would be ridiculously delicious.”

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

“I love the people. The people who work in this organization make my job so much fun. Everyone has a different personality in life and I get to work with some of the best out there. I can hardly wait to come in each day.”

9.   Share a fun work story:

“Just recently, I was helping out in our Leadership Forum and we had a small issue with one of the presentations. I walked up on stage (in front of every leader, mind you) to help fix the issue. Once I got up there and fixed it, Dr. Kibort told me to “freeze,” and I did.  Once he saw it was working, he said, “Move!”  It was kind of an impromptu game of “Red Light, Green Light.” Everyone was so kindhearted about it that I got applause on my way back to my seat. Stuff like that makes me love this place even more!”

Thank you, Jake, for coming to the rescue on numerous occasions, and sharing your smile and talent with Children’s!

Red-Vested Rockstar: Doreen Schlangen

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!

Volunteer Services Welcomes Kristin Schumacher!

September 12th, 2013

Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota is excited to welcome the newest member of our Volunteer Services team:  Kristin Schumacher!

 What better way to get to know Kristin than have her answer some fun questions?  Read her bio and check out her answers below!

Kristin is a past Children’s volunteer and Child Life intern! She recently moved to the cities from Duluth, where she was working as a Child Life Specialist in a Surgery department. Through her experiences in Child Life and as a volunteer, she realized the incredible importance and value of volunteers, and is thrilled to work with them in the Volunteer Services Department. Welcome back to Children’s, Kristin! 
 
 1. What excites you most about working at Children’s?

“The people! I am so excited to meet the staff and volunteers and work with each of them!”

2. Favorite thing to do outside of work?

“Arts and crafts! I love making cards, sewing and taking on do-it-yourself projects.”

3. Something unique or interesting about you?

“I have recently taken up hiking. This summer, I hiked to the highest point in Minnesota:  Eagle Mountain.”

4. Favorite Superhero?

“Iron Man.”

5. Do you have any pets?

“I don’t, but I LOVE animals!”

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

“An important, enjoyable, amazing, and incredible person that I want to be around!”

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

“I would create a s’more-style candy bar with marshmallows, graham crackers, chocolate and peanut butter. I would call it ‘S’more, Please!’”

Welcome to the team, Kristin! We are excited for you to share your talents and get to know the staff & volunteers at Children’s!

Buds in Scrubs: Perla Morley

September 9th, 2013

Children’s Volunteer Services presents:

Buds in Scrubs!

1.   Meet Perla:

“I am a staff Spanish interpreter at the Minneapolis Campus and have been working at Children’s since 2004 (9 years)!”

2.   Favorite thing to do outside of work?

“I enjoy taking it easy with my husband and two sons.”

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

“Besides my two boys (ages 7 and 3), we have a cat called Maribel.”

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

“I don’t think that I have ONE favorite book, but one that made an impact on me was To Kill a Mockingbird.  Here’s one of my favorite quotes from it:

‘“Atticus, he was real nice.”

“Most people are, Scout, when you finally see them.”’

Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

5.   Who was your hero as a kid?

“Wonder Woman.” :)

6.   Who is your hero now?

“Mother Teresa of Calcutta and people like her.”

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

“I am not very original. It would have walnuts, sesame seeds, peanuts, cashews, etc.,  sweetened with honey and dried fruit. I am a nut lover, so it would probably be called ‘Going Nuts!’”

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

“I find my work meaningful because, by definition, interpreting is helping others communicate. My job has also provided me the flexibility to care for my special needs child. I am very grateful for that.”

 9.   Share a work experience involving volunteers:

“I haven’t had the opportunity to work with volunteers as an interpreter (call me if you need one!), but my family has benefitted from the services of a volunteer! For two years, a volunteer came to our home to watch our special little boy through Children’s Pain and Palliative Care program. We were so blessed! Because of this personal experience, I hold all volunteers in the highest regard. Their job is priceless. They help make Children’s a warm, loving place. Thank you!”

Thank you, Perla, for sharing your kind heart and language skills with all of us here at Children’s!