Red-Vested Rockstar: Tayla Saccoman

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

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!

Thanks For Participating: 2013 Emergency Prep Exercise!

August 7th, 2013

 

On Wednesday, July 31, an Emergency Preparedness exercise was held on the Children’s-Minneapolis campus.  The scenario?  A building collapse, injuring many…volunteers helped simulate this situation by serving as “patients,” “family members,” and escorts!

Thanks to our volunteers, our staff was able to practice their reactions and apply procedures to a plausible situation, ensuring that they would be prepared to take care of real patients and family members if a similar situation arose!

We send a special thanks to the volunteers who participated… the drill would not have been as successful without the use of live participants!

Buds in Scrubs: Kathy Misk

August 2nd, 2013

 

Children’s Volunteer Services presents:

Buds in Scrubs!

1.   Meet Kathy:

 Kathy Misk has been an RN at Children’s for 27 years! She currently works in the Emergency Department. Kathy has a passion for helping, and this shows daily in her interactions and care for the patients and families at Children’s.

 2.   Favorite thing to do outside of work?

“My favorite thing to do outside of work is to hang out with my family, I also love to volunteer.  As a family we love to sail, swim, and ski.”

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

“I have three daughters: Mariah, Natalie and Brianna. Captain is our dog; he is a yellow lab and we adore him.”

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

“My favorite movie is “An officer and a gentleman” and my favorite book is “The Shack”.

 5.   Who was your hero as a kid?

“My childhood hero was my mom. She was strong and had courage to always do the right thing, even when it was not easy.”

 6.   Who is your hero now?

“My mom is still my hero today.”

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

    “If I were to create a candy bar it would consist of organic oats, raisins, pretzels, caramel, and dark chocolate. I would call it ‘love my sweets’.”

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

“My favorite saying is, ‘people may not remember what you said or did for them, however they will remember how you made them feel.’ I practice my profession with this in mind.

I have the best job in the whole world, it keeps me humble and aware of how precious life is.” 

 9.   Share a work experience involving volunteers:

“The volunteers make such a big difference for the kids; play helps them forget they are sick. Last week we had a volunteer bring us blankets; it came in very useful for a very sick baby. The mother was so grateful and so were we.”

 Thank you, Kathy, for sharing your compassion, and skills with the patients and families we serve!

Volunteer at the State Fair!

August 1st, 2013

Are you looking to give back AND gain a free ticket into the Minnesota State Fair?
Volunteer at the Children’s booth!

The booth will focus on health and safety through interactive and informative activity stations!

Anyone 18 or older can volunteer, and training will be provided for each station upon arrival.
Did I mention free admission and a free t-shirt??

Volunteers are needed every day of the fair (August 22-September 2) for the following shifts:

8:00-11:30 AM
11:00-2:30 PM
2:00-5:30 PM
5:00-8:30 PM

*Note: day shifts fill quickly, most needs are evenings, weekends, and Labor Day weekend

Interested? Email: ingrid.arnold@childrensMN.org

Red-Vested Rockstar: Daniela Brito

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!

Buds in Scrubs: Justin Theodotou

July 5th, 2013

Children’s Volunteer Services presents:

Buds in Scrubs!

1.   Meet Justin:

“I started in the Children’s marketing and communication department in the fall of 2010 as a public relations coordinator. I get to tell the world about how we make kiddos feel better.”

 2.   Favorite thing to do outside of work?

“I love skiing in the mountains, camping, spending time with friends and family and agonizing over Vikings football.”

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

 “Do my two roommates count?

 I grew up with pets (dogs, cats, and a fish that only lasted a few hours before jumping down the drain), but don’t have any of my own now. My parents have a little, white bichon – who they’ve deemed my “evil twin,” since we share a birthday – who I love to play with when I’m on their side of the river.”

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

“My favorite movie, hands down, is The Princess Bride. It has been since I was a kid. It combines so many elements of a great movie: adventure, humor, suspense, creative characters and a great story.”

 5.   Who was your hero as a kid?

“I loved comic books as a kid, so anyone with superpowers and a cape I did my best to emulate (I also had a pair of Superman pajamas, which I wore almost constantly).”

 6.   Who is your hero now?

    “More and more, I find I am surrounded be wonderful people with inspiring stories, but, if I had to pick one person, it would have to be my dad. He’s shown me that being a real man includes equal parts changing the oil in your car and splitting wood as it does being a gentleman and being kind to others. He embodies those qualities and I hope to emulate him.”

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

    “If someone made a candy bar that combined peanuts, nougat and caramel, all covered in chocolate…wait, that’s a Snickers bar and I already love them!”

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

    “I feel privileged that so many families over the years have allowed me a small glimpse into their lives, at some of their toughest moments. Seeing your child sick or in pain is hard; really hard. If it’s for a day, a week, or months on end, I’m amazed by how thankful parents are for the care that their children receive here. Getting the chance to share that feeling of gratefulness – usually coupled with an against-all-odds story – is a pleasure and an honor.”

 9.   Share a work experience involving volunteers:

    “I am a huge fan of our PAWH program, in which volunteers and their trained therapy dogs come to children’s to visit patients or participate in therapy sessions. It’s so beautiful to see what a difference the presence of a friendly dog makes in the lives of our patients, and brings a sense of normalcy to the otherwise abnormal situation of being hospitalized.”

 Thank you, Justin, for your enthusiasm, drive, and passion for Children’s!

Volunteers Needed: Emergency Preparedness Exercise!

July 3rd, 2013

Volunteers Needed: Emergency Preparedness Exercise!

 What: We create a scenario (e.g., a building collapses, injuring hundreds!) and have volunteer ‘patients’ and ‘family members’ run through the process of how we (ER, surgery, admissions, etc.) would respond to a large scale emergency in our community.

 Who: We need volunteers of varying ages to serve as patients (younger volunteers, siblings, friends or neighbors), and a few older teen/adult volunteers to act as family members of the ‘patients.’  

You do NOT need to be a Children’s volunteer to participate, but we do need your info to get you officially signed up!

 Day: Wednesday, 7/31

Time: TBD (somewhere between 11:00 am and 4:00 pm) 

 Interested? Contact Ingrid Arnold ingrid.arnold@childrensmn.org or call: (612) 813-6170

Red-Vested Rockstar: Mike Igoe

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

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!