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!

 

Buds in Scrubs: Lisa Pham

June 7th, 2013

 

Children’s Volunteer Services presents:

Buds in Scrubs!

1.   Meet Lisa:

“My name is Lisa Pham and I work in the Sibling Play Area as a Child Life Associate. I started out as a volunteer back in 2009 and started my job in June 2011.”

 2.   Favorite thing to do outside of work?

“I’m such a foodie. I love to go search for new foods at restaurants. Other hobbies include cooking, movies, hanging with family and friends, kickboxing, karaoke, and snowboarding. Also, I plan to purchase a bike this summer to explore the wonderful trails that the Twin Cities has to offer. I would love to travel the world, but that’s not ideal quite yet. Someday. J ”

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

“As a kid, I had a dog, a rabbit and a crawfish (ha!) as pets. Currently, I do not have any pets or kids of my own. But, I get the pleasure of being able to play with my niece (Chloe) and my sibling’s Yorkies (Foxie and Shiloh)…and return them back whenever I want!”

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

“Ah, sooo many movies to choose from. I love action, suspense, and comedy movies. One of my favorite movies would have to be “Bad Boys I & II.”

 5.   Who was your hero as a kid?

“My parents were my heroes and still are! I appreciate what my parents have done for me and wish to return the favor ten times more in the future.”

 6.   Who is your hero now?

“My parents!”

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

    “I would somehow fuse cookies, toffee, caramel, almonds, pistachios, and dark chocolate together with a bit of sea salt on top. I would name it ‘Choconutties.’”

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

“I get to enjoy the presence of all the awesome volunteers and siblings who come from different walks of life. Plus, I have a fantastic view in the Sibling Play Area while they hang out with me.”

 9.   Share a work experience involving volunteers:

“Volunteers rock! I couldn’t do my job without them. There was one situation where I had a child who was blind checked-in under my care, while Mom went to take care of things. When she left, I guided him to some of the toys and allowed him to feel it. I sensed the child’s frustration since he was in a totally different setting than what he is used to. I asked the volunteer to bring out the instrument bin, which included bells, maracas, triangles, and etc. She laid the instruments all on the floor and played with each one to introduce him to it. He tilted his head sideways every time she rang a bell. The volunteer saw his reaction and put the bell in his hand. He then proceeded to ring each bell himself to put them in order, from lowest to highest pitch. The volunteer was so patient and kind to the child. Next thing you know, they were having a blast and jammin’ together with the bells. It was great to see the child being able to enjoy himself and just be a kid! Love it!”

 Thank you, Lisa, for your constant support and encouragement with our volunteers!

2013 Scholarship Awards Ceremony

June 6th, 2013

 

Laura Dahl, Lorita Chanderpaul, Analise Lotz, Fanny Jimbo, Christina Hirsch, Javier Carchi Silverio

Volunteers at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota have an incredible work ethic and desire to help others. On Tuesday, May 21, Volunteer Services had the true pleasure of celebrating the dedication and talent of six of these volunteers at our annual Scholarship Awards Ceremony. To be eligible to receive this prestigious award, our volunteers must have a minimum of 250 hours of service, have completed a comprehensive scholarship application (including an essay), and support Children’s mission on a weekly basis through their commitment and excellence. Javier Carchi Silverio, Lorita Chanderpaul, Laura Dahl, Christina Hirsch, Fanny Jimbo & Analise Lotz were this year’s Volunteer Services Scholarship recipients. Our department is proud to support their future career goals by giving them a check towards furthering their academic studies.

As stated by Dr. Alan Goldbloom, President of Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, “Each one of you is a source of pride for Children’s. On behalf of our staff, our patients, and the families we serve, I want to thank you for your volunteer commitment to Children’s, and wish you continued success in the future.”

Congratulations to this year’s scholarship winners! We are proud to have had the pleasure of working with you, and wish you the best in your future careers.

Red-Vested Rockstar: Rachel Lerman

May 31st, 2013

 

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

 Meet Rachel!

1.   Why she ROCKS?!

 “I first applied to volunteer at the hospital when I was in 8th grade.  I always have loved helping people and giving back to my community.  My older sister was also a volunteer, so I followed in her footsteps.  I officially started when I was a freshman, and have spent time on various floors.  I am currently a senior in high school, and spend a lot of my time not only volunteering at the hospital, but at many other organizations.”  

 2.   Favorite thing to do outside of volunteering?

 “Outside of volunteering, I love spending time with my family, shopping, and traveling to new places.”

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

 “I have a dog named Bella.  She is a little white fluffy dog.”

 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 have peanut butter, caramel, milk chocolate, and Rice Krispy cereal. I would name it ChocoPop.”

 5.   Share a favorite volunteer experience or story:

   “When I first started volunteering, I was in the NICU.  Week after week, I walked in and held the same baby over and over again.  It was an eye-opening experience to connect with that baby during my volunteering.  Another experience occurred when I was on 3rd floor playing with a young boy.  In the middle of us talking and playing, he looked up at me and said, “You know, one day I will be like you; volunteering here when I am old enough.  I want to help people.”  It was amazing to hear someone so young saying this, and to see what an impact people can have on others.”

Thank you, Rachel, for being an exemplary volunteer! Your caring touch enriches the experience of our patients!

Red-Vested Rockstar: Chase Tokarczyk

May 17th, 2013

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

Meet Chase!

1.   Why he ROCKS?!

 “My niece and nephew were both patients here at Children’s when they were born with heart defects.  Volunteering at Children’s is my way of giving back for saving two wonderful lives.”

 2.   Favorite thing to do outside of volunteering?

 “Outside of volunteering, I love to play music (mostly the guitar) for my friends and family.”

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

 “I have three pets: 2 dogs and 1 parrot.”

 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 be an Oreo covered in caramel, then layered with milk chocolate. I would call this creation the ‘Caramel King!’”

5.   Share a favorite volunteer experience or story:

       “I was pushing a young boy around in a little car through the hallways…after a while, he began to hum the theme to Batman:  nah-nah-nah nah-nah-Batman!  This made my week, since Batman is my favorite superhero.”

 Thank you, Chase, for being such a rockstar! Your smile and enthusiasm are an asset to Children’s!

Buds in Scrubs: Cheryl Bauer

May 7th, 2013

 

Children’s Volunteer Services presents:

Buds in Scrubs!

1.   Meet Cheryl:

Cheryl is an RN on the 6th floor at Children’s—Minneapolis. She has been at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota for 23 years! Cheryl utilizes Volunteer Services with many of her patients, offering them some one-on-one playtime outside of their medical care.

 2.   Favorite thing to do outside of work?

“Hanging out with friends and family!”

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

“Sadly, I do not currently have any pets.”

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

“My favorite movie is The Sound of Music.”

 5.   Who was your hero as a kid?

“My dad.”

 6.   Who is your hero now?

“All of my co-workers here; they do awesome work!”

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

    “Chocolate, caramel and Macadamia Nuts: I would call it a ‘Maui Bar.’”

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

“The kids and families!”

 9.   Share a work experience involving volunteers:

“I remember having a very busy assignment one day, and a patient with no parents here. This one volunteer hung out with this toddler for at least 3 hours and made him very happy! She was so great with him! Volunteers really help us on the floors so much every day! I can’t imagine our hospital without them!”

 Thank you, Cheryl!  Your passion for nursing (and the patients & families that we serve) is evident!

It Takes a Team!

April 26th, 2013

From all of us at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, THANK YOU, VOLUNTEERS, for your smiles, positive spirits, time, and compassion for the patients and families we serve! We are thankful for your service!

“Please thank the excellent volunteer that helped me today. He was fantastic with my patient and played with him for several hours in CVCC this afternoon.  I have not seen my patient this happy during this admission, and the volunteer is to thank for that.” -CVCC RN

“A mom stopped by today and mentioned that the two things that really make her son’s day at Children’s are: X-Box and VOLUNTEERS!!” -Family Resource Center Employee

“Every time a volunteer approached, it brought a smile from [our child]. They brought her crafts to work on, got her hooked on Bingo, played games with her, played cards, played Wii, and basically did anything she asked of them. Each volunteer spoke with our child honestly and intellectually. They brought true friendship and encouragement to our daughter. And, again, they took time from their lives each day to spend time with our daughter. THAT is priceless to us!” -Family Comment (check out their guest blog post here: Family Thank-You Letter to Children’s Volunteers!)