Monthly Archives: May 2011

Child Life Conference, Day 3!

It’s Saturday in Chicago!   Today was the last full day of this year’s Child Life Conference:  the closing session wraps up at 12:30 pm tomorrow. 

My day started at 7:45 am by attending a meeting of the Child Life Council’s Professional Resources Committee, which I am a new member of!  It was great to connect with the other committee members and put faces to names that I’d only seen via e-mail.  I continued the day by attending sessions on compassion fatigue, humanism in medicine (i.e., incorporating child life concepts into medical student curricula), and hospital sibling play areas.  All three sessions were very relevant and informative:  the compassion fatigue session gave great ideas on how to combat work stress, the medical session provided helpful tips for teaching students about child life, and the sibling session illustrated the significant impact that hospitalization has on the brothers and sisters of pediatric patients.  (I’m so thankful that Children’s has a dedicated Sibling Play Area to support these sibs on their journeys!)

One of the most fun things about this conference has been running into past volunteers:  today, I ran into former Child Life Exposure Student Maria Gaebel, who is donating her time as a conference volunteer.  It was awesome to see her!

Betsy and I present our session on educating volunteers tomorrow morning from 8:30-10 am…wish us luck!  Our presentation will be followed by this year’s closing ceremonies, including the presentation of the Child Life Council’s Distinguished Service Award.   This ceremony will be particularly exciting, as Children’s-MN Child Life Manager Sheila Palm is receiving this award!  Sheila is an amazing person & true advocate for children, so it will be wonderful to celebrate her and all that she does for child life staff and volunteers alike.

I’ll post a “final write-up” of our conference presentation when I return to the office on Monday!  Until then, have a WONDERFUL Memorial Day weekend!

:) Jenna

Child Life Conference, Day 2!

Happy Friday from Chicago!  It was another eventful day here at the Child Life Conference.  A few highlights:

  • The Emma Plank Opening Keynote Address, delivered by developmental pediatrician Dr. Larry Gray:  Dr. Gray’s talk revolved around infant development, and how crucial early relationships are to a child’s success later in life.
  • Cheering on Children’s child life specialists Jodi Betsinger and Stephanie Smith during their presentation on the use of nitrous oxide for pediatric sedation. 
  • Valuable afternoon breakout sessions, such as “Employee Engagement–Why It Matters” and “On-The-Job Training for New Child Life Specialists.”

The conference Exhibit Hall opened this evening, so it was also a lot of fun to walk around and chat with the (nearly 70!) exhibitors.  Some exhibitors I recognized, such as CaringBridge and Beads of Courage, but there were also a large number of new & innovative companies/products.  The most creative, I thought, came from a company called Kelsey’s Kids:  they make “marshmallow launchers” to help kids with respiratory difficulties move air through their lungs in a fun & humorous way!  (I now have my own complimentary marshmallow launcher to bring back to Minnesota…YAHOO!)  Overall, it was another great day of networking, sharing time with my Children’s-MN colleagues, and meeting many new child life specialists from around the globe!  I’ll share highlights from Day 3 tomorrow!

Until then,

Jenna :)

Welcome to the Windy City! (Child Life Conference, Day 1)

Hello from Chicago!  As I type this, I can see the University of Chicago & Chicago Tribune buildings against the city skyline…I could definitely get used to this view! :)

I’m so thankful to be here, attending the 29th Annual Child Life Conference on Professional Issues.  Earlier this morning, I had a chance to spend time with several child life colleagues from Children’s-MN, then attended a “half-day intensive” session called “Supporting The Healing Community Through Interactive, Closed-Circuit Television.”    (Amy Peterson, director of Children’s Star Studio programming, was also in attendance at this session!)   The presenters were from Skylight TV, the interactive TV channel at Children’s Memorial Hospital here in Chicago.  Their presentation was filled with video clips of their various patient shows, including visits from celebrity guests like Mr. Rogers, the Harlem Globetrotters, and Yo-Yo Ma.  One of the neatest parts of their talk (for me, at least!) was hearing how volunteers are being plugged into supporting these programs!

In the evening, the Child Life Council held a “First-Time Attendees/New Members” gathering.   Since this is my first time at the conference, I signed up for this event…and I’m so glad that I did, since I ran into past volunteer/intern Laura Blayney!  (It was great to see her!)  I also attended a “Professional Networking Roundtable” later in the evening, and thoroughly enjoyed chatting with other professionals from Alabama to Missouri about their role(s) in supervising child life volunteers.  To top off the night, my wonderful co-presenter, Betsy Brand, and I rehearsed our presentation for Sunday morning.  It will be an honor to speak in front of other child life specialists/volunteer supervisors later this weekend.

Tomorrow marks the “official start” of the conference, with the Opening Keynote Session scheduled for 8:30 am!  I’ll be back with a “Day 2″ update tomorrow night!

Until then,

Jenna :)

MAVA Conference Wrap-Up!

Our apologies!  Due to an unpredictable WiFi connection, we were unable to blog daily from the Minnesota Association of Volunteer Administrators (MAVA) Conference, as anticipated!  Our entire department enjoyed three days of learning from May 18-20 at the Kelly Inn & St. Cloud Civic Center.

Highlights from the event:

  • Hearing from the director of a large hospital system in British Columbia, presenting on “How The Olympics Made Me A Better Volunteer Manager” (she processed over 70,000 volunteer applications for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics!)
  • A session highlighting collaborations with volunteers from immigrant (Hmong, Hispanic, & Somali) communities
  • A keynote address & multiple workshops by Andy Fryar, founder of OzVPM (a volunteer consulting company in Australia & New Zealand)
  • A keynote address from Linda Graff (another international volunteerism consultant) on the value of volunteerism
  • A workshop on obtaining the CVA (Certified in Vounteer Administration) credential 
  • Our department’s own Lisa Munson & Sandy Bergeron, in collaboration with Jay Haapala (Minnesota Children’s Museum) and Shelli Beck (Lyngblomsten Care Center), presenting on “Weaving Agency Needs With Today’s Youth”
  • Time to network with volunteer coordinators & directors from across the state, nation, & world!

The conference was a wonderful experience, and we were truly fortunate to have the opportunity to get away for a few days!  Huge thanks to volunteers Kathy Dowd, Diane Kastner, and Maria Miller, who generously provided office coverage for us last week!

P.S.  May is a month of conferences for us here in Volunteer Services…volunteer coordinator Jenna Barke will be traveling to Chicago to present at the National Child Life Conference this coming weekend (May 25-29), so she will be blogging about her experiences there, as well!

Volunteer Profile: Leonard Gloeb

Master gardener Leonard Gloeb & his “Little Green Friends!”
Leonard is a Ramsey County Master Gardener who heads up the horticultural therapy program at Children’s.  This program brings plants to patients, which they pot up with the Master Gardener’s help, then take home with them when they are discharged.  Leonard became a Master Gardener in January 1986, and began volunteering at Children’s that May. Since then, he has accumulated an incredible 13,425 volunteer hours! 
Prior to volunteering at Children’s, Leonard worked with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for 35 years, including three years’ active duty in the Army.  Early in his life, Leonard developed a philosophy that we are all placed here for a specific reason: to use the abilities, gifts and talents given to us, and to do whatever task we are assigned to the best of our abilities.  After receiving one of the Virginia McKnight Binger Awards in Human Services in 1995 and a KARE-11 “Eleven Who Care” award in 1997 for his volunteer work at Children’s, his pastor, Fr. Rick McGuire, said to him, “Leonard, this has become a real ministry for you.”  This comment, along with comments from patients and doctors here at Children’s, made him realize that volunteering with horticultural therapy is his special task, what he was put here to do.
Leonard is an avid reader. His interests range from adventure to fiction, non-fiction, mystery, horror, science fiction, spiritual, and suspense. Along with reading, he enjoys listening to classical music (especially KSJN) and gardening, though that is becoming harder as he recognizes his limitations due to Parkinson’s and heart disease.
When asked what he enjoys most about volunteering, Leonard says, “First, the realization that, in some small way, I am making a difference in the lives of children and their parents.  Hearing a mother say, “You have really made our day.”  The great people I get to work with:  other Master Gardeners, nurses, and several doctors who, seeing me outside a patient’s door, will invariably tell me to “Come right in; this patient needs you.”   When asked,  ‘Do you get paid to do this?”,  my answer, with a big grin, is always, “Yes; more than any CEO.”  I love to see the smile on a child’s face when they receive their plant, especially when it might be the first one they ever planted.  I can’t think of anything I’d rather be doing. I’ve made a commitment to do this as long as I have the physical ability to come to the hospital.”
Thank you, Leonard, for sharing your “green thumb” and giving heart with all of us here at Children’s!

Volunteer Coordinator Molly Lamon & Volunteer Heather LaClare Featured in Hamline Magazine!

Providing support for students from a variety of high schools and colleges is a huge part of our work in Volunteer Services.  In addition, each of us strives to maintain connections with our collegiate alma maters.

Volunteer coordinator Molly Lamon (Hamline, class of ’02) was recently featured with volunteer Heather LaClare (Hamline ’11) in the Hamline University magazine.  The article highlighted how valuable alumni connections can be for students like Heather, who are seeking “real-world” experiences to clarify their future career goals.

Click here to read the full story!  

Career Article Molly Lamon & Heather LaClare


Lunch & Learn Opportunity!

All Children’s employees & volunteers are invited to an upcoming Lunch & Learn session!
Topic:  “Social Media, Online Safety, and Cyber-Bullying: What Health Care Workers Should Know”
When & Where:   Tuesday, May 17, 12-1 pm, Children’s-St. Paul (John Nasseff Center-Miller Room)
Tuesday, June 14, 12-1 pm, Children’s-Minneapolis (Conference Center)
Speakers:  Jessica Kracl, Policy Coordinator; Cavan Reagan-Reichmann, Interactive Communications Coordinator; Jesse Stremcha, E-Philanthrophy Strategist, & Peter Odegaard, Information Security Officer 
We invite you to bring your lunch & join us for one of these sessions!



Where Are They Now?: PA Student Chelsea Zamora

Chelsea Zamora, pictured with her adorable nephew!

“I can remember all the way back to first grade, when I brought a mini first-aid kit to class for career day; my interest in the medical field has been instilled in me from the start.  I have spent 8 years volunteering with different clinics, hospitals, and nonprofit organizations.  Whether in geriatrics, pediatrics, pathology labs, specialty units, or serving food at shelters, these experiences have led me to where I am now. 

I must say that one of my favorite experiences was when I spent one January term as a full-time volunteer at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota.  My favorite things that I did during this month included:  visiting with children in the units, putting together “comfort kits” for kids with cancer, shadowing a physician assistant, and being surrounded by wonderful people who truly care about the livelihood of others.  My shadowing experience involved learning the day-to-day tasks of a PA while visiting with patients, working with staff from other specialties (OT/PT), and sitting in on meetings.  I couldn’t be more grateful for the variety of opportunities; they allowed me to gain direct patient contact experience, form lasting relationships, and showed me how my presence positively impacted the life of someone else.

Ultimately, my shadow experience provided me with direction for my future goals. After graduating from Gustavus Adolphus College in May 2010 with a B.A. in Biology and Neuroscience, I decided that I wanted to pursue my master’s degree in Physician Assistant Studies. During this last year, I’ve been busy with applications and gaining clinical experience by working at a group home. In just two short weeks, I will be starting classes in the Physician Assistant graduate program at UW-Madison! I am eager to embrace the challenging future ahead of me, and will always remember and be thankful to those who helped me get to where I am now.”

Thank you, Chelsea, for taking the time to share your experiences…and best of luck with your PA career!

Surgery Volunteer Recognition Luncheon

Our Perioperative Services division truly could not function without the assistance of our wonderful Family Waiting Room volunteers and Perioperative Escorts.  Today, the Perioperative department was kind enough to host a recognition luncheon for all surgery volunters.  (A special thanks to Perioperative Administrative Assistant Kim Bennett for her work in arranging this event!)

The following surgery staff members attended the event to express their thanks to department volunteers:

Gloria Drake, Senior Director,  Perioperative Services

Pat Buzzell, Patient Care Manager, OR

Laurie Young, Patient Care Manager, Pre-Op/PACU

Dr. David Schmeling, Chief of Surgery

At the event, Gloria read two quotes about volunteers that sum up our feelings exactly:

1.  “Those who can, do.  Those who can do MORE, volunteer!”

2.  “Volunteers don’t get paid…not because they are worthless, but because they are priceless!”

Thank you, surgery volunteers, for all of your incredible work!

Our wonderful surgery volunteers! Front row, L to R: Fran Larson, Robin Friedlander, Fay Sullivan, Maurine Shink, Susie Smith, Jory Herman, & Geri Timperley. Back row, L to R: Barb Noecker, Allison Bradee, Kathy Dowd, Jan Nelson, Marilyn Quamme, & Lynda Summerville.

2011 Volunteer Services Scholarship Award Winners Recognized!

This year's wonderful scholarship recipients! Pictured, from L to R: Huey-Ling Chen, Sara Moriarty, Korissa Berdan, Abby Pansch, Leah Paquin, & Victoria Anderson. (Not pictured: Matthew Hibbs & Thu Phan.)

Last night, our department had the true honor of gathering at St. Paul’s Town and Country Club to celebrate the achievements of eight Volunteer Services Scholarship winners for this year.  To be eligible for a scholarship, volunteers must have a minimum of 250 hours of service, complete a comprehensive scholarship application, and support Children’s mission through their commitment and excellence.  In recognition of these future leaders, each recipient received a check made out to their academic institution for $1,000.  The following volunteers received scholarships for 2011:

Victoria Anderson

Korissa Berdan

Huey-Ling Chen

Matthew Hibbs

Sara Moriarty

Abby Pansch

Leah Paquin

Thu Phan

At the event, Sandy Bergeron, Director of Volunteer Services, and David Brumbaugh, Vice President of Human Resources, both spoke on behalf of the organization to thank the volunteers for all that they have accomplished.   In addition, Outpatient Pharmacy Manager Amy Simons and Physical Therapist Elaine Walin attended the event to speak on the impact that student volunteers have had on their respective departments.  

CONGRATULATIONS to all of this year’s scholarship winners!  We are so proud of you, and wish you the best in your future endeavors!