Monthly Archives: April 2013

It Takes a Team!

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!)

From Mom to Volunteer: Lori’s Story


Check out Lori’s story below. From visiting Children’s as a mother of a premature baby girl, to becoming an inpatient volunteer. What a testament to the volunteers that give their time and talents to the little ones we serve! 

Mother daughter winter vacation in Vegas!

“The journey that brought me to the volunteer team at Minneapolis Children’s began on July 28, 1993; when my daughter Paige Webb was a patient in NICU/ICC.  During that time, I was touched by volunteers that would hold and comfort Paige when we could not be there. A gift I wanted to return or more appropriately pay forward. Paige is a happy, healthy college freshman at Gustavus Adolphus College; and thrilled that she is the inspiration for my volunteering.”

               What an incredible way to give back. Thank you for sharing your story, time, and positive spirit with Children’s!

Volunteer Services: Did You Know???

Did you know that….

…last year alone, volunteers spent time with 31,225 patients?

….the average age of our hospital volunteers is 29?

…Children’s has over 1900 active volunteers?

…last year, our trained therapy dogs spent over 1,800 hours with patients!

…volunteers distribute over 9,000 library books to patient rooms annually?

…nearly 70% of our volunteers are interested in healthcare careers?

…last year alone, 10 volunteers became Children’s employees?

Children’s Volunteer Services has a tremendous reputation due to our talented, dedicated, ALL-STAR volunteers!

Administrative Volunteers: Behind the Scenes at Children’s

Most of our volunteers give of their time on the inpatient units, but several support staff in administrative roles in a wide variety of departments!

Psychological Services Volunteer: Randy Lehnen

After teaching high school for 15 years, Randy was ready for a new challenge! He combined his interests in health care and his aptitude in information technology by pursuing a Practice and Information Management Redesign Specialist certificate program at Normandale Community College. To gain experience in the health care industry, Randy chose to volunteer at Children’s in the Psychological Services clinic on the St. Paul campus. In this volunteer position, Randy has been performing a variety of tasks that have given him valuable insights into the workflow of clinical practice.


Volunteer Randy Lehnen with staff supervisor Tanya Johnson

“We have been grateful for all of Randy’s help!  He is always eager and willing to help.  Randy has also aided in filing, organizing, and other tasks that have helped make us efficient.  We appreciate and thank him for his volunteer work with us.”  -Tanya Johnson, Intake Coordinator


Family Resource Center Volunteer: Cassie Mathison
Since September 2006, Cassie has volunteered in many ways throughout Children’s, sharing over 850 hours!

Cassie Mathison, Family Resource Center Volunteer

“Cassie has worked with the Family Resource Center for 4 years. She has a spirit that reflects a positive attitude, not just a smile on her face but in the amount of effort and energy she puts forth. Cassie plays a vital role in the Resource Center, performing a wide variety of tasks and always has a willingness to learn more. We depend on Cassie and appreciate all she does to make the Family Resource Center a warm and welcoming environment for the families here at Children’s.” -Kris Fulgham, Family Resource Center staff

Thank you to our wonderful administrative volunteers!  You make a difference here at Children’s!

From Patient to Volunteer: Sasha’s Story

Sasha Buchner has been volunteering at Children’s since May 2011.  In her own words, here is the story of how she became involved with our program:


“Three years ago, I was quickly approaching the end of my senior year in high school.  However, at the same time, I had an growing sense of dread that came to a peak when I developed a lump just over my collarbone.  On May 27th, 2010, 5 days before I graduated, I was diagnosed with Stage 2A Hodgkin’s lymphoma with bulk disease.  The adult oncology clinic that diagnosed me insisted that I start treatment right away–but then my mom got in contact with the Children’s Hem/Onc clinic in Minneapolis. They were willing to work with me so that I could enjoy the end of my senior year before starting treatment. It was such a relief that I didn’t miss anything.


One day, while I was receiving chemotherapy on the inpatient floor, I was feeling particularly nauseated.   I hadn’t eaten anything until two volunteers came around to the rooms pulling a wagon full of dirt pudding (Oreos, chocolate pudding, and gummy worms). Needless to say, I ate the delicious treat right away. At this moment, I realized that I wanted to give back to other kids with cancer by helping make their journeys a little bit brighter.


The Hem/Onc clinic is a special place within Children’s. Everyone is part of a community, all working towards the same goal of eradicating childhood cancer. I enjoy spending time with the patients and helping them to be kids and teens instead of diagnoses. Every day, I learn so much from them. It is my hope to put this knowledge to use as I pursue a career as a future teen and young adult oncologist. “

Thank you, Sasha, for sharing your amazing courage, compassion, and commitment to Children’s!

Sneak Peek: National Volunteer Recognition Week, April 21-27!

Volunteer Services is looking forward to celebrating with volunteers and staff for next week’s National Volunteer Recognition Week! All over the country, this week is a great opportunity for those impacted by the work of volunteers to say thanks!

Here at Children’s, we have lots of fun photos, volunteer stories, and other surprises planned for the week!

Here’s just a peek at what’s in store:

-Treats for volunteers in our Minneapolis & St. Paul offices
-Open Houses recognizing the staff who support volunteers
(St. Paul Volunteer Services office (L-297), Wednesday, 11 am-1 pm/Minneapolis Volunteer Services office (B-700), Thursday, 11 am- 1 pm)
-Daily blog posts with a variety of volunteer stories
-Television ‘Shout Out’s’ to 2 fantastic Children’s Hospital volunteers on KARE 11! Watch for these highlights Saturday, April 20th during the 8 o’clock hour, and on Monday, April 22nd during the 4 o’clock program! KARE 11 will highlight volunteers across the Twin Cities all week in celebration, we’re excited to be a part of the fun!
We look forward to celebrating with you!

Red-Vested Rockstar: Joel Seleskie

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

Meet Joel!

1.   Why he ROCKS!!

Joel is a working professional who is very family-oriented. He finds time in his busy week to volunteer at Children’s, and always makes an impact when he is here!  Joel says, “I have a buddy, George, who used to volunteer at Children’s—Minneapolis. He was in his 40s, did not have kids of his own, and found this volunteer opportunity to be a great fit. I reached out to Sandy years ago, but the process seemed a bit lengthy/more than I could handle at the time with the schedule not being quite as accommodating for my calendar. Since then, I got married and had two kids. I felt lucky to have healthy young boys, so I contacted Children’s again and they were able to work around my schedule, allowing me to come in after work. I have always liked hanging out with kids, and volunteering at Children’s provides a good way to keep my own life in perspective.”

2.   Favorite thing to do outside of volunteering?

“I enjoy spending time with family. I married a Regions Labor and Delivery nurse, and have two little boys, ages 1 and 3. One of my favorite experiences was ice skating with my little boy for the 2nd time this winter.”

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

“2 little boys=2 little monkeys.  No pets.”

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

“I would create a bar with 15 grams of protein and a candy coating; I would name it ‘Chunk-O-Energy.’”

5.   Share a favorite volunteer experience or story:

“I have lots of them. An interesting story was when I was feeding a 2-year-old ravioli: they ate the whole plate, and I was amazed at how much the little bugger could eat! A memorable experience was when I held a newborn, just a month old. There was not as much interaction, but it was a very peaceful experience.”

 Thank you, Joel, for your great work here at Children’s!


Buds in Scrubs: Tim Schroeder


Children’s Volunteer Services presents:

Buds in Scrubs!

1.   Meet Tim:

Tim is Children’s Finance Projects Manager, and is based in Roseville. He started with Children’s in June 2004 as a Financial Analyst. He is a strong leader and wonderful Volunteer Services partner (who wears some of the coolest ties)!

 2.   Favorite thing to do outside of work?

         “Supporting and cheering for my daughters’ activities. Also, volunteer activities with the Richfield Public Schools Foundation, Richfield Public Schools Music Boosters, and our church.”

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

 “I’ve been married to Darla for almost 24 years; our anniversary is in less than 2 weeks! We have two daughters, Sarah (17) and Katie (15); both go to Richfield High School. Sarah volunteers on the Children’s-Minneapolis campus on Saturdays, and is deciding on colleges for next year.

 We only have two pets now; Sadie is a springer/lab/chow mix, and Trooper is our cat. In the past, we also had gerbils and guinea pigs.”

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

“I enjoy reading about mountain climbing and dog sledding, though my current books are more career-related (predictive analytics and lean healthcare). My all-time favorite movie is “The Ten Commandments.”

 5.   Who was your hero as a kid?

“When I was a child, my hero was my mother:  as a single parent, she sacrificed a lot to assure that my brothers, sisters and I could get the most out of our lives. She told us, though not verbatim, what I share with my daughters: 1) have a great day, 2) do your best, 3) have fun, 4) be respectful of others, and most importantly, 5) she loved us and was very proud of us.”

 6.   Who is your hero now?

    “Today, my mother is still my hero, but I have also added others who give of themselves and commit their lives to making our tomorrows better than today – such as our volunteers.”

 7.   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 include honey, dried cherries, crushed cashews molded together in dark chocolate and be called ‘Done Best.’”

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

    “The ability to work with my colleagues to become more efficient stewards of our available resources so that we fulfill our mission to the patients, families and communities that we serve.”

 9.   Share a work experience involving volunteers:

    “Currently, five volunteers regularly assist the finance team with several of our databases and programs.  I greatly appreciate their enthusiasm and commitment to help.  They have all suggested ideas that we have implemented to make things easier.”





Courage Center’s EMPOWER Scholarships Now Accepting Applications!

The Courage Center is currently accepting applications for its EMPOWER Scholarships!

EMPOWER Scholarships are open to ethnically diverse students attending an institution of higher learning. Selection is based on the applicant’s intentions, achievements, volunteerism and need. The application deadline is May 15th, 2013.

Interested in applying? Check out further requirements, learn more about the EMPOWER Scholarship program, and review the application process by visiting this site.

Red-Vested Rockstar: Janene Koutek

Janene and The Dude, delivering cool prizes!

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

 Meet Janene!

1.   Why she ROCKS!!

“My brother, Joseph, used to be a patient at Children’s, and I always thought that it would be cool to come and hang out with the kids at the hospital… so here I am! I finally made the decision to become a volunteer. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.” We agree! Janene has been an awesome addition to our Star Studio volunteer team. She brings fun, laughter, and plenty of smiles to each and every shift.

As for the future: “Right now, I am in the process of completing my Masters Degree in Child and Adolescent Development. I hope to someday become a Child Life Specialist.”

  2.   Favorite thing to do outside of volunteering?

“I love to sing! In January, I won a trip to Hawaii and auditioned to sing “God Bless America” at Target Field for a Twins game. I also love reading, dancing, and scrapbooking.”

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

 “No kids, but I do have a cat. Her name is Tighty Whitey. She’s white with blue eyes and is super shy.”

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

“This is a loaded question…um… I think it would have to be something with toffee, chocolate, and peanut butter. But then there’s nougat and caramel, too. UGH! Okay, for real, peanut butter, strawberries, and chocolate. Kinda like a chocolate-covered PB & J. Yup, that’s it. I’d name it LaLa’s Lucious Lunchwich.”

  5.   Share a favorite volunteer experience or story:

“I feel privileged to be able to work with the AWESOME staff at the Star Studio, especially The Dude. But I really love the fact that I get to visit so many kids while I’m at the hospital. I love being able to go into the rooms and share with them what’s going to be on the show. I think it’s super cool when new patients call in! It’s a fantastic feeling to get the kids excited to watch the show, whether it’s their first time or their 100th time.”

Thank you, Janene, for being such an awesome volunteer!