Category Archives: Updates

Volunteer Services Welcomes Karen Alderfer!


Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota is excited to welcome the newest member of their Volunteer Services team: Karen Alderfer!

 What better way to get to know someone than to learn their favorite superhero??

 Karen is originally from New Jersey, but  has been living in Minnesota for the past 22 years. She started her professional career as a teacher and coordinator at a child care center. After 10 years though, it was time for a change which is when she joined a hospital team in the Volunteer Services department. She is thrilled to continue her passion for volunteer coordination with joining the Children’s team,  and we look forward to incredible teamwork!

  1. What excites you most about working at Children’s?

“It is such a positive environment, it’s contagious!  Children’s has such a great mission and I enjoy being a part of that.”

2. Favorite thing to do outside of work?

“I love to travel, run, bike, and hike.”

3. Something unique or interesting about you?

“One year I visited and hiked in all of the state parks in MN. I was gone most weekends that year!”

4. Favorite Superhero?

“Does Pippi Longstocking count?  I LOVED Pippi when I was a little girl.”

5. Do you have any pets?

“Nope, no pets.”

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

“Inspiring, present, caring, giving, thoughtful.”

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

“It would have to have pecans, caramel and chocolate for sure…throw in a few marshmallows and call it ‘Pecachma’ (from the first 2 letters of the ingredients…not some funky word!)”

2012 Annual Report

Have you ever wondered how many books volunteers checked out to patients last year?
 How about the total numbers of volunteers that Children’s had in 2012?

Find the answers to these questions and other cool stats by checking out our 2012 Annual Report!

Read fun volunteer bios, find out the monetary value of our annual volunteer hours, and much more…

Visit our website:, scroll down to the bottom right, and click on Annual Report.

Children’s COOKBOOK!

Enjoy cooking, baking or simply have a recipe to share?

Be a part of the Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota Cookbook!


All Participants will automatically be entered into a drawing for IMAX tickets, Science Museum tickets, and hotel packages at the Sheraton!

For more information or to submit a recipe, contact Ingrid: (612) 813-6170, or [email protected]

What Not to Wear: Children’s Hospital Volunteer Style!

Temperatures are rising, days are getting longer, students are finishing up their finals, and summer volunteers are coming onboard here at Children’s Hospital!

While you may be thrilled to break out your summer skirts and sandals at home, the dress code here at Children’s may require a few modifications to your summer style!

Before you come in for your volunteer shift, remember to consider our dress code, and a few helpful “what- not-to-wear” tips! With the help of a few style-conscious volunteers, we’ve put together a quick cheat sheet regarding our most-common summer dress-code downfalls!

1. Don’t Show Too Much Leg!

Your shorts and miniskirts are great to wear on the beach, but are not allowed when volunteering here at Children’s Hospital!

Volunteer Eric Gustafson models shorts- one of the "What Not to Wear" items for volunteers!

Even shorts with tights are NOT allowed! Thanks to volunteer Marji Branum for modeling this look!

2. This Little Piggy Went Home.

Closed-toed shoes are required for all volunteers. This means NO SANDALS.

Volunteer Coordinator Lisa Munson shows us "what not to wear" at Children's

3. Your vest may be sleeveless, but your shirt must not be.

No tank tops, or other sleeveless tops, are permitted during your volunteer shift.   This should go without saying, but please also avoid any revealing clothing such as tight, low-cut tops, see-through fabric, etc.

Volunteer Leah Grengs models the sleeveless look- a fashion "don't" here at Children's!

4.  “Nail” our fingernail policy!

According to our Volunteer Handbook: “Fingernails must be no longer than the tip of the finger, artificial nails [including acrylic nails, gels, etc.] may not be worn, and if polish is worn, it must be clear and have no chips.”

Painted nails (even cute ones!) are NOT allowed!

5. Remember your Volunteer ID badge!

PAWH canine volunteer Scylla displays her badge in a readable position.

Special thanks to each of our lovely Children’s volunteer models, and thanks to all volunteers for abiding by our “style rules” this summer!

New Children’s Hospital Commercials Released!

You may have already noticed several new commercials running for Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, but here’s your chance to see them all!

A total of seventeen new commercials for Children’s Hospital have been developed, and will begin to air in the next several weeks. These fun new videos give viewers an unscripted, inspiring and often humorous glimpse into the care and support given to patients and families here at Children’s.  Brief interviews with doctors, nurses and families, as well as lots of footage from within the hospital, are included in the videos.

Click Here to check out the new commercials and other new materials, or visit!

February Is Volunteer Evaluation Month!

Have you been volunteering with us here at Children’s Hospital for 6 months or longer? If so, you will soon be approached by a friendly Volunteer Services coordinator, or a staff person in the department you volunteer with, for a quick Annual Evaluation!

This evaluation process will provide volunteers with feedback about their service, and will also give volunteers the opportunity to share feedback about how things are going and what could be improved.

Have you been here for LESS than 6 months? Don’t worry; you won’t be left out!  All volunteers who have started their service within the last six months will be asked to complete an “initial competency review” to go over basic safety, infection control, and policy items!

Please be in touch at any time to share your feedback!

New Welcome Desk & Cafeteria in St. Paul!

Children’s-St. Paul has had so many changes in the past month! Take a walk through the 1st floor in our main hospital building (the River Tower), and you will find a new cafeteria with sunny seating where the Emergency Department once was, next to a new main Welcome Desk!

Welcome Desk Staff Lenore Loonan and Rob Ayres with Volunteer Edna Knudsen

The new 1st floor Welcome Desk hours are 6 a.m. – 9 p.m., Monday-Friday and 7 a.m. – 9 p.m. on weekends.

New Welcome Desk

New cafeteria seating at Children's-St. Paul!

Happy “Wash Your Hands” Week!

It’s National Handwashing Awareness Week!  As such, we wanted to briefly review some important hand hygiene policies.  When volunteering, you should be washing your hands:

  • -before entering & after exiting patient rooms
  • -after using the restroom
  • -after eating or drinking
  • -after contact with patient bedding, clothing, or body fluids

When washing your hands, Wendy Berg, Children’s Infection Preventionist, says, “The expectation is to use either hand foam or soap & water, but not both.  Soap & water should be used after every 10-15 applications of hand foam.”

When applying hand foam, the amount of foam used should be approximately the size of a golf ball (see below)!

HW-Golf Ball

When rubbing your hands together, make sure that you rub ALL of the foam in!  The picture below illustrates what NOT to do:  please rub your hands together until the product dries.

HW-Half Foam

Hand foam should be used in most circumstances, unless your hands are visibly soiled (from contact with body fluids, using the restroom, eating a red velvet cupcake, etc.):

HW-Red Velvet

When your hands become soiled, please use soap & water to clean them!

HW-Soap & Water

Handwashing is the single most effective way to prevent the spread of infection, so PLEASE…WASH YOUR HANDS, WASH YOUR HANDS, WASH YOUR HANDS!  Our goal is for each volunteer’s hands to look like this:

HW-Clean Hands

Thanks for doing your part to protect our patients & families from germs!

Welcome, Ingrid Schmeling!

Editor’s Note:  We are so excited to welcome Ingrid Schmeling as the newest team member in Children’s Volunteer Services! Read on for Ingrid’s “hello” message!

Ingrid Schmeling

“Hello, all!  My name is Ingrid Schmeling, and I could not be more excited about becoming a Volunteer Coordinator in the Volunteer Services Department, Minneapolis Campus.  I am a former Children’s volunteer (yahoo!) and University of St. Thomas graduate, with a double major in Psychology and Spanish.  I have spent the past 2 ½ years working as an Admissions Coordinator for Children’s at their Roseville Rehabilitation Site.

A bit more about me:  I am a huge animal lover who enjoys movies, music, travel, good food, and spending time with friends and family.  If you ever need a pet sitter, I am the gal to ask!  I had the privilege of studying abroad in Rome (as a Spanish major…whoops!) in college, and have had a passion for fashion and travel ever since!  I may love food, but am not the greatest chef…I do make a MEAN mac n’ cheese, though (straight from the Kraft box, of course).  That is me in a nutshell…to learn more, feel free to ask. :) I look forward to meeting all of the amazing volunteers and staff at Children’s!”

WELCOME, Ingrid! We’re so happy to have you join Volunteer Services!

Bon Voyage, Ben Reed!

A wise man once said, “The only constant is change.”  Our department will experience another big change next week, as we bid farewell to Minneapolis Volunteer Coordinator Ben Reed.

Ben began his career at Children’s in 2004, working in Human Resources.  He came to Volunteer Services in April 2006, and has been a tremendous asset to the department ever since.  We have greatly appreciated his community involvement & leadership skills, and will miss his humor, easygoing nature, and knowledge of all things food-related! :) 

Ben will be taking a new position as Manager of the International Center at Abbott Northwestern Hospital, so we’re very glad that he will remain in the area!  Ben’s last day at Children’s will be Friday, October 7th.  We will be having an open house in the Minneapolis Volunteer Services office from 12:00-2:00 pm that day if you’re able to stop by; otherwise, please feel free to shoot Ben an e-mail ([email protected]) or give him a call (612-813-6170) to thank him for his years of dedicated service to Children’s.

Best of luck in your new venture, Ben!  We’ll miss you!