Archive for the ‘Volunteer Profiles’ Category

Red-Vested Rockstar: Irma Lain

Friday, May 15th, 2015


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

Meet Irma!

1.   Why she ROCKS?!

 “I grew up in a home of nine kids, and my mom cared for babies and toddlers in our home for many years.  Somewhere along the way, I gained a great love for little ones, especially babies!  About 9 years ago, I heard my co-worker talk about volunteering in the Children’s NICU and thought it would be something that I would enjoy doing.  She gave me the website application link, and I went from there.  I have been fortunate enough to have work managers all of these years who have allowed me to leave early on Fridays so that I can volunteer!”

 2.   Favorite thing to do outside of volunteering?

 “I love spending time with friends – going out to eat, going for walks, watching movies, etc.”

 3.   What keeps you here, volunteering at Children’s?

 “I love having the opportunity to comfort growing babies and seem to be good at it.”

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

 “My candy bar would have chocolate, caramel and peanuts.  I would name it ‘Chocolate Delight’.”

 5.   Share a favorite volunteer experience or story:

 “On a recent shift, I was asked to help a patient in the PICU. I was told that he typically loved to snuggle and be held, but that was not the case the day I visited. He wanted some physical space, so he laid back in bed and I simply read and talked to him for about 40 minutes, when he drifted to sleep (which I had been told that he had been fighting all day).  He was very responsive to me and my voice. It made me feel good to be able to help him relax and rest.”

                      Thank you for the YEARS of snuggles, and cuddles for our babies!

Red-Vested Rockstar: Lily Sugimura

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015

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

Meet Lily!

 1.   Why she ROCKS?!

 “I’m an assistant at my dance studio for younger dancers, which is where I realized I enjoy being with children! I’ve always been curious about the medical field so when an opportunity to volunteer at Children’s came up it seemed like a perfect fit!”

 2.   Favorite thing to do outside of volunteering?

 “Reading and dancing have always been my favorite pastimes!”

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

 “Unfortunately I do not have any pets, but I keep hoping for one!”

 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 made to taste like those dirt pudding cups (chocolate pudding, cookie crumbs, and gummy worms). I’d call it the ‘Mud Pie Bar’! Might not sound or look great, but it would taste amazing!”

 5.   Share a favorite volunteer experience or story:

 “Just recently I was playing with a little girl; we walked around in the hall and went to the playroom. When I had to leave, she followed me out, thinking (and hoping) we were going back to the playroom. When she realized I wasn’t able to go there with her, she pressed her face against the glass to watch me leave. It was adorable, but so hard to leave!”

Thanks for spending time (having fun) with the patients we serve!

Red-Vested Rockstar: Teodora Rusinova

Friday, April 17th, 2015

Children’s Volunteer Services presents:

Teodora Rusinova!


1. Why she ROCKS?!

“I chose to volunteer at Children’s Hospital, because my future major is nursing. I thought that it will be the best place to start my volunteering career and get some experience. I wanted to give my love and care to the children and their families and I truly realize how fortunate I’ve been to be able to make a difference in their and my lives!”

2.   Favorite thing to do outside of volunteering?

“I love outdoor activities like biking, canoeing and visiting parks and I also love to travel!”

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

I have a three year old daughter. She is my sunshine who makes my days more and more interesting and she is also one of the biggest inspirations and encouragements to volunteer and give love to other children too.”

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

“The main ingredients of the candy would be lots of smiles, warmth and kindness. I would name it ‘Be happy!’”

5.   Share a favorite volunteer experience or story:

“Volunteering at Children’s Hospital has been one of the greatest experiences for me. I know that every Monday morning I would meet a child that will make me smile, touch my heart or give me something to reflect upon. It has improved my social skills and helped those in needs. I admire the hard work and dedication of all the medical professionals.”

 Thank you so much Teodora for sharing your time and talents with us!

Thursday, April 16th, 2015

Meet Jill and Freddy!

“A nurse asked that Freddy and I visit a room with young child, maybe 9 months old. The parents were far from home, and having other kids has made this stay quite stressful. The child was upset, and I could see the worry and fear in the parent’s faces. I entered the room and the baby immediately smiled, and laughed at Freddy. As I was leaving, the mother started to cry… letting me know that she was so worried about her baby, but when the therapy dog entered the room, everything changed. Everything was better.

At that moment, Freddy tugged on his leash, sending me a message. I followed his lead, walking him to the mother. He rested his head on her lap, as if offering a hug. The mother started crying happy tears… it was a beautiful moment. It was overwhelming to see the power of love at work in my angel dog, Freddy.”


Wednesday, April 15th, 2015

Meet  Tega!

“I love volunteering at Children’s Hospital- Minneapolis because of the high standard of excellence they have for everything that they do, from the decor to medical practices; I feel honored to be a small part of that. Volunteering in the Family Resource Center has given me a greater appreciation for holistic healthcare. I see and learn that helping a child get well also includes things like making sure that there’s food in a family’s cupboards when they get home, that parents have a calm place to unwind and/or get work done, and that siblings have a safe place to play.”

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

Meet David!

David is an artist, spending his retired time painting, woodworking, and volunteering as a ‘Float’ at Children’s- St. Paul. When asked why he decided to volunteer, David said, “I always had in the back of mind that when I retired, I would volunteer with children and do my art.” His favorite part about volunteering? “Seeing a smile on a child’s face… when you get a child to smile, the whole world is a better place to live.”

National Volunteer Week is April 12th- April 18th!

Monday, April 13th, 2015

THANK YOU, VOLUNTEERS, for your smiles, positive spirits, time, and compassion for the patients and families we serve! We are thankful for your service! Each day this week we will be highlighting a different member of our awesome volunteer team. Check back daily to see the featured volunteers. 


Meet Adoma!


Adoma has volunteered with our Star Studio, and on our inpatient units! According to staff, ‘she has a positive attitude and friendly personality; she is rarely seen without a smile!’

When not volunteering, Adoma stays busy with her full-time nursing studies and 2 children, ages 11 and 6. Adoma began volunteering due to her family’s personal experiences receiving care at Children’s.

As she says, “I’m the parent of a child with Sickle Cell and have had several volunteers make our hospital stays at Children’s Hospital more pleasant, interesting and enjoyable, so I wanted to give back by doing the same for other families.” 


Red-Vested Rockstar: Elise Beckman

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

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

Meet Elise!

 1.   Why she ROCKS?!

 “I started volunteering at a local hospital in my hometown of Sacramento, CA ten years ago, and applied to volunteer at Children’s when I found out I’d be moving to the Twin Cities. That was over two years ago, and I still enjoy coming in every Sunday! I work as a financial analyst for another local hospital system, and love the opportunity to be involved in multiple healthcare environments in the Minneapolis area.”

 2.   Favorite thing to do outside of volunteering?

 “I love to travel, and try to explore a new country every year! Next on my list: China.”

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

 “No kiddos or pets currently, but I hope to have both some day…after I’ve explored several more countries.”

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

 “Hmm…I would probably add sea salt to a Twix bar, so I’d call it a “Salty Twix.” (I clearly would need some help with branding!)”

 5.   Share a favorite volunteer experience or story:

 “We had a sweet patient in the PICU, who has been hospitalized for some time. One day, I had the pleasure of spending time with the patient’s siblings while their parents spent some time alone with their little one. It was a great experience and a wonderful memory, as the parents were given the opportunity to spend concentrated time with their sick child together. One of the best things about volunteering at Children’s is getting to experience all aspects of care – for not only the patient, but for the families, as well.”

 Thank you, Elise, for brightening the day of our patients and families.


Red-Vested Rockstar: Andrew Fenton

Thursday, March 19th, 2015


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

Meet Andrew!

1.   Why he ROCKS?!

 “I got into volunteering because I enjoy helping people and wanted to give back. When I started looking for volunteer opportunities, nothing stood out to me, until I found Children’s Hospital. Wanting to work in the medical field and possibly specializing in pediatrics, there was no place better for me to spend my time. My position as a float gives me the chance to work with infants to young adults. I am able to partake in many different activities, and interact with each child on a personal level.

 When people ask me why I volunteer at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, I always give the same answer… going and spending time with the patients gets their mind off what they are battling, and there’s nothing better than seeing kids smile and laugh.”

 2.   Favorite thing to do outside of volunteering?

 “My favorite thing to do outside of volunteering is hang out with my friends and family. I am a part of Prior Lake High School’s National Honor Society Chapter which keeps me busy with other volunteer opportunities along with mentorship programs in the elementary schools. I also enjoy partaking in physical activity whether through pick up sports, casual workouts, or doing things outside.”

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

 “I have a ten-pound Yorki-Corgi mix named Matthew; he is full of energy! We got him three years ago, and he has been a handful ever since! Whether chewing something up or just making an overall mess…we love him! (Plus, it is hard to stay mad at a cute, ten-pound dog for long.) Matthew is always running and never fails to cheer everyone up!”

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

 “I would create a cross between a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup and a Kit-Kat. Those two are the few candies that I enjoy, so I can only imagine that combining them would taste amazing! It would be the Kit-Kat base… but instead of just coating it in chocolate, there would be peanut butter added, and then it would be doused in chocolate. Coming up with a name for my candy bar is a tough job, but after thinking about it, I’ve decided on ‘The Peanut-Butter Crunch Bar’.  With this new creation, people around the world will be able to bite into a new, delicious indulgence!”

 5.   Share a favorite volunteer experience or story:

 “Out of all of the amazing children I have worked with throughout my time at Children’s, I will never forget one eight-year-old boy. I had been told that he had never been a fan of working with volunteers, but figured I would give it a try. I don’t know what it was, but for some reason he and I just clicked; we were instant buds. He had a lengthy stay, so each week he would request that I come spend time with him. We played games, read books, watched movies, and did art projects. One week, I went to his room and saw on his door a sign he had made reading, “Last round of chemo!” I was so happy for him! When I entered his room he gave me the biggest smile, and told me how excited he was! He said that he couldn’t wait to be home and be surrounded by his family. I left that night with a picture he had drawn for me, and couldn’t stop thinking about what an amazing young boy he was. He taught me how to live every day with a positive attitude, regardless of your situation. I will always remember that night. Months later, I learned my newly found friend was done with his treatment and cancer free. He is always in the back of my mind, and there is no way I could ever repay him for what he has taught me. That experience has changed my life.”

Thanks, Andrew, for making a difference in the lives of our patients!

Red-Vested Rockstar: Ed Kraft

Thursday, March 5th, 2015


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

Meet Ed!

1.   Why he ROCKS?!

 “With my biology degree, I worked in a research lab at the U of M, but soon decided that I wanted to work more with people. I had enjoyed being a medic in the army, so I applied to nursing school at the U of M. During my last year of school I was hired at Children’s! The unit I worked on was transformed into an oncology floor. I decided to stay, and became a pediatric oncology nurse.”

 2.   Favorite thing to do outside of volunteering?

 “I used to ride my bike a lot: to work, around the city. Now I enjoy riding my Terra Trike around the area. I have ridden on much of the Grand Round, and toured all the major Minneapolis lakes except Calhoun.

 I also grow orchids. I started about 35 years ago when my wife received a catteleya. I tried growing both cateleyas and dendrobiums, but eventually discovered phaleonopsis orchids. I have been growing them ever since. Right now I have about 30; many shades of pink, yellow, dotted, etc.”

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

 “My son, David, is 28 years old, and Anne Elizabeth, who would be 22 years old this year, is in heaven. We have two dogs: Abby, a black Schnoodle; and Ellie, a Cockapoo. Those are actually their shortened names. My wife wanted them to have strong female role models, so their full names are Abigail Adams and Eleanor Roosevelt.”

 4. Why volunteer at Children’s?

 “I was working at Children’s the afternoon my 8-year-old daughter, Anne, was diagnosed with leukemia. After her diagnosis, we spent a lot of time at Children’s together… but she didn’t want me to be her nurse, just her dad. Anne relapsed after six months, while still receiving treatment, but she fought to stay with us for four more years. Anne died on March 1st, 2005, four months after her 12th birthday. Anne left us with a vast collection of her art: paintings, drawings, pastels, sculpture, pottery (both hand-built and thrown on the wheel), puppets, and more.”

 5.   Share a favorite volunteer experience or story:

“Each year I participate in the CureSearch Walk. It has been an honor to walk alongside the patients and families that have experienced care at Children’s.”

Thank you for dedicating your retired time to Children’s and the patients we serve!