Archive for the ‘Volunteer Profiles’ Category

Red-Vested Rockstar: Melissa Burns

Friday, April 11th, 2014

 

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

Meet Melissa!

 1.   Why she ROCKS?!

 “I’ve been working in advertising sales for the past 8 years and am a U of M graduate. I started volunteering because I love babies, and was looking to do something a little more meaningful with my time.”

 2.   Favorite thing to do outside of volunteering?

 “I love food and travel – new adventures.”

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

 “No, the last thing I had were Sea Monkeys …..probably the most disappointing ‘pet’ ever!”  

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

 “It would probably be some sort of fig preserves topped with salted caramel and coated in dark chocolate.  I’d call it a ‘Figaroo.’ ”   

 5.   Share a favorite volunteer experience or story:

 “I remember playing with an older, spunky girl who loved pranks/jokes. I was pushing her down the hall in a riding car, she kept trying to bump into things, to encourage me to speed up! Her nurse joined in the fun, and made a hall speaker announcement stating “nurse police, get off the road silly drivers!!” The young girl thought it was so funny, and it was clear that she had a great relationship with the staff… even though they would not allow her to solely eat candy bars for dinner.”

 Thanks, Melissa, for extending your love of babies to Children’s! The comfort through holding and rocking is one that the staff and families so appreciate.

Volunteer shout-out: Kiry Koy

Friday, April 11th, 2014

Volunteer shout-out: Kiry Koy

 

Kiry Koy
 
The celebration of our volunteerscontinues this week with a profile of Kiry Koy.

Kiry is a freshman at the University of Minnesota, studying neuroscience. He volunteers at Children’s – St. Paul on the inpatient units, and has gained more than 60 hours of service since he started volunteering in October of 2013. This summer, he plans to broaden his skill set by volunteering in a new area: as a peri-operative escort in our surgery department! His favorite part about volunteering is playing with kids in the unit playroom. Plans for the future? Well, to become a doctor of course!

Thank you, Kiry, and all of our volunteers for all you do to assist staff and brighten the lives of patients and families.

 

Red-Vested Rockstar: Natalie Lunda

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

 

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

Meet Natalie!

 1.   Why she ROCKS?!

 “I was a patient at Children’s Minneapolis in the 90’s; when I went to High School, I decided to see the hospital from a different angle and volunteer! I took a brief break during college, but after I graduated last year, I was excited to return to volunteering at Children’s. I carpool with my mom who volunteers at the Ronald McDonald House! I just LOVE working with children and plan to continue that in my career as a Child Life Specialist!”

 2.   Favorite thing to do outside of volunteering?

 “I love listening to all kinds of music and spending time with my family and friends. I enjoy skiing (downhill, cross-country, and water), biking, nannying, climbing, archery, and photography. Oh, and traveling! I’ve been to Spain and India. Eventually, I hope to visit many more cities and countries!”

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

 “I have a Yellow Lab named Earl, a Cairn-Westie Terrier named Lester, and a Flat-Coated Retriever named Chase. On top of that, I also have been cat-sitting for family members while they live in India for another year!” 

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

 “Half of the candy bar would be mint chocolate brownie, and the other half would be salted caramel dipped in chocolate. That way, you can eat half at one time, and then save the rest for later. It would be called ‘The Stellar Duo’.”

 5.   Share a favorite volunteer experience or story:

 “Every volunteer shift at Children’s is memorable, whether I am holding a baby, taking a patient for a stroll, or playing games with kids. One day, I was sent to a patient room to spend time with a baby while parents took a much deserved break. This was the first time the parents would be leaving their baby to take a break, so as you could imagine it was very difficult for them to do. I spent the rest of my shift playing with the baby, taking her for a stroll in the hallway, and simply holding her. When her dad came back to the room, he told me how grateful he was that someone was with their child until one of them returned.”

 Thanks, Natalie, for offering your compassionate spirit to the patients and families we serve!

 

Red-Vested Rockstar: Rocio Andrade Vera

Friday, February 28th, 2014

 

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

Meet Rocio!

1.   Why she ROCKS?!

 “I am a neuroscience major at St. Thomas and love interacting with kids. I originally started volunteering through a j-term program at St. Thomas that helped with career exploration. However, I loved it so much that I continued to participate in the volunteer program after j-term was over. Even though I didn’t know what to expect from the volunteering program it has surpassed anything I have ever done. Those who know me know that I also volunteer for the pure privilege of rocking babies to sleep, which is something I have gotten quite good at.”

 2.   Favorite thing to do outside of volunteering?

 “I enjoy spending time with my siblings as well as my nieces and nephew. Watching bad TV shows always helps me release stress, as well as playing ‘flappy bird’. I take every opportunity I get to travel; exploring new places around the world is something I feel passionate about.”

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

 “I have never had a pet in my life (even as a kid!) I have six siblings, so my parents never even considered getting us a pet to cause more trouble!”

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

  “I’m obsessed with life savers gummies and sour patch kids. If I could, I would create a gummy that was chewy like the life saver but sour and thick on the inside. I would call it ‘the life sour saver’.”

 5.   Share a favorite volunteer experience or story:

  “Since the first day I started volunteering I have had nothing but positive experiences. My favorite experience happened when I first started at Children’s. I went to see a kid who had just gotten out of surgery; he wasn’t feeling well so when I got to his room he wasn’t in a great mood. I asked if he was in the mood to play. He said no to playing, but asked if I could stay and just hang out with him. I was more than determined to make him feel better and as time went by he started smiling and playing with me! I think this experience reflects the true reason behind why I’m here, I enjoy providing that positive experience kids need when they’re in the hospital. To know that you can be the person that can change someone’s day for the better is something to be proud of.”

Thank you for sharing your constant smile, playful energy and true passion for helping others with the patients and families at Children’s!

Red-Vested Rockstar: Vinh Dang

Friday, February 14th, 2014

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

Meet Vinh!

1.   Why he ROCKS?!

 “My time volunteering started at Red Cross, I originally did that because I thought it’d be a good experience, and I love helping people out. Last year I fell in love with the idea of everything pharmacy and getting to work in a hospital sounded like an opportunity I wouldn’t dare pass up. I’m currently pursuing a career in pharmacy, work in a pharmacy at Walgreens, and am a 4th semester PSEO student at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.”

 2.   Favorite thing to do outside of volunteering?

 “My favorite thing outside of volunteering is working in the pharmacy at Walgreens. I get so much joy out of helping others, and I can just tell it’s where I’m meant to be.”

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

 “No. Being only 18, I don’t plan on having any kids for a long time. As for pets, I once had 2 hermit crabs.”

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

 “Gummy narwhals. Pretty straight forward, but it’s hard not to love narwhals!”

 5.   Share a favorite volunteer experience or story:

   “My most memorable volunteer experience was aiding in the comfort of 12 pre-schoolers in the Emergency Room waiting area as they went in for tests after a small bus accident. Being able to alleviate their worries and fears was immensely satisfying, especially when I got to see their faces light up as they ran to embrace their parents.”

Thanks for your reassuring demeanor and genuine excitement for helping others!  You truly have… heart!

Red-Vested Rockstar: Parker Freiborg

Friday, January 31st, 2014

 

 

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

Meet Parker!

 1.   Why he ROCKS?!

 “I got into volunteering because I realized that I was being a little selfish with my spare time. I love kids, so it was a no-brainer to look up Children’s Hospital and inquire. For some reason, after a year of playing board games and video games… I still get whooped by the kids I’m volunteering with!”

 2.   Favorite thing to do outside of volunteering?

 “I’m huge into the outdoors; I hunt when I can, although this year has been a little scarce. I put in time filming for a hunting show on the Sportsman’s Channel called “Hallowed Ground Outdoors”, so that’s where most of my “hunting time” goes. Other than that, most of my time is spent with friends and family, I try not to stay idle for too long!”

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

 “I have a 14 year old yellow lab named Gunnar. She was my first pet and she will be a tough act to follow for any other dog I consider getting. She loves kids so much, that we have a collage on our wall of 30 or so kids using her as a pillow, dressing her up as a princess, or riding her like a horse.”

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

 “I go back and forth with my sweet tooth, I LOVE a good chocolate/caramel combo, but the next day I’ll be craving gummy worms. But, if it had to be a candy BAR I’d probably do the chocolate/caramel combo with small coffee beans in it. (I’m also addicted to good coffee) The name would end up being something like “Diet Bar” or “Health Plus” because it would obviously be calorie free ;)

 5.   Share a favorite volunteer experience or story:

   “I’ve had so many good experiences at Children’s, from babies that go from screaming to an out-cold slumber when you hold and rock them, to making new friends that don’t want me to leave at the end of my shift. I think the experience that I had the most fun was with a younger boy, maybe 10 years old. He wanted a volunteer because he was a little nervous being left alone while mom went out for dinner. I walked into the room and he said he just wanted someone to watch TV with, so we started flipping through channels. We came across the Barrett-Jackson auction (car auction in Arizona) and this kid’s face lit up. Now, to preface this story, I’d like to think I know a lot about cars: old cars, new cars, obscure cars, but this boy KNEW cars. I’ve never had such an in-depth conversation about classic Mustangs and the pros and cons of model changes year over year. This little guru had cars DOWN. We had so much fun talking cars that when his mom came back from dinner, he asked if she wanted to go out for dessert so he and I could continue watching the auction and talking motors.”

 Thanks, Parker, for showing that taking the time to get to know a patient can lead to a fun and memorable experience for all!

Red-Vested Rockstar: Gretchen Arana

Friday, January 17th, 2014

 

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

Meet Gretchen!

1.   Why she ROCKS?!

 “The main reason I got into volunteering at Children’s is because I love working with children!  I had a career in health insurance sales for many years and decided it was time to change things up so I went back to school for nursing!  I recently graduated and hope to get into pediatric nursing. I am thrilled to be entering the healthcare field and so excited to start my new career!”

 2.   Favorite thing to do outside of volunteering?

 “My absolute favorite thing is to hang out with my kids! When we have a free day we like going to the movies or spending a day at the MOA going on rides – always a huge hit! We went sledding twice this past week, which was awesome. Outside of that – I love to read, bike, and spend time with friends.”

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

 “I have 2 kids and 2 pets. My daughter is 10 and my son is 7. We have a cat and recently added a dog to the mix. It’s been a few months and they are finally able to tolerate being in the same room together, which is lovely. I am talking about the cat and dog, not the children! Haha!”

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

 “I called in the kids for back up for this question. We’ve decided the candy bar would include cookie dough, caramel, and chocolate. We came up with the name ‘Triple C bar’!”

 5.   Share a favorite volunteer experience or story:

 “There are so many special moments that it’s hard to pick a favorite. During my most recent shift, I was playing with a patient who was 16 months old. We were reading and looking at books and she started to repeat a word or two – so amazing to be a part of! I love rocking the babies, taking the kids for strolls in the hallway, and playing games with the older kids. Just being able to help families, in any small way, during this stressful time is the best volunteer experience for me.”

 Thank you, Gretchen ! Your enthusiasm, warm smile, and love for kids is evident in the volunteer work you do!

 

Red-Vested Rockstar: Rachel Comfort

Friday, January 3rd, 2014

 

 

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

Meet Rachel!

1.   Why she ROCKS?!

 “I decided to start volunteering as a way to explore nursing as a possible career and also because I want to give back to my local community. Being able to volunteer my time and energy is priceless because I can impact someone’s life in a positive way. I am currently a nursing student and also work at a small, family-owned restaurant.”

 2.   Favorite thing to do outside of volunteering?

 “My favorite activity outside of volunteering is long distance running and spending time with my friends and family. Staying active is a big part of my life and my relationships always take priority!”

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

 “I currently don’t have a pet or kids of my own but my parents adopted an English Cream Golden Retriever named Cooper. He has been a wonderful addition to our family and makes each day filled with laughter!”

 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 taste like a Girl Scout Thin Mint cookie. It would have layers of mint, chocolate, and cookie! I would name it the ‘Hope Bar’ because something as simple as a candy bar can bring people hope and make them feel better about their day.”

 5.   Share a favorite volunteer experience or story:

 “My favorite volunteer story was when I spent time with a patient and within my short period of knowing them, they were calling me their best friend and were so sad when it was time for me to leave. We played for hours in the playroom and I wheeled them down the halls in a toy car. We talked about their friends and all the activities that they were involved in. It was a memorable experience for me because before I left, the patient looked at me and said, “Because of you, I’m not scared to be in the hospital anymore.” That is a memory that I will treasure forever.”

Thank you, Rachel, for providing the extra time and care that our patients deserve!

Red-Vested Rockstar: Rui Raposo

Friday, December 20th, 2013

 

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

Meet Rui!

 1.   Why he ROCKS?!

 “I got involved at Children`s because I hope to become a pediatric nurse. Volunteering is the best way to gain experience, and give back to the community. I am originally from South Africa and been living in the U.S. for 3 years. I currently speak four languages and hope to learn more.”

 2.   Favorite thing to do outside of volunteering?

 “When I am not at college, I travel as much as possible! I am looking forward to going to South Africa in June.” 

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

 “I have a moody tabby cat that I adore. Salta is seven years old, and is obsessed with sleeping.”

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

 “It would need to have the following layers:
A crunchy almond base, layers and layers of shredded coconuts, one layer of caramel, one layer of Peanut butter and finally,
COVERED IN CHOCOLATE…pure bliss! I would call it; ‘Eat this’!”

 5.   Share a favorite volunteer experience or story:

 “When volunteering, I frequently speak Spanish with patients and families. Recently I had a play date with a patient who only spoke Spanish. Being a child in a hospital is overwhelming, not having anyone to speak your native language is beyond frightening to say the least! We spent the afternoon coloring, and playing with play-Doh. Having some sort of familiarity to someone, even if I was stranger, brought some security that she was understood. Understanding a non-English speaker in a language they understand makes healthcare universal and satisfying.”

Thank you, Rui, for being a part of the Children’s team. Your enthusiasm, talents, and ability to connect with our patients and families are invaluable!

 

Red-Vested Rockstar: Emily Machi-Conigliaro

Friday, November 8th, 2013

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

Meet Emily!

1.   Why she ROCKS?!

 Emily has been volunteering at Children’s on the inpatient units (most recently, the Infant Care Center) since January 2013! She brings enthusiasm to her shift each week, and has a clear passion for helping provide comfort to our patients!  Why has she chosen to give her time to Children’s?  “When my niece was just over one year old, she became critically ill and spent about two months at Children’s Hospital.  I was so amazed by all the good work that happened there that I wanted to give back.”

2.   Favorite thing to do outside of volunteering?

“I love to spend time outside with my family.  We frequently ride bikes, have picnics, and visit playgrounds. I also love to cook and bake.”

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

“I have two kids of my own: Avery (5 years old) and Ian (2 years old).  They keep me busy all day long as a stay-at-home mom. I also have a dog named Linus and a husband, Paul.”

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

“I don’t think I could make a candy bar more perfect than the ‘Take 5.’  It is my favorite and has all my favorite things in a candy bar!”

5.   Share a favorite volunteer experience or story:

“My favorite part of volunteering is snuggling with babies.  They are so much calmer and happier when someone can hold them.”

 Thank you, Emily, for your support of Children’s and the patients that we serve!