Archive for the ‘Volunteer Profiles’ Category

Red-Vested Rockstar: Aurora Sontoya

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015


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

Meet Aurora!

1.   Why she ROCKS?!

 “I started volunteering because I love working with children; they are so much fun! Whether it’s talking about their interests or doing art projects together, there is never a dull moment. I am currently a toddler teacher and just finished my Bachelors degree in early childhood studies. I look forward to pursuing a career in the child life field!” 

 2.   Favorite thing to do outside of volunteering?

 “My favorite thing to do outside of volunteering would be hanging out with my family! We like to do everything from visiting museums to outdoor music festivals in the summer time. We are always on the go! I have also been a Mexican Folkloric dancer since I was six years old, my team travels all around Minnesota doing various performances!” 

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

 “I do! I have a 4-year-old son named Elijah. He loves drawing and skateboarding and of course…ice cream! He is my best buddy :)

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

 “My favorite candy bar, without a doubt, would need to have tons of peanut butter and be covered in chocolate… I would add sprinkles on top of it as well. It would be called ‘the P.B. sprinkle bar!’ and would be wrapped in shiny pink paper.”

 5.   Share a favorite volunteer experience or story:

 “I don’t have one specific favorite volunteer story; each day I volunteer is such a fun and new experience. I absolutely love sitting down and doing art and crafts with children. I learn so much about them and from them. Kids have a unique way of expressing themselves through art and I love to watch the process and outcome! I would have to say the best feeling ever is walking into a room and seeing the child light up because they recognize our red vests and know we are there to bring them toys, games, or just be a friend to hang out with. Volunteering at Children’s has been the most rewarding experience I have ever been a part of!” 

Thank you, Aurora, for spreading your creative spirit to the patients we serve!

Red-Vested Rockstar: Farhia Osman

Friday, January 9th, 2015

Red-Vested Rockstar- Meet Farhia!

1.   Why she ROCKS?! 

“I’ve wanted to become a pediatrician since I was eight years old, so I thought helping out at Children’s would be a great way to solidify my career interests and gain experience in the field. I love to volunteer and help others as much as I can; I am super friendly and love to smile, so whenever you see me, please say ‘hi’!”

2.   Favorite thing to do outside of volunteering?

“I really love to read. Over the summer, I usually spend my time reading books. It is a fun way to pass time and helps me experience things I have never done, just by reading a character’s story.”

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

 “No pets or kids, but I do have four younger siblings. Also, I used to have a pet kitten named Minnie.”

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

“If I could make a candy bar it would contain peanuts, caramel, marshmallows, cashews, and walnuts, all encased in dark chocolate. I would call it ‘Caramel-Nut Delight’.”

5.   Share a favorite volunteer experience or story:

“I once played the game ‘Life’ for three hours straight! It was super fun; we even made up our own version of the game to keep it interesting.”

 You brighten the days of our patients when you are here, Farhia! Thank you!

Choosing Children’s: Laurie Schmitz

Friday, December 19th, 2014



Laurie’s Journey to Volunteering at Children’s:

 “After retiring from Children’s-St. Paul 3 years ago, I am back volunteering in the Emergency Department (ED) as a greeter/guide.  This role gives me a lot of rewards:  smiles, hugs, and many sincere ‘thank-yous’ from staff, parents and families.  At Children’s retiree celebration, Volunteer Services invited interested retirees to join Children’s volunteer team. After several awesome shifts in the ED, I found the perfect match for me. 

Greeting people is only a small part of my role.  I walk around, making families feel that someone cares, and try to stop problems before they start.  Seeing someone do this makes patients & families feel as though they are not forgotten.  I also give directions and answer general questions so that the nurses can use their time for patient assessments. Some days, a lot of people need help with directions to clinics and/or United Hospital.

Besides volunteering at Children’s, I am a student (again!) at the U of M.  In spring 2015, I will be a Ph.D. candidate in the English department:  I am so excited! The cost of my class in minimal, as MN has a law in the books that helps senior citizens attend classes. At the U of M, if one audits a class, there is no charge: if a class is taken for a grade, the cost is $10 per credit.  (Of course, books and lab supplies are extra.) This is a great opportunity for adults over 62 years of age to attend classes and get a degree, or just enjoy subjects that they are interested in.

I thought that retirement would be dull and boring.  Instead, I find that coming to Children’s keeps me young and springy.  This holiday season, I wish everyone the joy, happiness and fun that I have!”

Thank you, Laurie! Your support in the ED is so helpful to patients, families and staff!


Volunteer Services Welcomes Melissa Moffitt!

Friday, December 5th, 2014


Volunteer Services is excited to welcome our newest Child Life Liaison: Melissa Moffitt!

 What better way to get to know Melissa than have her answer some fun questions:


What excites you most about working at Children’s?

“I love coming to work at a place where everyone is so passionate about helping children and their families! Being a part of an organization that is built by a community of people working together to benefit our patients and their families is incredible and I see that play out every single day here at Children’s – it is truly inspiring!”

Favorite thing to do outside of work?

“ I love to be outside! When it’s warm out, I like being at the lake, boating, camping, and hiking and in the winter I like snowshoeing, ice skating, and skiing!”

Something unique or interesting about you?

“Over the past few years I have really gotten into hot yoga and go several times a week. It’s good exercise and it’s great for the mind – the warmth in the winter is amazing, too!”

Favorite Superhero?

“ I always think of the Incredibles family when I think of superheroes – Mr. Incredible, Elastigirl, Dash, Violet (my favorite!), and Jack-Jack! Such a fun movie and great superheroes abound! “

Do you have any pets?

“I do! I have a 7 year old dog named Lincoln (he’s the cutie in my picture!) who I adopted when I was in undergrad. We aren’t sure of his breed, but he has the best temperament and loves people!”

What word comes to mind when you think of a volunteer?

“AMAZING! Really, I feel super lucky to be working so closely with all of the wonderful volunteers here at Children’s – they truly make a huge difference in the lives of the patients and families treated here.”

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

“My favorite candy bar ingredients are chocolate, caramel, ice cream, and cookies – so I would put those ingredients all together to create the Creamy Caramel Bliss Bar!”


Melissa, we are thrilled to have you join our team! Thank you for all the support you provide to patients, families, volunteers and staff!


Red Vested Rockstar: Claire Vandrovec

Friday, October 31st, 2014

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

Meet Claire- Volunteer Services Intern!

1.   Why she ROCKS?!

Claire is a senior at the University of Minnesota. She will be graduating in December with a Bachelor of Science in Child Psychology. “I am the Minneapolis Campus’ volunteer department intern till the 18th of December! I decided on taking a closer look into Volunteer Management because of my experience with volunteering, and I wanted to learn what the job is all about. Working with the Volunteer Department at Children’s Hospital especially perked my interest because I have a great passion for kids of all ages, I have always been interested in pediatrics, and I love volunteering! I am also a volunteer at a non-profit called the Greater Minneapolis Crisis Nursery. I have been there for about two years and it has positively affected my life in many ways!”

2.   Favorite thing to do outside of volunteering?

“I love to go on walks around the lakes in Minneapolis, especially Lake Harriet and Lake Nokomis. I also like to hang out with friends, eat burgers (my favorite food), do arts and crafts of any sorts, watch scary movies, and trying new things (food, activities, etc.). Most recently, I have been learning to frolf (frisbee-golf) which has been fun and surprisingly challenging.”

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

“I have a 6 year old Wauzer (Westie-Schnauzer mix) named Ollie, and a 10(?) year old cat named Bill. Bill was a stray, and my family took him in about 6 years ago, so we have no idea how old he really is.”

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

“I would create a candy bar with a pumpkin cheesecake filling, with an outside shell made of white chocolate. Its name would be ‘Pumpkin Goodness’.”

5.   Share a favorite volunteer experience or story:

“I have only been with Children’s for a short time, but I have already had many great experiences! One of these experiences was with a baby in the Special Care Nursery. This particular baby slept best when being held, so I got to rock him for two peaceful hours. The next day, I came back to help out with him again. He was crying when I got there, but the minute he was put into my arms, he fell asleep instantly…and I got to rock him for another two hours! Another great experience I had was in the Sibling Play Area. I got to hang out with an awesome school-age girl, and she taught me how to make a snake and ice cream cone out of beads and string. I had so much fun hanging out with her that I stayed an extra hour and a half past the end of my shift!”

You brighten the days of our patients when you are here, Claire! Thank you for your contributions to Children’s!

Red-Vested Rockstar: Chonhanh Vuvan

Friday, October 17th, 2014

Red-Vested Rockstar!

Meet Chonhanh!

1.   Why she ROCKS?!

“I got into volunteering because I absolutely love working with kids. I have always loved working with kids; from nannying my little cousins to coaching kids how to figure skate at Bielenberg Sport Center. Although I’m only 17, I want to pursue a medical career and become a nurse and later a pediatrician.”


2.   Favorite thing to do outside of volunteering?

“I figure skate almost every other day; it’s my favorite sport/hobby!  I love to travel, hang with friends and families, attend sporting events and in the spring, run track.”


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

“I’m only in high school so no kids yet! My family has a fish tank of around 50 little guppies though.”


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

“I would create a candy with caramel, marshmallow, peanuts, s’mores cracker and a chocolate coat. I’d name it Galaxy Heaven.”


5.   Share a favorite volunteer experience or story:

“There are so many fun memories! I love playing in the playroom with the patients or the patient’s siblings. The Child Life Zone is always fun, especially doing arts and crafts. Holding babies is another one of my favorite things to do!”


Thanks for volunteering, Chonhanh! Your passion for Children’s (and kids!) is evident in the work that you do!




Red-Vested Rockstar: Ally Fuher

Friday, October 3rd, 2014


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

 Meet Ally!

1.   Why she ROCKS?!

“I always knew I wanted to volunteer at  a hospital and work with children. I chose to volunteer at Children’s specifically because my sister had a ventricular septal defect when she was younger and was treated here. Ever since, my parents have talked about how evident it was that the staff really supported and cared about the whole family! I wanted to come see for myself how great of a place Children’s is!”

2.   Favorite thing to do outside of volunteering?

“Outside of volunteering, I love to spend my Saturdays at TCF Bank Stadium (Go Gophers!)”

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

“I have a 2 year old yellow Labrador named Mylo!”

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

“Since I have a weakness for chocolate, I would probably have Kit-Kats stuffed with Andes Mints,  and put it all on a stick!  Because I love the Great Minnesota Get-Together so much, I would probably name it “Kit-Kandes on a stick.”

5.   Share a favorite volunteer experience or story:

“I think the  Sibling Play Area epitomizes Children’s family-centered care. One of the best memories in the past year would have to be playing outside on the playground in Sibling Play! The kids are so creative… in one afternoon I was a mermaid who had to avoid the hot lava and jumping unicorns!  It was really fun!”

Thank you for your ability to ‘play along’ and encourage creativity! Your enthusiasm is evident in the volunteer work you do! 



Red-Vested Rockstar: Megan Johnson

Friday, September 19th, 2014

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

Meet Megan!

1.   Why she ROCKS?!

 Megan is a volunteer on our St. Paul inpatient units, and has earned over 105 volunteer hours to date! She has a contagious smile and ability to help kids focus on being… kids (not their hospital stay)!

 “I love working with children of all ages! I also plan to get into the healthcare field in the future and thought that Children’s would provide an awesome experience as well as the exposure that I desired.” 

 2.   Favorite thing to do outside of volunteering?

 “I like to spend time with family and friends. I love being outdoors, attending sporting events and traveling to warm places.” 

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

 “I do not have any children yet, or any pets at home… but I did have a pet rabbit in college named Niblet! I also love seeing the PAWH team come in at the end of my weekly volunteer shift!” 

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

 “I would create a s’mores candy bar! The bar would contain a graham cracker crust, a gooey marshmallow and chocolate filling, and graham cracker crumbles on top!”  

 5.   Share a favorite volunteer experience or story:

 “Every week there is a new experience and opportunity to help make a patient, sibling of a patient, or family member’s day at Children’s Hospital! Whether it is playing a game with a child, sitting bedside while a parent grabs a coffee, or simply finding a family a movie to watch, it is very rewarding to make their stay with us as pleasant and comfortable as possible.” 

 Thank you, Megan, for providing incredible service and care to our patients and families!

Red-Vested Rockstar: Josh Purple

Friday, August 29th, 2014

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

Meet Josh!

1.   Why he ROCKS?!

 “My volunteer work at Children’s Hospital began about 20 years ago. I got started thanks to my younger sister, who asked me to draw cartoons at the daycare center she worked at. A mom, who happened to be a nurse at Children’s, was picking up her kids at the daycare. She saw me drawing the big cartoons, and asked if I would be interested in drawing at the hospital; I thought it was a great idea! I was then introduced to Kathi Rokke (a Children’s Hospital legend!) Kathi was kind enough to give me a shot, and allowed me to draw cartoons on her ‘Porky Pork Chops Show’ at the hospital. I have been a part of Children’s ever since!”

2.   What other cool ventures have you been involved with?

 “In the past, I have worked as a ballroom dance instructor at The Dancer’s Studio in St. Paul.A dance highlight was working with the James Sewell Ballet company at the Minnesota Opera for the show Aida, performing overhead lifts with the ballerinas. I have also done fire eating and fire juggling for the Holidazzle Festival! I did commercial and film work for about 10 years, getting my SAG / AFTRA card, with a highlight being a Grease parody TV commercial with Amy Adams. I currently work as a freelance artist doing 3D graphics and animation.”

 Check out some of his incredible work: .

 3.   Favorite thing to do outside of volunteering?

 “Art! I love spending my free time doing art and animation.”

 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 a giant purple crayon, packed full of magic and fun. I’d name it, ‘The Kid’s Club House Rocks!’ It would instantly transmogrify the surrounding area to be filled with Muppets, Dr. Seuss poems & characters.”

 5.   Share a favorite volunteer experience or story:

 “A favorite volunteer experience: every Children’s Hospital cartoon show & event for the last two decades! I cannot give enough credit and thanks to EVERYONE in the Star Studio and at Children’s! Special shout out to Amy, The Dude, Ben, Seth, Tanya, Kathi, Sharon, Ingrid, Benjamin, Christi, Diane, Laura, Kendall, Sandy, and all of the volunteers. ALL of the kids and ALL of the extraordinary staff are the best of the BEST!! THANK YOU!!

      Thanks for sharing your incredible talents and infectious smile with the patients and families we serve at Children’s!

Red-Vested Rockstar: Davy Kosal

Friday, August 15th, 2014


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

Meet Davy!

1.   Why she ROCKS?!

 “I began volunteering at Children’s Hospital in high school;  it was all I looked forward to during the summer! Though only 17 at the time, I learned that small gestures can mean the most. I am (now) a Junior nursing student at the University of Minnesota and plan to pursue a BSN degree, specializing in pediatrics. I enjoy getting to know the Children’s nurses and love being around kids; I am still a child at heart!”

 2.   Favorite thing to do outside of volunteering?

 “Outside of volunteering, I enjoy spending time with my friends and family, as well as traveling and new adventures. I try to keep an active lifestyle through exercise and dance, though it conflicts with my love for food… life is about learning to sacrifice, right?”

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

 “No kids or pets… yet. My little cousins keep me going and I always enjoy their company.”

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

 “I am known as the ultimate chocolate lover! I would layer my candy bar with milk chocolate, pecan halves, coconut, and a caramel drizzle. This would be called First Love.”

 5.   Share a favorite volunteer experience or story:

 “It is difficult choosing just one experience to share, from holding babies to creating crafts and games with teens. One of my favorite days was spending time with a little girl, the brightest and happiest little girl I had met! She was developmentally delayed, so aside from my talking our communication was through gestures and smiles. Every movement excited her and every word led to laughter! These moments are so special to me, and stuck with me after my shift. The little girl taught me to love life as it is or comes, and that a smile can go a long way!”

 Thank you, Davy, for your dedicated service over the past four summers!