It’s National Volunteer Week, an opportunity to recognize the dedicated volunteers who give their time in support of patients, families and staff across Sinai Health System. Below, meet just a few of the friendly faces you can find at Bridgepoint Active Healthcare, Mount Sinai Hospital and Circle of Care.
Liz -Volunteer at the Marvelle Koffler Breast Centre at Mount Sinai Hospital
Volunteer since: 1999
How Liz got involved: Liz’s mother was a long-time volunteer at Mount Sinai Hospital and Liz decided to follow in her footsteps. She’s been giving her time at the Marvelle Koffler Breast Centre for 18 years.
In her own words: “A lot of women come here anxious. They’re upset, they’re waiting for test results. I like to offer a little word of comfort or a smile so that maybe their pain is eased a little for that moment. We never know when we might be in the same place ourselves.”
Teresa -Circle of Care In-home hospice volunteer
Volunteer for: 1.5 yrs
How Teresa got involved: “Assisting in some way to relieve the burden of caregivers was appealing to me, so I volunteered to be able to help in that regard.”
In her own words: “While the clients I see are palliative, and are nearing the end of their lives, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t still living. It is an honour to be able to spend time with people during the last portion of their lives, by just being with them. It’s important to respect individuals’ lives, and to recognize that part of being in a community means investing in the experiences of those around us – that is why I find hospice volunteering important and rewarding.”
Miranda -Bridgepoint information desk volunteer
Volunteer since: April 2016
How Miranda got involved: Miranda is a former staff member who now volunteers during her retirement.
In her own words: “I consider Bridgepoint my “second home”, coming back to volunteer is like returning home again. I greet visitors with my best smile, and hope to help alleviate the stress they might have when entering a hospital.”
Pauline -Circle of Care volunteer at Day Centre for Seniors with Alzheimer’s and Dementia
Volunteer for: 4 years
How Pauline got involved: “Working with seniors has always interested me and in this environment I find my efforts are accomplishing something and I do make a difference.”
In her own words: “Volunteering allows me to feel needed, share a skill, keep busy and feel challenged. As a volunteer you have to find your ‘happy place’ and find what area speaks to you. Then like me, you look forward to your volunteer day. My expertise is doing manicures – the ladies love to have their nails done –otherwise, I participate in the games, sing-a-longs or just by being a silent companion.”
Donna -Bridgepoint information desk and Therapeutic Recreation program volunteer who also helps out with occasional tasks like selling staff metropasses
Volunteer since: 2011
How Donna got involved: Donna was an inpatient at Bridgepoint after she had surgery and had a positive experience with staff and volunteers here during her rehabilitation. She decided to volunteer after she retired.
In her own words: “Greeting and helping people is a natural role for me. I like people in general and I meet so many great people here. I get to know a lot of staff and talk to patients and families. I like being able to help people find their way when they first arrive. I think volunteering is important and I’m happy to be able to give back.”
Noteworthy (Shawn, Hannah and Rosalinda) –University of Toronto Medical Students who volunteer to play music at our patients’ bedsides Tuesday evenings at Mount Sinai
Years of service: Only 6 months in, this group is already making a positive impact.
How they got involved: Hannah, Shawn and Rosalinda joined forces with their classmates as a way to give back and get an introduction to what it is like to work in a hospital environment.
In their own words:
Shawn: “Every time I come in, I am mesmerized – by the patients and by my talented classmates. My favourite moment was when we sang for a patient who is a professional jazz musician!”
Hannah: “Noteworthy allows students to use their musical talents to brighten patients’ days, and enables volunteers to form connections with patients, using music as a method of healing. I was inspired to initiate this at Mount Sinai Hospital after seeing a similar program in Israel.”
Rosalinda: “In medical school, we learn to put ourselves in our patients’ shoes. This is easily achieved with music, because it is such a unifying experience between people.”