Celebrating the contributions of our amazing volunteers.
National Volunteer Week is the perfect opportunity to thank and highlight the many volunteers who give of themselves to enhance our patients’ hospital experience. Volunteers are an important part of the Bethany Children’s team, providing companionship, playing games, offering encouragement, and aiding our staff.
Karen Dodd began volunteering at Bethany Children’s in 2017 after she retired. Her volunteer position is in our “Koala Care” program, which focuses on the tiniest of patients who receive positive touches while being held or rocked. Karen says, “Koala Care allows the staff to attend to the medical needs of the patients, knowing the babies are being comforted and pacified by the volunteers.”
Karen loves contributing to the love and care of patients and having a positive impact during her visits. “If I can start with a fussing or unhappy baby and end up with a calm and possibly sleeping baby, I know that I’ve made a difference,” she shares.
Karen has benefited from volunteering as she transitioned from her working life to retirement. “Volunteering at Bethany Children’s has been a great reminder that we have multiple strengths, many of which go untapped until we let go of other things,” she explains. “I personally feel that we are called to serve each other, and by doing that we are also serving God.”
Volunteer patient companion, Russell Benson, checks in on both Complex Care and Rehabilitation patients during his shifts. He plays games, reads or simply spends time with patients. “I can see in their eyes or on their faces that they know I’m there,” he says. “Sometimes just a smile and holding their hand is enough.”
Russell enjoys getting to know patients and watching them progress toward their goals. “The feeling is absolutely indescribable,” he says, “I don’t leave at the end of my shift feeling sorry for anyone. I leave knowing these kids are in the best hands possible and are being loved on by everyone.”
His experience with patients has proved inspirational and changed his outlook on life. “I don’t ever stress about life anymore, because these kids go through more challenges in a day than most of us will go through in a lifetime,” he says.
The Adaptive Recreation and Fine Arts Center at Bethany Children’s provides countless opportunities for volunteers to interact with children through reading, crafts, playing games and being active. Volunteer Kristy Finley shares, “I’ve played cards and board games, read books with some spunky and spirited little ones, experienced the sensory room with sweet patients, and giggled, laughed and played with babies in the dance studio.”
Volunteering has given Kristy a sense of gratitude. “I have been able to spend time with children whose families haven’t visited yet that day. I feel grateful, and feel such joy when I think about the smiles I was a part of that day.”
Calling volunteering the best part of her day, Kristy shares her experiences with her husband and son. “I hope my son can see the happiness I get from helping others and want to do the same,” she says.
Our goal at Bethany Children’s is to always let our volunteers know how much we value their time and service. Karen says, “I have never volunteered and not been thanked for coming. The entire staff at Bethany Children’s is welcoming and appreciative of the volunteers. I am glad to be a member of this team.”
Thank you to all of our volunteers for your dedication, time and love shared with our patients.