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About Our Volunteers

Child Life

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Miami Children's Hospital is blessed with many outstanding volunteers. Here you can meet a few of our dedicated Child Life volunteers.
 
 

Idequiz Valdes 
 
I started volunteering with ChildLife in 3NE in October and it has been great so far. I enjoy bringing the patients toys to play with and activities they can do to make their stay at the hospital a little more enjoyable. When the kids are alone, I also offer to play a board game with them and this has been lots of fun as well. I love seeing the smile on the faces of patients who have been in the hospital for a while now and recognize me when they see me.
 
Renee Jadusingh-Sabillon is the Child Life specialist I work with and she is amazing! She has such a fun and cheerful personality which makes every patient smile.
 
I am a dietetics student and really interested in pediatric nutrition. So far, this has been a great experience with patients and has further increased my desire to specialize in pediatric nutrition.
 
Lauren Cuenant

Lauren CuenantHaving been a volunteer at Miami Children’s Hospital for well over four years now, I can comfortably say that I have done just about everything. Distracted a frightened patient from their g-tube? Been there. Drawn silly portraits to entertain a lonely child? Weekly. Fed a very vocal baby, and thus spared the busy nurses’ eardrums? Many times. I have yet to grow tired of working with the staff of Miami Children’s Hospital. I feel that people appreciate me; not just the patients, but their families, nurses, doctors, and so on. I keep coming back because I feel good about my work and even better about how it’s received. My shift begins with a quick visit to Regine Duret, an endearing child life specialist. Afterwards, I am sent off with information specific to the needs of particular patients, along with general department needs in the hospital’s CICU. Being a volunteer does not just mean patient contact. Frequently, I help the hospital staff. Whether it’s organizing the playroom in 2 NE, changing the batteries of baby mobiles, or delivering a blood sample, I am assigned wherever help is needed. By the end of my shift, I am happy to have helped, and sad to be leaving. Are you surprised? Don’t be. Working at Miami Children’s Hospital is like living on a springing rubber band; you can’t help but come back. So look out for me next week and the week after that. If you are a nurse, let me run that extra errand for you. If you are a parent, don’t hesitate to ask me for that break you’ve been denying yourself. And if you are a patient, let me remind you what it is like to be kid again. 

 
Tabitha Nazario
 
Teen volunteer Tabitha Nazario has been in our program since September, and volunteers in our Child Care Center. Tabitha moved to Miami from New York City and attends Miami Christian School. She wanted to volunteer because of a school requirement, but thought volunteering in a hospital would be a good experience. Hoping to be a pediatrician, Tabitha is enjoying her volunteer work and the hospital environment. She finds the staff very friendly, and loves being with the children.

In school, Tabitha’s favorite subjects are history and English, and she is very active in sports, playing seasonal soccer and baseball, and is also involved in chorus, and the Student News Club. Every week, Tabitha updates the Bulletin Board, giving advice, and keeping everyone at Miami Christian aware of current events.

Tabitha is fun loving, easy to talk to, happy and outgoing. She feels she is also very trustworthy. We know she is reliable, and she has been able to keep her weekly schedule, despite being so busy with school. Our department and Child Care look forward to having her volunteer.
 

 
Eric Gelman
 
Eric Gelman is a University of Miami college student who volunteers on 3 South under the supervision of Child Life. Eric moved here from New Jersey three years ago, and plans on a career as a plastic surgeon. He is a very bright and personable young man.

Hearing about Miami Children’s Hospital through his roommate, Eric became interested in the hospital and our volunteer program. He began volunteering on 3 South, and is having a gratifying experience. “The children are awesome and always happy to see me. They don’t want me to leave, and that makes me feel good,” comments Eric.

Shannon Monnig, Child Life Specialist, states, “Eric can make the children smile with his outgoing personality. He works hard on 3 South and is always willing to assist the other Child Life Specialists if needed.”
 

 
Patricia Anglade
 
 Patricia Anglade is a teen volunteer in our Child Care Center. Patricia has wanted to volunteer for a long time, and was focused on child care, where she spent time when she was younger. This young lady is warm and friendly, and always has a smile on her face -- the perfect volunteer for Child Care! Patricia is a freshman at South Miami High School, enrolled in the School of the Arts for Dance. She takes modern dance, ballet and jazz, and practices dancing every day. Biology is her favorite subject and she aspires to be doctor, and hopefully will attend either Florida State or University of Central Florida.

Patricia finds the children fun to work and interact with, and says, “Everyone at child care is super nice.” When she was being taken care of in child care, she would see the volunteers and knew that she wanted to become one when
she was old enough. Her mother, Manuella Anglade, Project Adm. for the CMS Clinic, is very pleased that Patricia is getting the wonderful experience of volunteering, and at the same time, giving back to the community.

In her leisure time, Patricia enjoys traveling with her family, exercising, hanging out with friends, and of course, dancing! We are very happy Patricia is able to spend time with us every week.
 

 
Maria Elena Sosa
 
Maria Elena Sosa has been volunteering at Miami Children’s Hospital since the beginning of this year. Twice a week, Maria Elena helps Child Life on CICU, by visiting with the children and families. Originally from Venezuela, she arrived in Miami five years ago upon relocating from Boston. Maria Elena attended college in Boston and raised two children. Her background is working with disadvantaged and underprivileged children with learning problems.

The hospital’s volunteer program came to Maria Elena’s attention through an article in The Miami Herald. Knowing how satisfying it is to work with children, Maria Elena inquired about our program. She loves being with the children and spending time with the parents. “The staff on the CICU are very nice to work with, and they are always so busy, I am glad I can help out,” states Maria Elena.

Traveling and exercising are favorite activities for Maria Elena, as are taking classes in French. She plans on continuing to volunteer at MCH and we continue to be grateful for her time.
 

 
Vania Piedra
 
Vania Piedra has been a volunteer in Child Care since 2004 and has accumulated nearly 600 hours of service. Born in Cuba, Vania moved to New York and then to Florida. She had a very successful career in the banking industry, and upon retiring, felt the need to volunteer.

Because of her love of children, and wanting to give something back to the community, Vania chose to volunteer at MCH. She is very happy at the Child Care Center, because she likes helping and interacting with the children, and is delighted when they run to her when they see her. Vania enjoys working with the staff, and also states she gets very positive feedback from the parents when they see her working with the children. She has been a very
dedicated and dependable volunteer and  always leaves MCH with a positive feeling. "I wouldn't want to be anywhere else," comments Vania.

In her "off time," Vania enjoys being with friends and family, as well as traveling and shopping. We are grateful for the time Vania spends with the children, and look forward to seeing her every week.
 

 
Serigo Delgado
 
The Playroom has been fortunate in having Sergio Delgado as a volunteer for the past two years. Sergio was born in Nicaragua and is taking graduate classes. He intends to apply for medical school, and is thinking of a career as an emergency department pediatrician. Sergio has a family background in medicine, with his father being a doctor, and his mother a nurse.

Sergio's love of children is very evident in his interaction with our patients in the Playroom. Wanting to give something back to the community, Sergio knew volunteering at MCH would be a good match. He enjoys visiting with both the children and their parents.

The Child Life staff has commented on what a great communicator Sergio is: "Sergio is really awesome, he inspires and encourages the children to play, and is good at giving them distractions," states Tatiana Reyes, Child Life Assistant.

Between studying and volunteering, Sergio includes sports in his leisure time. He is a fan of most sports, both as a player and an observer. We are grateful he has the Friday Playroom on his weekly schedule and look forward to him continuing to volunteer.
 

 
Elmira Rackowe
 
Elmira Rackowe has been a volunteer since 2001. She comes to MCH with a background in hospital volunteering. Born in Peru, Mira has raised three children in Miami, and wanted to continue to share her love of children by volunteering with us, Mira enjoys her work in the Playroom. "I learn a lesson each week by being with the
children," she comments. She finds the children strong, spirited, and resilient When Mira rounds up the children for the Playroom, she spends time with the parents and states they have a very positive reaction to her and the volunteers in general.

When not volunteering, Mira is involved in family, church, playing cards, and knitting. A very interesting facet in her life, also, is traveling with her husband, a business consultant, who volunteers his time helping organizations in underdeveloped countries. This has led to many interesting trips each year, where Mira has experienced various cultures and life styles. Most recently she has traveled to Vietnam and Sri Lanka. Even with such a busy life, Mira is committed to volunteering at MCH indefinitely, and we are happy to see her every week.

 
Christy Wheeler
 
Approximately 18 months ago, volunteer Christy Wheeler moved to Miami from Baton Rouge. Looking for new business and life opportunities, Christy wanted to stay in the South and move somewhere that it was hot and humid. Miami was the perfect place. "Living in Miami, I am able to experience different cultures, and am free to be myself," comments Christy, A massage therapist, by profession, Christy wanted to work and spend time with children. She chose Miami Children's Hospital after seeing a colorful billboard about the hospital. As a volunteer, Christy assists Child Life on the Cardiac Unit. She loves to make her weekly visits and finds volunteering an excellent way to rejuvenate herself, as well as bring some happiness to the patients and families. The "staff is
fabulous to work with" and "I feel very needed and welcome," when volunteering, states Christy. Christy also participates in the monthly Reading is Fundamental Program.

An animal lover, Christie shares her home with a cockatiel, two bunnies and 14 fish. Her favorite activity, aside from reading, is volunteering, and we are elated she has chosen our program at MCH.
 

 
Vy Nugo
 
As a high school student, Vy Ngo came to Miami Children's Hospital to do her community service hours for graduation. Six years later, and a pre-med student at the University of Miami (UM), we are happy to say that Vy is still in our volunteer program.

At age 14, Vy was interested in becoming a pediatrician. Now, her interest is focused between biomedical engineering or becoming a physician. In high school, Vy designed and helped build robots, and participated in “Battle Box” competitions. This sparked her interested in the field of biomedical engineering, and consequently she has been volunteering in our Clinical Engineering Department.

Vy also volunteers through the Child Life Department on 2 East. Her past volunteer experiences have been in: After Hours, Child Care Center,Pharmacy and 3 South. Volunteering at MCH has given Vy the experience she is seeking to help make career choices. She finds the staff welcoming and pleasant to work with, and feels she is appreciated. When not studying or volunteering, Vy enjoys being with friends and relaxing at the beach. We have Vy's promise to continue to volunteer until she graduates from UM. We plan on holding her to that promise!
  

 
Barbara (Bobbye) Shrearer
 
Every Friday, Barbara (Bobbye) Shearer gives her time as a volunteer in the PICU, under the supervision of Child Life. Born in North Carolina and raised in Tennessee, Bobbye moved to Miami 26 years ago. Bobbye has spent most of her life with children. Presently, she is Director of Admissions for Gulliver Academy, and previously was employed by the Dade County School System.

Bobbye wanted to volunteer because she has always felt a passion and sensitivity towards children. She sees how busy the nurses are, and how much responsibility they have. By volunteering, Bobbye feels she is accomplishing something by making the life of a child or parent a little easier. She will stay with a child who is alone or having a difficult time, or with a parent who may need someone to talk to. “There is never a time that I walk out of the hospital after my shift, that I do not feel gratified that I may have made someone’s day a little easier. I look forward each week to my day at the hospital.”

In addition to working, volunteering and taking care of her family, Bobbye enjoys traveling, taking cruises and reading. We are very fortunate to have Bobbye Shearer as part of our team at MCH.
 

 
Virginia Detzner
 
Virginia Detzner has been a Playroom volunteer since December 2003, and looks forward to volunteering every week at MCH. Raised in Chicago, Virginia has been in Miami since 1969, graduating from the University of Miami with a degree in sociology. After college, Virginia went on to earn a music therapy and teaching certificate, and
taught in the Dade County Public School system, where she worked with autistic and academically delayed students.

After retiring, Virginia chose to volunteer at Miami Children's Hospital. Many years before, Virginia volunteered in the Playroom when the hospital was still called Variety Children's Hospital. She likes working with our staff, and loves the children, gaining satisfaction from knowing she has helped put a smile on the face of a child who is not feeling well.

In her leisure time, Virginia is studying French and South Florida folk studies. She also likes the outdoors and loves to travel, with East and South Africa being among her favorite places to visit. We are very grateful for the time that Virginia is able to spend with us, and we look forward to seeing her every week.
  

 
Olivia Ford

The Community and Volunteer Resource Department (CVR) is pleased to provide volunteer support to departments throughout the hospital.  Currently, 22 volunteers have been placed in the Child Care Center.  This group consists of teens, college students, retirees, and professionals who enjoy their time with the children. They happily assist the staff by getting children ready for naptime, cleaning up the play area and keeping the children and babies occupied through play, buggy rides and bubble activities. "The volunteers come in every day, energetic and ready to play. They are all very responsible and great helpers for all our staff and teachers," said Aleyda Sosa, Director. The Child Care staff has made all the volunteers feel very welcome and appreciated.  Olivia Ford was self-motivated to become a volunteer. "I do not see it as volunteering, because I have so much fun doing it.  I chose Miami Children's Hospital because I love children," she said.  Olivia is an Executive Assistant Manager at a Walgreens Drug Store and a board certified pharmacy technician. In her leisure time, Olivia enjoys going to the beach, bowling, and spending time at the library. CVR is delighted that Olivia is having such a wonderful child care experience and look forward to having her as part of the MCH team on a weekly basis.