Gayle Off, Pediatric ICU volunteer, has been a volunteer at Nicklaus Children's Hospital, formerly Miami Children's Hospital, since September. Here is what she had to say about her time at the hospital: “Volunteering at Nicklaus Children's Hospital, formerly Miami Children's Hospital, has changed
my life. To have the privilege to spend three hours a week with these innocent precious children is - to say the least - a blessing, and the highlight of my week. When I walk into the unit, I shut out whatever thoughts I might have and transform into the person that makes a difference in patient’s lives. My daughter is also a volunteer and
influenced me in making this commitment to NCH. My mother set the example while she was alive by teaching
me that it is better to give than to receive. My volunteering experience has brought that simple saying to life. I pray every day that when the time comes when I no longer need to rely on my paid profession, that NCH will allow me to give my 40 hours a week to the most worthwhile cause I can think of - the future and well being of our children.”
So far, my experience at NCH has been absolutely wonderful. I volunteer in the same day surgery unit and I help out by getting the rooms ready for patients, cleaning up the toys, transporting patients from post-op to the parking garage, walking parents to the waiting room, and my favorite responsibility - playing with the children before their surgeries. Working in the same day surgery unit has been an extremely rewarding experience. There is nothing better than smiling children, I have been told by several of the staff members that I seem to have a special talent when it comes to making crying kids happy. This alone has made my experience at NCH a rewarding one.
Jorge Ramos & Allison Lewis
The Community and Volunteer Resource Department (CVR), in conjunction with the Emergency Department, have arranged for 16 volunteers to assist the ER seven days a week. Under the supervision of the department managers and charge relief nurses, volunteers help to occupy patients by playing board games with them, doing arts and crafts activities and coloring. They also help staff members by running errands, refilling supplies, taking patients to their rooms, and maintaining the bulletin boards. “Visiting with the children is fun, it makes the time go by faster for them, and the staff is very helpful and nice,” said Allison Lewis, ER volunteer. Jorge Ramos, another volunteer, says he keeps children busy in their rooms while they wait for the doctor. “The staff is grateful for my help and they treat me with much respect,” he said.
“The volunteers have made a great difference in patient flow, and do a great job in distracting and entertaining the children,” said Susan Churchill, Manager. CVR is pleased to be able to provide volunteer assistance to the Emergency Department and is fortunate to have such a wonderful group of volunteers wanting to help.
Volunteer Cristina Milian has been at NCH for nearly three years. She attends Florida International University (FIU) and will major in nursing. Being assigned to the 3NE nurses’ station has reinforced her conviction that this is the career she has been looking for. Cristina originally had planned on being a physician, but after working with the nurses, she knew that nursing was the right profession for her to follow.
Cristina is active in several sororities at FIU, and will graduate in 2008. She finds volunteering very satisfactory, and feels both parents and staff are grateful and appreciate her assistance. Cristina loves seeing a child smile, and is happy to know she is responsible for making this happen.
The staff on 3NE stated that Cristina is always smiling, is a hard worker, and they feel very fortunate to have her on their unit. We know how dependable and reliable Cristina is, as she has nearly 400 hours of volunteer service. We can always count on her willingness to come in and give us extra hours, and we are extremely pleased Cristina Milian is part of our NCH team.
Luba Kinal, who is originally from Venezuela, volunteers in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. She has been a volunteer for six months, with over 100 volunteer hours to her credit. She is very enthusiastic and outgoing, likes talking to people, and enjoys helping others.
This is what brought her to Nicklaus Children's Hospital, formerly Miami Children's Hospital. A student at Florida International University, Luba is majoring
in health science with a minor in biology. She is focusi ng on a career in medicine, possibly as a physicians’ assistant, nurse practitioner or possibly a doctor, in the neonatal field. Luba loves the learning environment at NCH, and looks forward to visiting the patients, and being supportive to the families and staff. “Patient interaction is great, and the staff is very appreciative of what I do,” comments Luba. Working with the patients in PICU
and visiting babies in the NICU is very rewarding, and Luba looks forward to spending her time weekly at NCH.
In addition to going to school full time, Luba loves dancing and working out. She also works part time in the gym at Tropical Park, but will manage her time so she can continue to participate in our volunteer program. We are extremely pleased to have Luba as part of our team at NCH.
Although Carolina Troche has only been a volunteer since June of this year, she is already very comfortable and committed to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Carolina attends Florida International University and is focusing on a career path as a neonatologist. Volunteering in the NICU is like a dream come true for her. “It is a wonderful learning experience and the nurses are so helpful and willing to explain everything to me,” comments Carolina. The first time Carolina ever fed a tiny baby she was left with a sense of awe, which only reinforced her desire to be a doctor. This past summer Carolina was coming in at least twice a week to visit and help the babies.
In addition to volunteering in the NICU, when several departments needed extra help, Carolina was more than willing to help. We can always count on her, and look forward to seeing her every week. We admire Carolina’s enthusiasm and excitement when she is at NCH and we hope to have her volunteer with us until she goes away to medical school. We are very grateful she is participating in our volunteer program!
Francesca Darques attends the University of Miami. Being very active with volunteer work in high school, Francesca wanted to continue when she began attending UM. In addition to volunteering with campus related activities, Francesca visits the children in the Cardiac Unit on a weekly basis.
As a pre-med student, Francesca is not quite sure where her career path will lead her, but for the time being she loves spending time with the children. “I feel good holding babies, because when I put them down, they cry, so I feel needed.” Francesca also finds the staff very supportive, as do the parents. Volunteering makes Francesca feel good, because of all the smiles she gets and the satisfaction she receives from being here.
Studying takes up most of Francesca’s time, so relaxing with friends and family is how she spends her leisure hours. She hopes to continue to volunteer until she leaves for medical school, and we are appreciative of her time with us.
Friday mornings find volunteer Ellen Roth showering affection and attention on the babies in the NICU. Ellen loves babies and knew that volunteering at Nicklaus Children's Hospital, formerly Miami Children's Hospital, in our NICU would be fulfilling and give her a great deal of satisfaction. And it has! Ellen is always happy and upbeat, and very compassionate towards the babies she visits.
Raised in Miami, Ellen has a musical education degree from Boston University. She taught school, locally, at Milam Elementary. When parenthood set in, Ellen devoted her time to raising three sons. In 1987, Ellen became South Florida Regional Director for Senator Bob Graham, and spent 17 years in public service.
Very much an advocate of volunteering, Ellen also participates in various local volunteer organizations. In addition, she loves to travel and spend time with her grandchildren. At Nicklaus Children's Hospital, formerly Miami Children's Hospital, Ellen comments on how busy the NICU nurses are, and how caring they are. She feels very proud to be part of the NICU team, and looks forward to her weekly visits to the unit.
Born in Shangai, volunteer Yujuan Zhang, came to Miami in 2004 to join her husband, a teacher at FIU. Yujuan found out about NCH through the internet and made the decision to become a volunteer. Every Friday, Yujuan
reports to the Nursing Station on 2East, where she helps the nurses with various tasks, and also visits children who are alone and would like some company, In Shanghai, Yujan was a pediatrician, and she is presently studying for her tests to get her license here. Meanwhile, she devotes her time to volunteering. Yujuan derives much satisfaction from the appreciation she receives from both the staff and the parents. She enjoys making others happy, and finds her volunteer work makes her feel very valuable. Yujuan loves Miami and finds our life style very comfortable, Although spending most weekends focused on studying, Yujuan likes to shop and make an occasional weekend trip to Key West.
We love seeing Yujuan on Fridays, and look forward to her cheerful smile and enthusiasm for volunteering.
For the past 18 months, teen Monserrate Montalvan has been volunteering at the 3East Nurses Station. Attending Coral Gables High School, Monserrate loves math and journalism, and is involved in several extracurricular activities: the French Honor Society, Best Buddies, track and serves as both writer and photographer for the school yearbook.
After her older sister told her what a good experience she had as a volunteer, Monserrate applied to join our program. Her volunteer experience has been very rewarding, and Monserrate finds the staff very friendly. She enjoys her visits with patients and finds interaction with the families very satisfying.
In her spare time, Monserrate enjoys ice skating, hanging out with friends, and dancing...especially Salsa. As a career, Monserrate will focus on medicine, specifically pediatrics. In the meantime, she will continue to volunteer, while making the decision which Florida college she would like to attend. Monserrate is an excellent teen role model, organizing her time between school and volunteering, and we are happy she is spending some of her time at NCH.
NCH is fortunate to have Maria Vieitez both as an employee and as a volunteer. Maria works in Behavorial Medicine, but is also an NCH volunteer. At the request of staff or parents, Maria volunteers her time to trim the hair of patients on 3North. Maria does this with much compassion, and is very grateful to be able to help the patients and interact with the parents.
Born in Cuba, Maria moved to California where she worked in the banking industry, and then moved to Miami ten years ago. She has two children, and was very active in the schools her children attended, volunteering wherever and whenever needed. When Maria began working at NCH, she wanted to help in the hospital as a volunteer, and quickly filled our need for a licensed volunteer haircutter.
In her leisure time, Maria likes dancing, movies, the beach, spending time with her family, and traveling, especially to Marco Island. Maria is very upbeat, always smiling, and with her positive attitude, we are delighted to have her in our Volunteer Program.