Nicklaus Children's Hospital, formerly Miami Children's Hospital, is blessed with many outstanding volunteers. Here you can meet a few of our dedicated Radio Lollipop volunteers.
Radio Lollipop's 15th Birthday
It was a jungle at Radio Lollipop’s 15th birthday party on August 11! Vines, monkeys, butterflies and more hung from the ceiling and covered the walls of the playroom and radio station. Children were treated to loads of entertainment at the event. Zoo Miami provided an animal show, children were able to make their own stuffed animals, American Idol finalist Brett Loewenstern greeted patients, volunteers painted smiling faces, Singer Elijah King performed, Perfect Balance Martial Arts did a wonderful demonstration, kids made their own pillows, Elmo and Cookie Monster posed for pictures, “Entourage’s” Genesis Rodriguez made an appearance, and more! Smaller celebrations were held in the 3 North Playroom, Michael Fux Family Center, patient rooms and the Weiland Department. Treats were donated by Fuddruckers, Sushi Maki, Lilly’s Cupcakes, Misha’s Cupcakes, Coca -Cola, and Vitamin Water. A special thanks to all the volunteers and staff members who helped make this event a successful one!
Supporting Radio Lollipop
On August 27 Power 96's DJ Laz hosted a comedy show called "Radio Lollipop Laz-A-Roast" at the Hard Rock Live. The proceeds from the ticket sales were to support the Radio Lollipop Program.
South Florida VW/Audi Get-together Event Supports Radio Lollipop
Last month, volunteers from Nicklaus Children's Hospital, formerly Miami Children's Hospital’s Radio Lollipop hosted a car “show-n-shine” along with the organizers of the South Florida Volkswagen/Audi Get-Together (SFL GTG). This was the SFL GTG’s 17th show-n-shine gathering, with the sole purpose of raising funds for a local charity at each annual event. The SFL GTG organizers chose Radio Lollipop as this year’s charity because of the amazing work of the volunteers in bringing smiles to children in hospitals. The South Florida Get-Together is held annually and this year nearly 330 VWs and Audis filled the field of J.C. Bermudez Park in Doral, FL. Radio Lollipop volunteers kindly greeted over 400 attendees and educated them about what Radio Lollipop does and why they should donate to the cause. As supporters eagerly filled the decorative radio box with their contribution, the SFL GTG generated $1,211.00 in donations for Radio Lollipop.
The SFL GTG and Radio Lollipop extend a special thank you to the four event sponsors: Dub Cartel, UROtuning, JustStance.com, and WeakStyles LLC; and to all of the spectators who made monetary contributions. The South Florida Get-Together was created in January 2001 by South Florida VW enthusiast Justin Miller, who was looking to organize a group of VW and Audi enthusiasts that could casually meet every couple of months.
“It’s actually strange that the best story I have had as a volunteer was actually on my first day volunteering. I remember it was on 3 East where we were doing the usual routine, entertaining patients and interacting with their families and loved ones. During our rounds, we came along to this room and met a young girl alone in her room who was in a wheelchair. My partner and I noticed that she had some classical music playing on a radio on her bed, so I took the opportunity to tell her about Radio Lollipop and about all the great things we do for the patients. Even though our levels of excitement were through the roof, there was no response from her. I encouraged my partner to continue engaging her because at least she can listen to what we are saying and feel better through the tone of our voices - so we did just that. We started sharing what some of our favorite songs, food and movies were and soon enough she was tuned into Radio Lollipop. Coincidentally, at that same instant, they were playing one of my favorite songs by Taylor Swift, and I started jumping up and down dancing along. At that point, not only was there a response but we got a huge smile and laughter to go along with it. I began messing with her by asking if she was laughing at me or with me and that just caused her to burst out even more in joy. This was a great way for me to begin at Radio Lollipop because I was really able to see how I was perfect for the part, I found my lollipop personality and from that day on I have only built on it even more.”
“Aida from the Community and Volunteer Resources Department greeted me on my first day of volunteering at Nicklaus Children's Hospital, formerly Miami Children's Hospital, and explained the checking-in and checking-out procedures for volunteers. Afterwards, she led me to the Emergency Department where I would begin volunteering. After a short orientation, I introduced myself to some peopIe. I must admit I was a little worried. I shared my concern with a nurse in the ED and she responded: “just be yourself.” Then she said the magic words: “take some crayons and the coloring sheets.”
“Her advice and a few photo copies of a sheet from a “Dora the Explorer” coloring book did it. My proudest moment was quieting the piercing screams of a little girl who referred to herself as Princess Fiona. All she wanted was her father until I noticed her red fingernails and commented on it. She opened up and shared that she had painted her toenails as well. At that moment I realized how important it is for volunteers to distract the children so that the adults in the room can feel at ease during great moments of stress. I introduced myself to as many parents as possible and offered crayons to any child that looked at my crayons with hope.”
“Nutty Nora” is the name given, lovingly, to Radio Lollipop volunteer Nora Barriere. Nora has been a Lollipop volunteer since the inception of the program 11 years ago.
Born in Cuba, Nora came to Miami via Boston. Her career has been spent working in radio and television. Currently, she is the administrative assistant in sales for Mega TV.
Nora initially heard about Radio Lollipop through a co-worker. Never having volunteered before, she thought this would be a great opportunity to work with children. Known for her many “voices,” the children love to hear Nora as “Elmo” when they call the radio station. They are so excited to be having a conversation with Elmo!
“Everyone loves Nora. She radiates such positive energy, that everyone is very happy to be with her--the children, staff, and fellow volunteers, “ states Alexandra Salcedo, Radio Lollipop Coordinator. Nora has a lot of fun in Radio Lollipop-sometimes the nurses will hear the music from the studio and will pass by and wave, and do a little dance. Nora reacts, by waving back and giving them a big smile. Being with Nora just brings out smiles in everyone, and we are very, very fortunate to have her in our volunteer program.
In her leisure time, Nora likes arts and crafts and enjoys creating beautiful painted boxes, making clothespin doll families, scuba diving, and spending quality time with Dottie, her Boston terrier. We are grateful, too, for the quality time Nora spends at Nicklaus Children's Hospital, formerly Miami Children's Hospital.
Every Wednesday, Natalie Equizabal volunteers with Radio Lollipop.Natalie, an elementary school teacher, has been volunteering since 2007, and has 400 hours of service. She is also pursuing her master’s degree in business administration. Natalie is the team leader for “Wacky Wednesday” and is a member of the Radio Lollipop Management Team. She leads her team of volunteers in expending high energy, and provides care and compassion to our patients. “Natalie has the respect of her entire team. She leads by example,” said Brittany Smith, Radio Lollipop and CVR Coordinator. “I love Radio Lollipop and seeing how our volunteer visits impacts the children,” said Natalie. “The parents are so appreciative of the time we spend with their child, and the Child Life staff also is very supportive and always makes us feel welcome.” The Community and Volunteer Resources Department feels fortunate to have Natalie Equizabal participate in the volunteer program at MCH!