Walking the halls of Texas Children’s you may see someone in a red vest offering assistance or providing some type of support. Those are our volunteers, who have played an important role in the organization’s success since day one.
This summer The Woodlands Campus adopted the junior volunteer program to offer opportunities to teenagers and provide more support for patient care.
The volunteer program began when Texas Children’s opened its doors in 1954. Over the years the program has expanded to over 800 diverse active Auxiliary members who support patients, families and hospital staff.
“The role of the volunteer has really changed over the decades,” Assistant Vice President, Clinical Support and Research Administration, Paige Schulz said. “One of the things that’s really significantly changed is originally it was only women that volunteered at Texas Children’s. And then that was from the ‘50s really until the ‘80s, and then men started volunteering a lot more with our organization.”
Click below to view a video about the system-wide junior volunteer program.
In 2017, West Campus began their junior volunteer program based off of several requests from the Katy community. As the campus grew over the years, so did the need for a program.
“The juniors make a big difference in the patient’s experience in the hospital,” West Campus Senior Volunteer Coordinator Nora Lopez said. “When the patient comes in and they go to visit the doctor, they are scared. So if they play with someone before they are seen by the doctor, or nurse, or prior to any procedure or surgery, the patient is most likely in a better mood. So it’s a win, win situation and it makes a big difference in the hospital.”
The Woodlands Volunteer Services Department selected 12 high school students with an interest in working in the healthcare field to engage in tasks that enhances patient experience, whether it is providing games for them to play, snacks like popcorn and tea, or just having someone to talk to their age.
“The best part is their energy. They bring an enormous amount of energy to the hospital and their energy is contagious and it’s been so wonderful to have that contagious positive energy around the hospital,” The Woodlands Senior Volunteer Coordinator Zett Small said. “We are grateful to have the best, brightest, and most talented kids volunteering with us.”
Anvi Sana is a 16-year-old aspiring pediatrician who has always dreamed of working at Texas Children’s. The summer junior volunteer opportunity at The Woodlands combined her love for kids and thirst for the knowledge of health care. Sana expressed how much of a learning experience volunteering was and why it is beneficial for someone her age.
“I think as a teenager it teaches you a lot about the different kinds of people that you’re going to run into in a hospital,” Sana said. “I think doing a program like this as a teenager kind of opens up your eyes to the number of different people that you’re going to see or come across when you’re working in a hospital.
Being a volunteer at Texas Children’s is not just a job it is an experience for all ages, and backgrounds with endless possibilities.
“What I like to say about the volunteers are that they are the heart and soul of this organization,” Schulz said. “I’m excited about just the opportunity for us to expand beyond what maybe is a traditional volunteer assignment.”
Click here for information about the volunteer program.