Women’s College Hospital volunteer talks about the difference volunteering made in her life.
Audio Credit: The Miss Margaret Robins Archives of Women’s College Hospital.
This volunteer has always given back to the community. Even as a busy young mother, she made time to help out at the local library. She began volunteering at Women’s College Hospital in October 2000. Today, she is a proud team member at the information desk. She loves seeing first-hand what a difference volunteers make in people’s lives.
Interviewer: And when did you start volunteering at Women’s College?
Volunteer: Uh, October 2000. 17 years.
Interviewer: Happy anniversary!
Volunteer: Is today the 20th? I’ve got an idea it was the 20th, but I’m not sure.
Interviewer: It’s the 18th today.
Volunteer: Which is very close.
Interviewer: So that’s almost your anniversary. And why did you choose to volunteer at Women’s College?
Volunteer: Uh, good question. Um, I happened to have an appointment in mammograms and there was a wonderful volunteer in there called Dorothy Tate. And she, I’d made a couple of people relax and laugh although I was, I was talking about the funny gown you put on and everything. And they thanked me, you know, I made them relax and Dorothy turned around to me and said “You really should be volunteering here.” You know. And that was it. I thought, well, I, yeah, I think I could do this.
Interviewer: What do you like most about the information desk?
Volunteer: Feeling that I’m needed there. Not feeling as though it’s just something to volunteer. Eh, in, it really is an area where we see all kinds of people come in and, um, have them come up and say how much it means to them to have someone smile at them. I don’t know if you recall when we had the, um, what was it called, the access thing, it was a machine, a computer for people, a way-finder, and, um-
Interviewer: Oh! Um. Was this in the old hospital?
Volunteer: It was in the old hospital.
Interviewer: It was like a self-serve terminal.
Volunteer: It’s self-serve, yes. And then, one of, I still remember the day the woman came over and she, “it’s okay but it doesn’t give us hugs. And you know, it didn’t smile at us.” It, it, it’s just a people thing. Yeah.
Interviewer: And how many hours on average do you volunteer a week?
Volunteer: Not many now. Um, cut right down. I only do one afternoon unless I need to fill in, like next week I’ll do two afternoons. Um. I’ll come in when needed. I used to be doing three days a week and working at home, and it got to be too much. Yeah.
Interviewer: And have you ever been on the, uh, Volunteer Association’s Executive Committee?
Volunteer: Yes. Yeah. I was on there, I’ve done the membership coordinator, um, public relations, that was it. I enjoyed that. And communications. So I’ve done the three different roles on the Executive. Yeah.
Interviewer: You’ve done a lot! My final question to you is why do you feel it’s important to volunteer?
Volunteer: Well, I think the biggest thing, it really does give something to me, it’s not just giving back. Which I’ve wanted to do. I think there’s a need for volunteers. Part of it being the cuts in staff, we help service. We fill a role that very often, um, a paid person, paid staff member would not be filling. Uh. I know the information desk at one time it was staffed, I was told, and I think that was fairly recent when I came in. But, uh, I think because we don’t get a salary, um, we know we can we’re doing it voluntary. I think we give that little bit more. And I do get something from it, myself. You know, I may be tired when I go home, but boy to go home and feel the, that person is coming, excuse me, that just left feeling that much better because I was there, that’s sounded a bit big headed of me, but it’s a good feeling. We like to feel needed.
Interviewer: No, it’s a nice feeling!
Volunteer: Yeah, it is.
Interviewer: You do a great job on the front desk.
Volunteer: Thank you, thank you.
Interviewer: I hear that all the time, that you are the first person who greets people in the hospital and it means a lot to people.
Volunteer: Yeah, yeah, it really does. People who come into the hospital and, uh, they walk in that door and, I mean, right away their stress levels have just gone up and we can help alleviate that. They can go into the meeting, their appointment, just feeling a little more relaxed. Someone cares. Yeah.
Interviewer: Great! Well, thank you very much.