Hospital Volunteers and the 365-Day Giving Season
by Shahan Hafiz
With New Years Eve upon us in just a few days, the Holiday Season is coming to an end. Tree ornaments will come down, presents enjoyed, and the cheerful holiday movies on TV will again be replaced by regularly scheduled programming. Although we celebrate a Season of Giving specifically at this time of year, there’s no reason why that same spirit can’t permeate the months to come; and many, many people look for additional ways to give year-round.
Here at Hospital for Special Surgery, we see that firsthand. Every year we have an amazing crop of volunteers who make a commitment to the Hospital and devote their time in 52 different practice areas from admitting, to physical therapy, to pastoral care, to our motion analysis lab. In a given month we’ll see about 175 volunteers come through the door to lend a hand. These giving people join us from cities and towns all across America, as well as from overseas, and commit at least 150 total hours to the hospital over a six month period. In 2012 HSS’ volunteer program was chosen as the winner of the American Hospital Association’s Hospital Awards for Volunteer Excellence.
As 2012 comes to a close, we look back on a year that saw exciting new initiatives take hold. One is our card-making campaign, which started last Winter Holiday season. Pediatric patients staying overnight are invited to draw seasonal pictures. These drawings, once finished, are scanned and made into cards with the help of our volunteers. The volunteers then distribute the cards around special holidays throughout the year – Christmas, Thanksgiving, Halloween, etc. – to in-patients staying at the hospital; adults as well as kids. The result is joy and good tidings spread around HSS for patients who find themselves staying overnight during a holiday.
As 2013 approaches, we’re looking to get volunteers involved in a few new initiatives that will begin in the First Quarter. We’re going to start a Welcoming & Escort program. HSS is a big place with lots of bustling departments, and it can be easy for a new patient to get overwhelmed or even lost. Volunteers will be stationed in building lobbies and be made available to greet and comfort new admissions, making sure they find their way to the proper department or office.
A Wellness Program will also get underway early in the year. Volunteers will guide carts full of mints, lotions, games, puzzles and an assortment of items to help overnight patients feel more comfortable during their stay.
Our volunteers help our Hospital continue to be an efficient and welcoming place. The kindness and dedication of our hospital volunteers make sure that the Giving Season lasts not just one incredible month, but all year round.
Shahan Hafiz is Assistant Director of the Volunteer Department at Hospital for Special Surgery. To learn about volunteer opportunities in 2013, please visit us at: http://www.hss.edu/volunteer-in-new-york-city.asp