May 4, 2007

Sibling Play Area

This week at Chilldren's I was supposed to work with Kim as usual, but she was out sick. So the Volunteer Services center sent me to the 2nd floor Sibling Play area. I walked in, and there was only one child in there. He was 2 or 3, and really liked bubbles. I introduced myself to Mollie, the staff worker, and she said that usually there were 14 or more children this time of the day, but today was just unusually slow. So I blew bubbles for about ten minutes, and then his parents came and got him. I asked Mollie if there was anything I could do, and she said that I could sanitze toys. I'm a pro a this, so I grabbed my spray bottle and wipes, and started cleaning. After I had sanitized the entire play room, I sat down and started to color. About half an hour later, another volunteer came in, looking for something to do. There was nothing, apparently the entire hospital was very slow today, and there weren't a lot of children that needed volunteers. I really wanted to do something, and I realized that the bulletin board outside the play area still had St.Patrick's Day stuff on it. I asked Mollie if it would be ok if we re-did the board. She had no objection, so we got out the boarders and construtcion paper and got to work. An hour later, the board was fabulous, and it was time for me to leave.

Another afternoon at Children's

Last week at Children's was somewhat disappointing to me. I didnt actually feel like I helped anyone at all. The fish in the fourth and fifth floor aquariums were very sick, and the tank cleaners had to make an extra trip in to take all the fish back to thier shop and compleltey disinfect the tanks to kill whatever disease was affecting the fish. My task for the afternoon: help them. I had some wicked blue plastic gloves, and a long-handled "grabber". My job was to pull all the decorations out of the tank, and place them in a bucket of cleaning solution. After that, i helped the guys haul around equipment, pump the water out of the tanks, and scrub down everything. I'm sure I was helping in some sort of way....but I really was hoping to get some patient interaction. Maybe next week.

April 22, 2007

Thursday

This Thursday was an unusual day at Children's. I checked into the Volunteer Services office, and headed up to the 5th floor clinic. I got there, and went to Kim for my assignment. She said that the clinic was incredibly slow this week, and instead of supervising the play area, I would be doing special projects for her. First I organized three closets full of books that had been donated to Children's that were used for testing. When I had finished that, I went around to all of the floors of the hospital, collecting all VHS tapes that they had, sorted them into G, PG, and PG-13, and then put them in bins to be given away (Children's was converting to DVD only). After I had finished that project, I was sent to the 8th floor unit to organize all of thier games and to take inventory of all thier DVD's and PS2 games. By then it was time for me to leave, so I went back down to Volunteer Services and checked out.

Sara

I went in to volunteer at the Clinic on Thursday, and it was incredibly slow. I washed toys for about a half hour, then helped clean the aquarium, until a couple of children came. The clnic was so vacant that the children were able to be seen almost immediately, so again there was no one that wanted to play with me. A while later, two little girls came in with thier mom, one was incredibly sick and misearable, the other was just quiet. Thier mother came to me and asked if I would watch her daughter, her name was Sara, while she was with the doctor and her other, very sick daughter. I was excited to have someone to play with, and told her not to worry about Sara, we would have a great time. Sara's mom went in to see the doctor, and Sara was left with me. She immediately started pouting, which turned into crying. All she wanted was her mom, nothing I did would change her mind. So, i just sat down and started coloring. After a few minutes, curiosity got the best of her. She stopped crying, sat in the chair next to me, and started helping me color my picture. After that, she had no problem playing with me, we played hide-and-seek, played dolls, read books, and even took a nap (Sara, not me). When it finally came time for her to leave, Sara didnt want to go.

April 16, 2007

Sniffles

Last week, make that two weeks ago, I was supposed to go in and volunteer at Children's. That didnt happen. I woke up on Wednesday morning with a bit of a scratcy throat, and a little case of the sniffles. I didnt think much of it. The next morning I woke up, still sick, a little more groggy, a nasty cough. Immediately I called Sandy at Volunteer Services and told her that I wasnt going to be coming in that day, at my orientation they told us that no matter how small the sickness, we needed to be aware of it and distance ourselves from the children, becuase some of them have extremely weak immune systems, and what may seem like nothing to us could have extreme effects of the children. Sandy was very happy that I had called well in advance of my volunteer time, and hoped that I would get better soon. Instead of volunteering on Thursday, I took a four hour nap- and the cold was gone by Saturday.

April 2, 2007

Second week at Children's

There was no fish tank fiasco this week, so I spent a little more time up in the tower playing with kids. I saw a few of the same children from the first week, which was something I hadn't expected. I sat and read Goodnight Moon to a couple of kids- In Spanish. It was really funny actually, becuase I only took a year of Spanish in Highschool, so I knew how to pronounce almost all of the words, but once in a while I would read something and the children would snicker a little bit- I obviously had mispronounced something. After the clinic closed, I headed up to the 8th floor again. Kim didn't have me help with craft time this week, instead she had a project for me. I was to construct gift bags for a fundraiser that Kim was in charge of for next week. After I had put together 60 or so bags, I packed them all up, and found Kim for my next assignment. She told me that she had to put together a flier for her fundraiser, but she was horrible with computers and "that sort of thing". So I got to hop on her computer and whip up an awesome little flier for her "Half-price Books Fundraiser". Another exciting and interesting day at Children's.

My first day at Children's

I had a great first day at Children's! At 1:30 I went to the basement, checked in with Ben, got my locker, my sweet vest, and my punch-in code. Then I headed up to 5th tower to work in the clinic with Kim. I spent my first 40 minutes of actual work cleaning up a fishtank that had squirted water everywhere- good times. Then I played with a few tiny kids waiting to be seen in the clnic, that was my first hour and a half. Then it was time for the clinic to close, so I helped Kim wipe down all the toys with disinfectant spray and put everything away. After that, I followed Kim up to the 8th floor for craft time. I'm all about the crafts! It was awesome, there were at least 10 kids sitting around a huge table painting window-art, I seriously have the best job ever! I got to sit down and help the kids paint, get them new paints, I even got to paint my own window art ;-), I gave it to ---- she's 6, and her favorite color is blue. I stayed until 5, helped everyone get cleaned up, went back down to the volunteer office to punch out, and headed out the door.

March 18, 2007

Research Smesearch

I've been sitting in my dorm room/library/living room of my parents house trying to figure out how to do this research paper. To say the least this is a lot harder than writing some paper about Anne Frank's adolescense or the proper hand-washing technique Ithat i had to write in Highschool. I've decided to write a paper about advances in human genetic engineering and the negative effects it could have on society. I ran around the internet and the Wilson Library a few times, watched some Gatica...but still dont feel like I have much direction. I have a notebook full of unfinished sentences and ideas, I kind of feel bad for the other members of my group....I have a feeling that my papers will come back with plenty of red marks. Maybe I'll change my topic to....bacon. Or Homeless people. or Lassie's effects on the average american dog. As much as I enjoy watching documentaries and reading about surviving on a job at Wal-mart, I wouldnt mind a little more direction in class of the writing process.

March 13, 2007

Ben's a Great Guy...

I was walking into the Appleby building, about to start my Calc. tutor session, when my fossil of a phone started ringing. It was a number that I didnt recognized. I answered it, and Ben Reed was on the other end, offering me a volunteering position at the Children's Hospital. Yay!! It wasn't in any of the fields that I had requested, but who cares? I still get to help out at the Children's Hospital, and hopefully eventually I'll get to transfer to a position or positions that are more what I'm looking into as a possible career possibility. For now, I will be working in the clinic, assisting incoming families and keeping the desk "organized and neat". Now all I had to do was go in for my final interview and get all the paperwork finished. Math was alot easier that afternoon.

March 4, 2007

Ahh!

It was a sunny Thursday morning, I turned off my Red-Hot Chillipeppers-blaring Ipod, walked into class and sat down. I had recently finished my reading for class, smiled at Molly, and was in a generally good mood. I started chatting with some classmates about thier volunteering progress. Suddenly a dark, gloomy cloud settled over my sunny disposition. A classmate had told me that she recieved a call from the Children's Hospital. Even though she had gotten a confirmation email about her volunteering position, she got a call from Ben telling her that they had had an influx of volunteers and would no longer be needing her services. Crap. I had turned my application even later than she did- if she didnt get the 'job' there's no way that I would. Even more, she turned hers in weeks ago, so I probably wouldnt even get the no thanks call for another week. Great. That means I would wait another week, to not get the position, so I could spend another month waiting to hear back from a different organization and then maybe I could start volunteering- a week before finals. So I decided to send an email to Monica begging her to let me attempt to volunteer for another hospital. This was two weeks ago- I still havent heard back from her. At this point I'm basically praying for Childrens Hospital to call me and tell me that I'm the volunteer that they've been searching for, give me the perfect position, that works perfectly with my schedule. While they're at it, they'll tell me that I'm a perfect candidate for the opening they have in thier Reproductive Endocrinology Department, I can hear it now- " No degree, or medical training? Oh, that's ok, most of that stuff is completely useless anyway, just come in on Monday- we'll get you started".......right. Maybe Monica will email me.

Children's Hospital Training

Even though I hadn't yet turned in my application, I decided I would be a good idea to attend the orientation training session at the Children's Hospital. A major deciding factor my reasoning was the fact that they only held these training sessions once a month... and there are really only 2 and a half months left in the semester, I really didnt have another month to waste. Quite an adventure. I was lucky enough to get a ride to the event (thanks Shannon). We were only two minutes late, and they had cheese and crackers!!! I grabbed a packet and a chair, introduced Jenna to the group (gotta love icebreakers), and was ready to roll. I was wearing a cute outfit- dont remember which one though- kinda random. We were given the rough agenda for the evening. After introductions, we were given a brief description of what our tasks would be, then hear from a panel of current volunteers- one of them, I cant remember her name, was awesome. She was an older woman that had volunteered for the Hospital for a couple of decades, she had tons of great stories, weaves rugs out of scraps in her spare time, and currently volunteers in the surgery waiting rooms with the famiilies of patients. She was, for lack of a better word, awesome. Then the group went around and asked the volunteers. Then it was time for a break (we'd been at it for over an hour by now) I grabbed a Diet Cherry Coke, and wandered one of the hospital corridors for a few minutes. THen it was time for rules and procedures and whatnot. Not exactly the highlight of the evening, but necessary. Then we filled out some paperwork, which I proceeded to take home with me, instead of turning it in (whoops)! We said our goodbyes, jumped in the car, and headed back to the dorms. Hey- we got free food

February 12, 2007

CCLC Training Event

I really had no idea what to expect when I was going to the CCLC training event. I walked in the YMCA, went up three flights of stiars, and was greeted by a smiling lady handing out name tags. I signed in, drew up my name tag, and found my seat. I had heard from another attendee that we were going to have to act out skits and other 'dumb stuff'. I really enjoyed the afternoon, though. We talked about different actions that we valued and believed bettered our community. We learned how to avoid making generalizations and assumptions about people we meet while serving our community. I really enjoyed the program because it made me realize that I wasnt just voulunteering to satisfy a commitment for a class. I was, in some small way or another, helping our community. If one more kid reads because of me, or a parent can get something accomplished becuase I can give them a few extra hours a week, or if I can inspire a child to help others, I've accomplished something. The training event made me realize that I can also help my community through ways other than formal volunteering, I can help others every hour of everyday, through random acts of kindess, paying attention to issues in local government, recycling, and other activities. I belive that every member of our community could benefit from attending an event like this, to realize that everyone has the option to help.

January 28, 2007

Choosing my Opportunity

I took this course because I wanted to get involved, to make an impact on our community. I thought that it would be easy to decide where I wanted to help, but I was wrong. The presentation of the various organizations we had to choose from demonstrated how many people need help throughout the twin cities. There are already so many great people helping, but it’s not enough. I realized that there are so many ways I can help so many people; its going to be so hard to pick just one.
To choose which group to help, I decided to pick the organization that closest matched my talents. I thought that working at the men’s shelter would be a very exciting job, and I would be helping 40+ men to have a place to stay, and my presence might help to give the men peace of mind. Then I realized that the thought of me alone with 40+ men would make me incredibly nervous and anxious, which wouldn’t calming for either party. So Simpson Housing Services was out of the running.
I also thought that Open Arms of Minnesota was a great organization. They served a population that rarely gets positive attention, and the organization really made a difference in the lives of its clients. I realized then, that I have no car or very many friends with cars, so delivery was not really an option for me. I’m no Rachel Ray, either, and doubt my cooking contributions would be widely appreciated, so I decided that most aspects of the Open Arms of Minnesota organization were not really for me.
Then I came upon the Children’s Hospital. Bingo. I love Disney movies, dress-up, dancing, arts and crafts, race cars, video games, board games, and stuffed animals. I spent every summer after elementary school watching neighbor kids. I am also very interested in the health field: I am a firm believer in science, and its effectiveness of healing illness , as well as the healing powers of love, and hope to contribute to the health community using them both someday.

I can’t wait to begin volunteering at the Children’s Hospital!!

January 18, 2007

My Community Experience

I was very involved in my community before college, and it was very rewarding and important to me. I want to get involved here, but didn't really know how to go about it first semester, so this class is the perfect opportunity to enhance my writing skills, as well as find some options for volunteering.