May 2, 2007

Week 13: 9th time runnin' around

This past Friday I decided to go up to the floors at Children’s and hang out with the kids who were being treated rather than the siblings of these kids. I wanted to do this because I thought it would be more beneficial to hang with the kids who are actually sick once in a while. I went up to one of the floors where a nurse saw me right away and asked if I could help out in one of the rooms down the hall. I went with her and the room ended up belonging to a 18 year old girl which surprised me a little bit because I expected to see a little kid in the room. The nurse brought in the game yahtzee and then told me she forgot to tell me I needed to wear a gown and gloves because she was a ‘special patient’. This kinda scared the crap out of me but it ended up being fine. The girl didn’t seem sick and apparently she was supposed to be heading home the next day. It was fun just hanging out talking with someone my own age but it was a bit ackward because she kept hitting on me the whole time. Yea… I go to volunteer at the hospital and I end up on a weird blind date for a while. Anyway, when I left the room I was stopped by a boy being pushed around in a wheel chair by anther volunteer. He stopped me because he wanted to tell me this big long story about this girl he knew which I thought was pretty funny. He then asked me to see my phone and asked if he could call his dad and say hi and tell him the story too. I told him to go for it and we looked up his number and call his pops. After this I stayed in a room with a bout who could not really talk because of his condition which made it hard to interact but I just acted like a goof ball and tried to make him laugh a bit. At the end of the day I stayed in a room to watch over two girls who had been sleeping. With my luck, once the mom left, the girls woke up and one tried booking it down the hallway so I hadta go catch her. I spend some time reading to the girls and then it was my time to hit the road.

April 22, 2007

8th time: Chillin w/ the kids

The play area this past Friday was a bit empty. There were two kids I hung out with the majority of the time I was there. They were two boys; one was three and the other around four or five. They were real cool cats and real enthusiastic about everything we did. They were constantly yelling “Zach watch this? or “Zach come check this out? and that type of thing which kept me busy.
A while later another boy came in named Donovan who was eight and I could tell he had been to the play area quite a bit since he knew where everything was. He was a real good kid and well behaved so it was fun just talking to him and shooting some hoops. We stayed outside most of the time I was there because it was a hot sunny day. Talking to Donovan made me realize that it must be tough for him to keep going in and out of the hospital for his brother. He was a trooper about it though and seemed to handle the situation pretty well for an eight year old. Knowing how long some of the siblings are in the hospital visiting really can hit home in a sense because it means that their siblings are usually very sick. As I see the same faces week after week, I realize that it must be very difficult for the families as they spend extended periods of time in the hospital. Donovan kept telling me he wished I was going to be there the next day cuz he would be back and wanted to hang out again. Knowing this kind of thing makes volunteering a very rewarding thing for me and keeps me wanting to come back and help out week after week.

April 16, 2007

# 7: gettin' my butt whooped

When I got to the hospital, I signed in and talked to Ben for a bit in the volunteer office. He got a phone call asking if anyone could deliver a gift to a boy upstairs. I said I’d go, so I went to the gift shop and got the gift. It was a bag with a bunch of balloons attached. So I took it up to the boy’s room on the 6th floor. It was kinda interesting taking a handful of balloons up in the elevator with like 5 other people in there. Once I got to the room, it was just the boy by himself. He was probably around 11 or 12 and seemed like a real normal kid. I talked to him for a little and gave him his gift bag and balloons.
When I got back down to the play area, I recognized a handful of the kids that have been there past weeks. I ended up outside for a majority of the time because it was pretty nice out. I spent sometime with a boy named Jamie playing basketball and different games. Another girl kept calling me to go on the teeter totter every 2 minutes so needless to say I’m a professional teeter totter now. I also spent time two sisters and they’re little brother. The girls had lots to talk about and they’re little brother who couldn’t really talk yet just liked cruising around in his fisher price car. One of the girls started telling me about the karate lessons she takes and started karate chopping me. Then it didn’t help that about 3 other kids thought it would be fun to start karate chopping me and gettin’ me with all sorts of Bruce Lee cross kicks and stuff. So basically I got my but kicked by a ton of little tykes. And yea, one was a girl. So I left that day with one life lesson: don’t play ruff with kids if they know karate… you just cant win.

April 7, 2007

6th time: buzzzy day with the kids

Today was a very hectic day in the play area. I walked in and there were around 10 or 12 kids there. Charles wasn’t there either but another woman named Amy was there filling in. I started the day by spending time with two Somalia brothers who were pretty excited to have me there wanting to hang out with them. We played with cars for a while and raced them around the course we made up. After that they decided to play some video games. Amy had her hands full most of the day so I had to take on some extra responsibility which I thought was pretty cool. I ended up checking in all the kids who came in, answering phone calls, changing video games around, and just making sure things went smoothly. I enjoyed these extra jobs because it made me feel like I was helping out a lot more than just hangin’ with the kids every time. The whole day I had my hands full with one thing or another trying to spend time with each child who stopped in. Overall, it ended up being very busy but very exciting at the same time as each child was enthusiastic about having me there to spend time with them. Spending time with these kids really made me look back on my own childhood as we talked about things like ninja turtles and the coolest video games on Nintendo. The kids are always so willing to talk about anything on their mind which always keeps the volunteer experiences interesting and fun. Sometimes I just wish I could be a kid again and worry about nothing but what toy to play with.

5th time: she speaks spanish?

This past week at the hospital wasn’t too bad but wasn’t toooo exciting either because there weren’t many kids that day. There were only two kids in the play area when I showed up but they were pretty cool cats. I started by putting together a few puzzles with one girl which was pretty fun because she got pretty excited when we finally finished each puzzle. The finding nemo puzzle was tuff stuff even for me but she handled it pretty well and taught me a few things about puzzles too. After that I began to spend time with a girl who spoke mainly Spanish and little English. It was quite interesting as I had to pretend to be fluent in Spanish at times and think back to Mexico vacation and try to understand bits and pieces of what she was saying. Unfortunately all I learned in Mexico was how to order coronas from Pablo the greatest bartender in all of Mexico. In all seriousness though she was a very nice girl and we had a fun time playing with Polly pockets. Then a boy came in who I recognized from earlier weeks named Eli. We played a few video games together and somehow he managed to beat me every time. Let me just say… kid was skilled. Anyway, before I knew it, it was time to jet so I helped clean up and I was out.

March 25, 2007

4th time: Outdoor Adventure

This past time volunteering ended up being a lot of fun. When I got up to the sibling play area there was only a couple kids inside so I thought it might be somewhat uneventful for the day. I put together a few puzzles with a little girl and then a few more kids came into the play area. Since it was such a nice day, I went outside with some kids to hang out in the nice weather. This was the first time I had been to the outside part of the play area and it was actually a pretty sweet hangout spot for the kids. There was a jungle gym, basketball hoop, teeter totter…basically the works. Anyway, I was outside hanging out with two little girls who were very enthusiastic and wanted to go on a treasure hunt.
We began the treasure hunt by finding the treasure map and running around and trying to find the key, the “cave of wonders?, the magic genie and everything else along the way. The one girl decided that she was Jasmine and that I would be Aladdin while we were all running around fighting off the bad guys and trying to find the treasure. Then, another boy began to play with us and he was going to be the bad guy Jaffar. After a while though he didn’t want to be the bad guy anymore so he decided that he was now going to be Peter Pan. Obviously these kids had quite the imagination. After we found the treasure we decided to play a few games of hide and seek. These kids were pretty skilled at hide and seek because the only way I could find them was when they started laughing at me after I couldn’t find them. After this, all the kids left, the girls said “bye Aladdin? and it was about time for me to take off. I shot some hoops with Charles after we cleaned up and then I was out-skies.

March 5, 2007

Week 7: 3rd time: gettin' educated

This past Friday was the third time I volunteered at Children’s. I was a little skeptical about having to take the bus downtown because the weather was pretty wicked that day. I knew it was going to be a sweet day once I stepped into I big puddle trying to make it to the bus stop. After trudging through the awesome weather I finally made it to the hospital without too much trouble. I went down and talked to Ben for a while about spring break and such and let him know when I would and wouldn’t be around to volunteer during break. After a bit, I went to the play area and started doing my thing. After a while, Charles told me that they were closing early so I was only going to be there for about an hour. I played some vids with a little fella which was fun since he was better than me and kept yelling at me for screwin’ up. Once the play area closed, I went down and it was still early so I asked if there was anything I could be doing to help out. Ben decided to get me all trained up for the patients on the various floors throughout the hospital. A girl who was a professional volunteer led me through the checklist and I learned all about standard procedures and how things worked in the different areas. I learned things ranging from where certain toys and games are kept to safety precautions with infants and children with special needs. Walking from room to room was interesting to see how kids spent some of their time. For instance, one boy was playing a football video game while another was just sitting and spending time with her family. Also, many of the children were sleeping or simply not active as it is very understandable that they would be tired. After my training I was now capable of spending time with patients themselves rather than just the siblings of these kids if needed

February 24, 2007

Week 6: 2nd time at the hospital

This past Friday was the second time that I have gone in to volunteer at Children’s. I walked into the hospital as usual and was heading down to the volunteer office when I saw a boy being taken through the hallway in a stretcher with doctors and paramedics pushing him along. For a second I almost felt like I was in a T.V. show when you see people getting rolled around in stretchers and doctors going every which way. Although it didn’t seem to be an emergency, the reality of the situation really hit me simply because it was a little boy of maybe five or six years old opposed to any adult needing help.
When I got to the sibling play area it was a bit less crowded than the previous week. I met a few of the kids and began playing games and just spending time around the kids. I recognized two of the boys from last week which also made me realize how long some kids have to stay in the hospital. After the first hour many of the kids left and for about 10 minutes there weren’t any children in the play area. During this time, Charles and I cleaned up and wiped down a majority of the toys that kids had been playing with. Then, a little girl came in who was very well behaved and took her shopping cart around collected all the toys she liked and put them in her cart. Soon after a few more kids came in and we all just played with toys for the remaining time until the play area closed. When one boy left his parents came in and could smell that he had a little accident in his pants. His dad said that he shouldn’t do that and the workers probably didn’t enjoy the smell. He told the boy to apologize so right before the boy left he said “bye, sorry for the poop? and headed home. I thought this was pretty funny and it wasn’t too bad either since he was only there for about 15 minutes or so. After this, I had a little laugh, helped clean up and was off.

February 17, 2007

Week 5: 1st time with the kids!

I found out that I will be volunteering at least once a week usually on Fridays. This past Friday was the first time volunteering at the sibling play area in the hospital. When I got to the hospital I went down to the volunteer office and once again was greeted with a big enthusiastic hello from Natalie the secretary. I then met up with Ben who began to show me the routine regarding signing in and out. There is a touch screen that keeps track of each volunteer’s hours which I thought was pretty nifty. I then got a sweet red vest to throw on and we were off to the play area. I got a quick tour of the main floor and then we were off to meet Charles (the head of the play area). We got in and there were 3 or 4 kids hanging out. I met Charles and he gave me a very brief talk about how things work there. He basically told me to hang out with the kids so I went over to a 2 year old boy named Brock and began playing with marbles with him. It was fun to see how excited he got when we would race the marbles down a track they had set up. After a while we went over to the video games because Brock was fascinated by the game even though he had no idea how to play. We played a racing game and barely stayed on track once but he seemed to enjoy it regardless. I could tell that Brock had been to the play area quite a few times as he seemed to know where everything was kept. A few more kids came in and we all began playing with a big blue ball which seemed to entertain them all. After this we kept busy building a train set. One of the boys dads came in with the family and was video taping him with the trains which I initially thought was a little strange but then on second thought was pretty cool. It was kind of neat seeing the boy on camera simply getting a kick out of the trains. After a couple hours the play area closed so I helped Charles clean up and that was it for that day. I singed out in the volunteer office and off.

Week 4: The interview

This past Tuesday I had my interview at Children’s which was the final thing to do before I could begin volunteering. I took the 2 bus and got off and had to walk about 5 blocks to the hospital. I was a little pessimistic about this walk as it was a slightly sketchy neighborhood. Once I got into the hospital however, this feeling completely changed as I went down to the volunteer center where I was greeted very joyfully by the secretary. I could tell right away that there was a very positive and friendly atmosphere in not only the volunteer area but the entire hospital as a whole. There are many bright colors and the hospital’s environment gives a feeling of comfort more than most other hospitals. The interview itself was fairly simple and mostly consisted of the volunteer coordinator Ben asking me questions about previous experience and reasons why I chose to volunteer at Children’s. It was a very casual conversation during the interview and took about 20-25 minutes. After the interview portion, Ben went over with me the various places I would have the opportunity to volunteer at within the hospital. In the end we decided that the sibling play area would be the best fit for me which basically consists of hanging out and giving attention to the siblings of hospitalized children. I was very happy to get a position as a volunteer because I was told that I was one of the last spots filled because of the excess of people applying for positions. After this, the interview process was complete so I thanked Ben for his help, got my things, caught the bus and high-tailed it home.

February 12, 2007

Week 3: In Class Articles

This past week in class, we discussed excerpts from “Working? which I found very interesting. I enjoyed these excerpts because each was a personal story that I felt was easy to follow as well as relate to. Each character tells their own story of their work and lifestyle and I found it interesting how each person’s job can really play a large part in their overall outlook on life. Also, I found it interesting how such a variety of jobs can be so similar in the way these people view them and what they get out of their work.
My group was assigned to further look into the article “The Parking? by the character Alfred Pommier. I enjoyed this article as I felt the character “Loving Al? truly appreciated his work and the life he has lived. Although he works as a car parker, he completes his work to the fullest and does a very good job at what he does. In his prime he knows he was the best and was not arrogant, but very confident. I also enjoyed this article because Alfred seems to be very in touch with reality. He states when he got behind the wheel of a fancy car, he would pretend it was his own car and how great it would be to be rich, but at the same time he knew he would never have enough money to afford anything than his own average car. This is what I really enjoyed about this article; the fact that Alfred was very content with his life and in touch with reality. He seemed to be reminiscing about his life and had a very content and warming tone to the article.

February 11, 2007

Almost Ready to Start

Recently I have been finalizing the application process for Children’s Hospital. I have attended the orientation session which included roughly a two and a half hour meeting which informed us of standard procedures while volunteering at the hospital. Some things included in the orientation were activities that explain what to do when certain situations are encountered. For example, what actions to take if a missing child is reported or a “code pink? is announced. Also, issues were covered regarding confidentiality and basic ways to handle children and how to make the best of the volunteer experience. Overall, I felt the orientation was very long but at the same time interesting because it brought up things I wouldn’t have originally thought of. For example, it told us to say “goodbye? rather than “see you later? to the children so the children wouldn’t be expecting us to come back later in the day.
This past week I finished all the required medical tests including a tuberculosis test which was extremely fun and exciting. Once all the results were good to go, everything would now be ready to begin volunteering once I complete an interview. My interview is scheduled for early next week and then its time to start the big gig. I am very eager to begin volunteering at Children’s and be able to spend time with all the kids. I also am very eager to begin volunteering so that I can begin blogging about my experiences rather than my expectations of what I will be doing.

January 30, 2007

Volunteer Process so far

After hearing from the representatives for the various volunteer organisations in class I thought about where would be a good place for me to volunteer at. I knew I wanted to do something that would be enjoyable as well as very rewarding. I really enjoy working with kids so I decided that either Children's Hospital or St. Anne's Place would be good options for this. Both of these would be enjoyable for me as I could spend time simply hanging out with the kids and helping them with anything they might need.

I got approval for Children's Hospital so I have begun the application process and am working toward the many steps to becoming a volunteer at this hospital. I have currently finished the online application as well as the recomendation survey. I am now working towards getting the required tests and medical records needed for becoming a volunteer at Children's.

January 18, 2007

community experience

I have a done a large amount of volunteering in the past few years of high school. I was a member of the Student council, Interact Club, as well as National Honor Society. My involvement in these clubs have given me opportunities to volunteer and school activities as well as the local food pantry and hospital.