Kira O'Brein,
Ambassador Volunteer
"I love the way the patients' and their families' faces brighten when they realize that as a Ambassador Volunteer I'm really there to make sure that all of their fears and anxieties are taken care of. Hearing their personal experiences, learning their stories and making sure they know they're not alone is such an important part of the healing process.  I'm honored that I can contribute to that!"



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Volunteer of the Month Archive

August 2013

Our August Volunteers of the Month are the 63 Junior Volunteers, the teenagers who joined us for our various summer programs.

Who the Junior volunteers are:

  • They are students involved in three NYM programs: Summer Youth Employment Program, 1199 Summer Youth Mentoring Program and the Friends and Family Program.
  • Many are students seeking patient care experience because they dream about careers in healthcare.
  • They provide between eight and 25 hours of service per week.

What Junior volunteers do at NYM:

  • They help care for patients throughout the Hospital by assisting them with eating, responding to their call bells, assessing patient comfort, and talking with and comforting patients and their families. They are invaluable members of the nursing care team.

  • They volunteer in the administrative offices providing clerical assistance.
    They volunteer in the Department of Facilities, helping to keep our Hospital cool and running smoothly.

  • They manage the patient library, bringing donated books and magazines to patients and their families throughout the Hospital

Their response to volunteering:

  • “I like to volunteer because it is a great learning experience and you get to know a lot of people and make people happy.” –Samantha Vega
  • “Volunteering has opened my eyes to new jobs in the medical field.” –Sabrina Walters
  • “I get to make patients’ days a little bit better by bringing a positive feel.” –Raechelle Ellison
  • “Volunteering has taught me how to maintain all the machines; if I go to a trade school this will really give me a head start.” –Kaleem Cooke
  • “Volunteering gives me a chance to experience things I’ve never done before.” –Arthur Kee

July 2013

Our July Volunteers of the Month are the seventy-two college students who joined us for the Summer College Intensive program (SCIP).

Who the SCIP volunteers are:

  • They are high-achievers from colleges throughout the city as well as out-of-state schools.
  • Many are pre-med or nursing students seeking patient care experience.
  • They provide twelve hours per week of service, many while working and taking summer courses.

What SCIP volunteers do at NYM:

  • They help care for patients throughout the Hospital by assisting patients with eating, responding to call bells, assessing patient comfort, as well as talking with and comforting patients and their families. They are invaluable members of the nursing care team.
  • They attend lectures presented by outstanding physicians and shadow healthcare professionals, including internists, nurse practitioners, and neurologists to broaden their experience.
  • They reflect personally on their experiences with short essays and notes they take during the course of the summer.

What they are learning through volunteering:

  • “Volunteering has taught me to be very open and personable with everyone I meet. There are so many conversations that are started with visitors in elevators and security guards and nurses that are so fulfilling. Volunteering has showed me how to properly listen and share my life with people.” -- Medina Mishiyeva
  • “The PAs and the fellows at the cardiac unit where I work are always eager to teach me new things or explain procedures. In addition, almost everyone at New York Methodist Hospital is willing to answer any question and they're each ready to help. The SCIP program has reignited my passion to become a doctor, because if the end result is anything like my time at New York Methodist, then all the stress from school is definitely worth it.” -- Shanin Chowdhury

June 2013

Our June Volunteers of the Month are the volunteers honored at the Annual Volunteer Recognition Ceremony

On May 23, New York Methodist Hospital’s (NYM) board of trustees, Hospital administration, staff and friends gathered with hundreds of NYM volunteers for the Annual Volunteer Recognition Ceremony. The ceremony celebrated the contributions of almost 1,200 NYM volunteers, who collectively gave over 90,000 hours of their time to the Hospital in 2012.


Left to right, New York Methodist Hospital's award winning volunteers Akiva Pollak, Madonna Reed, Michelle Urman, Alexa Marshall and Sue O'Neil.

“From gently holding and comforting babies in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), to preparing stretchers in NYM’s emergency room, you play a vital role at New York Methodist Hospital,” said Mark J. Mundy, president and CEO of the Hospital, addressing the event’s attendees. “In the years to come, our volunteers will continue to be crucial to success at NYM, breaking new ground and bringing your incredible spirit to our patients and staff.”


The theme of the evening emphasized the history of volunteerism at New York Methodist Hospital, beginning with a group of community members who trained to be volunteer nurses’ aides during World War II. Since the formal establishment of NYM’s volunteer program, volunteer participation at the Hospital has increased by over 400 percent.


As part of the evening’s festivities, Mr. Mundy presented awards to several outstanding volunteers who have unique achievements both in and out of the Hospital.


The Community Spirit Award went to Park Slope, Brooklyn’s Madonna Reed, a dedicated volunteer in the Hospital’s NICU and health literacy volunteer in the Outpatient Infusion Center. Ms. Reed has lived in Park Slope for 20 years, and in addition to 300 hours of service to NYM, she has also volunteered at the Botanic Garden, St. Francis Xavier Church, P.S. 321 and Poly Prep Country Day School.


The Partners in Nursing Award was presented to Michelle Urman, graduate of Stuyvesant High School and resident of Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn. Bright and energetic, Ms. Urman joined the Outpatient Pediatric Clinic in 2010, and as a recent college graduate, now heads to medical school in the hopes of becoming a pediatrician herself.


Sue O’Neil, who resides in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn received the Extraordinary Commitment Award. After a career serving as a registered nurse (including a stint as a combat nurse in Vietnam), Ms. O’Neil retired with her husband to Brooklyn in 2008. As a Reach Out and Read Volunteer in the Outpatient Pediatric Clinic, she has served New York Methodist Hospital for almost five years, and has trained countless new volunteers in that time.


The Emergency Department Award for Excellence was given to Akiva Pollak, a resident of Marine Park, Brooklyn. In less than two years, Mr. Pollak’s passion for emergency medicine has shone through during his 400 hours of service to NYM. He is a student in the Macaulay Honors Program at Brooklyn College, and also volunteers as a New York Certified EMT.


The New York Methodist Hospital Auxiliary Award for Outstanding Service by a High School Student went to Alexa Marshall, who lives in Canarsie, Brooklyn. Ms. Marshall is a senior in the prestigious Gateway to Medicine Program at Brooklyn Technical High School, and since the summer of 2010, she has volunteered in several areas of the Hospital, including pediatrics, the Women’s Diagnostic Center, and the patient library.

May 2013

"Behind the Scenes" Volunteers:

The full-time volunteers behind the scenes keep things running smoothly at NYM.


Who the students are:

  • They are a team of nine high school students, all from Brooklyn.
  • They are students from the P373K/Brooklyn Transition Center.
  • They give 40 hours of service per week for one to three years.

What the students do at NYM:

  • They receive shipments and packages for the Hospital.
  • They stock supplies throughout the Hospital.
  • They prepare for careers after graduation.
“I love making deliveries,” says Jarod, who has been volunteering at New York Methodist for three years. “The people all love me, and say I am so polite. They are friendly and nice. I enjoy seeing them.”

Since 1999, New York Methodist Hospital has partnered with students from P373K/ Brooklyn Transition Center. The students volunteer at New York Methodist Hospital as part of their high school program to help them prepare for careers after graduation. They are assigned throughout the Hospital, including the mail room, labs, the store room, public affairs, shipping and receiving, and environmental services.

April 2013

Health Literacy Volunteer, Jennifer Weighartchin


Who Jennifer is:

  • A Park Slope resident for the past ten years.
  • A wife and a mother to an eight-year-old girl.
  • A recent graduate of NYU’s Accelerated Nursing Program and newly certified registered nurse.

What Jen does at NYM:

  • She has volunteered in the Health Literacy Program since June 2012, giving over 100 hours of service.
  • She gives presentations in many of the Hospital’s outpatient clinics, “encouraging patients to pursue wellness.”
  • She has served as a trainer for new health literacy volunteers.

What volunteering has taught her:

  • “I have learned how to break down complex medical concepts into easily digestible pieces of information.  It makes me more sympathetic to people who have these life changing diseases and how difficult it can be for them to manage their health.”
  • “I love when I know that I am making connections with people; when I know that they are listening and learning.”


  • March 2013

    Reach Out and Read Volunteer Sue O'Neill

     

    Who Sue is:

    • An Indiana native who retired to Midwood, Brooklyn, in 2008, after living almost forty years in New England.
    • She has served the public as a registered nurse, a journalist , a singer, and a storyteller. She is also an avid reader.

    What Sue does at NYM:

    • She has volunteered through our Reach out and Read program in the pediatric clinic since 2008.
    • She chooses books to take to the clinic and read to children.
    • She gathers children around a table to listen to stories and draw pictures.
    • She promotes and models literacy to children and their families.

    What volunteering has taught her:

    “I love the kids; they're constantly teaching me. Reading is more than entertainment for many of them: it's a form of attention from an adult who doesn't have those always-loaded family ties, or the even more-heavily-loaded teacher role. It can be an affirmation that they're the smart, beautiful people they are. I only wish teachers could have the freedom to play with them as I can under the mantle of this job.

    I can't really go in with a mission in mind; the mix of ages, cultures, educational achievement and personalities requires me to bend to them, rather than make them perform in a specific way. So although the program has a framework--that bag of books--what I can do within it is entirely up to the kids. You can't ‘make’ anybody do anything, really; you can only hope to be a good example of an adult human being, and to let them know that they are interesting individuals well worth your time, energy and good humor. If, on top of that, I can pass on my love of reading with a few well-chosen kids books, I'm a very happy camper.” 

    February 2013

    Our Congestive Heart Failure Volunteer Intervention Program (CHF-VIP) Volunteers

    Who our CHF-VIP volunteers are:

    • They are a team of 16 volunteers from all over the city.
    • They are primarily students studying healthcare at the graduate level.

    What the CHF-VIP volunteers do at NYM:

    • They give 8 – 10 hours of service per week for a minimum of six months.
    • They talk to CHF-VIP patients before discharge from the Hospital to make sure they understand how to take their medications, and monitor their weight and diet.
    • They call patients weekly to check on their well-being and answer questions, and offer support in managing a difficult health condition.
    • Their efforts contribute to the reduction of CHF-VIP readmissions.

    What volunteering at NYM has taught the CHF-VIP volunteers:

    “I love it when I am teaching a patient who has had multiple admissions because of CHF-VIP and they understand a new strategy to help them stay well; it's like a light goes on in their head and they get it. Also, I like making follow-up phone calls with patients I talked to in the Hospital. Many of them struggle greatly with their condition and I like to be able to provide them with a chance to express their frustrations and encourage their hard work.” ---Georgette Lawlor


    “New York Methodist staff and specifically those involved with the CHF-VIP program are very supportive of volunteer efforts; I feel that my contributions are meaningful and welcome. I am excited and proud to be involved with the CHF-VIP program, which has granted me the rare opportunity to become intimately involved in the care and education of patients. I continue to be pleasantly surprised by how grateful patients are for the support and companionship that we provide.” ---Mariya Dvoretskaya


    January 2013

    Pastoral Care Volunteer: Margaret Birge

    Margaret sees to the emotional and spiritual needs of patients by offering kind words and deeds, from taking communion together, to tracking down a candy bar by special request. She sees friends and neighbors in the Hospital and former patients on the B69 on her way to or from the Hospital, all of whom offer her warm greetings. 

    Who she is:

    • 98-year-old Park Slope resident
    • Retired in 1979 from fundraising at the Boys Club of New York City
    • Has volunteered at numerous hospitals over the past three decades
    • A volunteer at NYM for 12 years, with over 3,000 hours of service

    What she does at NYM:

    • She volunteers twice a week, visiting every floor and every unit over time.
    • She serves communion and prays with patients.
    • She visits with patients throughout the Hospital and keeps them company.

    What volunteering has taught her:

    • “Sometimes I am tired when I come to the Hospital but the minute my feet hit the floor, I get my energy back. I enjoy seeing the patients.”
    • “I have always felt welcome here; have never left without a smile and a kind word. Everyone is wonderful to the volunteers here.”

      December 2012

      Our 27 Junior Librarian Volunteers

       

      Who our librarians are . . .

      • They are high school students from all over the city.
      • They volunteer once a week in patient care, and once in the library
      • They spend a minimum of six months volunteering in the Hospital
      • They give 54 combined hours of service each week.

      What the librarians do at NYM . . .

      • They take books, magazines, and puzzle books to patients throughout the hospital.
      • They also bring smiles and conversations to the patients. 
      • They keep the library open every day.

      What volunteering at NYM has taught the junior volunteers . . .

      • “I love being able to make somebody's day better by keeping them company or making sure they're comfortable."  -Stephanie V.
      • "I spend more time with the patients during the library shift. I'm having so much fun going around and just talking to them. I can tell most of them need someone to have a nice conversation with. It is really so enjoyable." -Chrissy D.
      • “On Fridays, I really like the staff [in patient care] because they make me feel welcomed. On Saturdays, I really enjoy working with Stephanie [on patient library] and seeing the patients on other floors.” -Timothy D.

      November 2012

      Tony Xia: Project Contact Volunteer

       

      Who Tony is...

      •     Originally from Boston, he is studying biochemistry at NYU.
      • Tutors children on the Lower East Side and works in the lab at the New York Blood Center.
      • Plans to go to medical school after graduation in June 2013. 
      • Known by staff, other volunteers and patients for his infectious smile.

      What Tony does at NYM....

      • Volunteers in the Emergency Department for Project Contact
      • Started volunteering in February 2012 and has already given over 260 hours.
      • Comforts patients who come to the ED stressed, alone, and in need.
      • Leaves such a positive impression on patients that they later seek him out.

      What volunteering at NYM has taught Tony…

      • “The ED can get a bit hectic of course, so aside from my responsibilities helping out the staff, I also try to spend time with the patients to make sure they feel at ease. The emergency room can be a very stressful environment for patients--especially those who don't have support from family and friends during their visit. As a volunteer, I don't have the responsibilities that the rest of the staff do, so I can use that freedom to make people's visits just a bit more comforting.”

      October 2012

      Alice Wong: Critical Care Connection Volunteer

      Who Alice is:

      • A long-time resident of Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, and mother of three.
      • Former editor and author of illustrated books and cookbooks. 
      • Accepted to a 15-month accelerated program for a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing at New York University, beginning in January 2013, with the goal of becoming a critical care nurse.

      What Alice does at NYM:

      • Has given over 260 hours of service in the ICU since September 2011, helping numerous patients and patients’ family members.
      • Has learned from “the amazing nurses in the ICU,” solidifying her career goals.
      • Has trained several new volunteers to serve in the ICU.

      What volunteering has taught Alice:

      • “Life is so fragile and those who have family and health are incredibly blessed. You hear this a lot and sort of know it, but being in the ICU really hammers it in. Every time I leave a volunteer shift, I am more convinced that this career change is the right life decision for me. After only a year volunteering in the ICU, I already have a few experiences that I will always remember as being important.  I’ve really made a difference to an individual’s life during a time of crisis.”

      September 2012

      Danny Kerry: Health Literacy Volunteer

      Who Danny is:

      • Originally from Derbyshire, UK, Danny is now a resident of Gravesend, Brooklyn.
      • He started volunteering in the Health Literacy Program in February, 2012.
      • He has a background in IT and his own business as a life coach.

      What Danny does at NYM:

      • As a Health Literacy volunteer, Danny speaks to patients in Hospital waiting rooms and while they are undergoing chemotherapy at the Ambulatory Infusion Center. He discusses diet, other healthy lifestyle choices with them and demonstrates how to read drug and nutrition labels. He also encourages patients to ask  questions to their doctors and ensures that they understand the answers.
      • The reason volunteering at New York Methodist appealed to me was the opportunity to educate people about nutrition so they can make more informed choices. In fact, it goes with a belief that I hold that when people are given a better choice, they will take it.”

      What volunteering has taught Danny:

      • “I am made to feel so welcome by the staff at the Hospital. I feel part of a team and that the work I am carrying out is important to the staff. I find it a very humbling experience to be around the brave patients, and appreciate the chance to speak to them and help in some way. I have lost a number people of very close to me to cancer. I am glad for the chance to help.”

      Summer 2012

      Summer College Intensive Program Volunteers

       

      Our summer volunteers of the month are the 59 college students from around the world who have convened at New York Methodist Hospital to spend their summer vacation volunteering and learning through our Summer College Intensive Program.

      The students give 12 hours of service per week for eight weeks, and are placed throughout the Hospital. Their activities include bringing patients their meals, making beds, stocking supplies, answering questions from patients and families, andoffering companionship to those who need it. Like all Hospital volunteers, their main purpose is to enhance the Hospital experience for patients.

      This summer, students participating in NYM's Summer College Intensive Program took advantage of service opportunities which have never been offered before.
      They were able to:

      •   shadow physicians, nurses, and physicians' assistants in their offices or on rounds;
      • attend lectures by physicians in various specialties;
      • participate in "reflective listening" workshops designed to improve listening skills for the benefit of their service to Hospital patients.

      "Shadowing doctors and interacting with the medical staff on the units and floors were phenomenal experiences," said Suzanne Jacob, a volunteer who was allowed to observe the interventional radiology unit.  "Not all hospitals offer this enriching exposure.  I am fortunate to have been a volunteer in this program."

      The supplemental experiences have not only deepened the volunteers' summer volunteering experiences, they have also made lasting impressions on the students, helping to mold them into the kind of health practitioners they intend to be in the future.

      "Volunteering provided me with a glance into my possible future and inspired me to believe in myself," says Anastasia Veresciac, a Brooklyn College student who volunteered in the cardiac catheterization laboratory and the mother/baby unit for the summer. "The best part was listening to patients talk about their memories and lives. One of them told me to '. . . never forget, always forgive, an never hold a grudge.' I cried."


      While many students are from local colleges, such as Hunter College, Brooklyn College, and NYU, others are with us from as far away as NYU Abu Dhabi and McGill University in Montreal.

      May 2012

      Christine Derys, Project Contact Volunteer

      This month’s volunteer of the month, Christine Derys, has not been working at New York Methodist very long, but has already made an enormous impact on one family. She was working in the ER one evening May 3rd when Kim Smith walked in with her two young, and very upset, boys. Gael, age 4, had been playing at home when he ran into a door, tearing a gash in his eyebrow. He and his older brother, Elijah, were hungry and wound up, when Christine walked by and noticed them. She stopped to talk to the boys, who took to her warmth and charm instantly. “I could tell as I interacted with the boys and made them feel more comfortable, [their mother] began to calm down,” she said.

      Christine saw them through the long evening in the ER, continually checking on them. She talked to them about what had happened, played with them for a bit, and then helped their mother to find some snacks and toys. Both the boys and their mother relaxed and actually had some fun while waiting. In fact, they bonded with each other and with Christine.

      “In a very stressful situation,” said Smith, “she was my light. I will never forget her demeanor and the beautiful energy I saw her put forth in every single thing she did that evening.”

      “In the fast paced environment such as the ER, doctors are attending to many things at once,” said Christine. “It is easy for patients to feel overlooked, and the anxiety of waiting can be overwhelming. I am glad that I was able to be there for this family.”

      Who Christine is . . .

      • She is a senior at Brooklyn College, majoring in English and Pre-Med.

      What Christine does at NYM . . .

      • She has been volunteering in the Project Contact program in the NYM emergency room since February.

      What volunteering at NYM has taught Christine…

      • “As a volunteer, I've realized that it's the small things that can truly turn someone's stay at the Hospital around”

      • “It is easy to feel little amongst the doctors, nurses and other workers, but then I remember that just listening to a patient about their complaints, or getting them lunch, or checking on them is enough and will help me as I journey into the field of medicine.”

      • “I believe that a good doctor or medical professional does his or her best to do whatever it takes to make a patient feel secure. Although the feat is not easy, it should be done because when you a strip a patient away from their illness, they are human, and deserve respect and dignity.”

      • April 2012

        Cindy Kuo, Patient Care and Sparks of Life Volunteer

        NYM volunteer

        For the past three years, our volunteer of the month, Cindy Kuo, has worked to help patients at New York Methodist feel better. She has brought them water, changed their sheets, and kept them company. Recently, she started tending to them in another way: playing the piano and singing for them in the solarium on the 8th floor. 

        “She has the voice of an angel,” said Majorie, the head nurse on the eighth floor. “She brings joy to the patients. She is a real asset to what we do here, providing therapy for the soul and spirit, much as rehab is therapy for the body.”

        Patients are in rehabilitation for anywhere from ten to 25 days, and according to the staff, her visits give them something to look forward to. “Cindy is very accomplished, but very humble,” says Majorie.

        Who Cindy is . . .

        • She has volunteered in patient care since 2009, serving over 300 hours. She added the Sparks of Life program to her schedule earlier this year.
        • In addition to piano, she plays guitar and violin.
        • She is currently pursuing a B.S.N. at SUNY-Downstate, with eyes on an NP degree.

        What Cindy does at NYM . . .

        • She has worked over 300 hours, including patient care at Infill 5, on the Medicine and Surgery Unit; on 8 North, Infill 4 and the Cardiac Catheterization Unit.
        • She plays the piano in the Sparks of Life Program on 8 South once a week (and sings, if coaxed!)

        What volunteering at NYM has taught Cindy…

        • “It has definitely made me a more compassionate person and grateful that there is such a thing as volunteering. When people come into the Hospital, they are usually in a vulnerable state. In a matter of ten minutes or an hour, you can sometimes make a connection that leaves both parties with a lasting impression and a touching memory.”

        • “With the Sparks program, I have come to realize how therapeutic music can be. It can bring patients back to another period of their lives. It elicits positive memories and feelings, and serves as an emotional de-stressor and a pain detractor. There are so many encouraging, healing elements to music and I am delighted to be part of this project.”

        • March 2012

          Ante-Partum Volunteers Margaret Johnston and Debbie Dorfman

          Ante-partum Volunteer

          Our ante-partum volunteers teach hospitalized expectant mothers to knit and crochet. Many stay at the Hospital for only a week but  the expectant mothers who need to stay for a longer period of time are sometimes at risk of feeling isolated and inactive. According to Rose, the nurse manager on the unit, "Knitting gives them an activity that lifts their spirits.”

          One patient, who has no prior experience with knitting, is currently knitting squares that she will eventually stitch together into a blanket for her new baby. She is also planning to make booties for her baby, if she has the time. In any event, the knitted baby things will be a reminder of the difficult, but ultimately rewarding time she spent at New York Methodist.

          Margaret Johnston, Time out for Fun and Ante-Partum Volunteer

          Who Margaret is . . .

          • A retired administrative assistant for a Manhattan law firm
          • A resident of Bay Ridge

          What Margaret does at NYM . . . 

          • Started volunteering in the Ambulatory Infusion Center in September 2010, serving lunch, finding blankets when patients asked, and teaching knitting. At the infusion center, she primarily teaches cancer patients who are at various stages of treatment. “Many patients just like to have company to help pass the time.”
          • Recently began teaching knitting in the ante-partum unit, where mothers-to-be are quite receptive to the idea of having something engaging to do while they wait out their pregnancies. “Learning how to knit seems to really help them pass the time, keep their minds occupied and have the satisfaction of making little items for their babies.

          What volunteering at NYM has taught Margaret…

          • “Through both of my volunteer positions I have met many wonderful people, both patients and staff. I'm always impressed by the grace I see and the appreciation shown in difficult circumstances. They have brought something special into my life.”

          Debbie Dorfman, Cuddler and Ante-Partum Volunteer

          Who Debbie is . . .

          • A retired school-based social worker from Westchester
          • A mother and grandmother, living in Park Slope
          • A person with 40 years of experience knitting and crocheting

          What Debbie does at NYM . . . 

          • Debbie began her volunteer service in the infusion center as well as being a Cuddler, holding newborns in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
          • After a couple of weeks, she began visiting the ante-partum unit, and found that expectant mothers are often quite enthusiastic about learning to knit.
          • “Yarn work is my favorite and most relaxing hobby,” she said, a hobby that she hopes will help these mothers-to-be through a challenging time and into their future as mothers.

          What volunteering at NYM has taught Debbie…

          • “Volunteering has reinforced for me that small gestures can make a significant difference,” she said. “It also helps me to remember the importance of personal interaction, and of the value of simple kindness.”

          February 2012

          Nicole Sciarrillo, Sparks of Life Volunteer

          Spoonful of Sugar Program



          Who Nicole is . . .

          • Originally from California.
          • A long-term resident of Carroll Gardens.
          • A first year masters degree in social work student at New York University.

          What Nicole does at NYM . . . 

          • Nicole served as an Ambassador Volunteer from June 2009-August 2010 visiting with patients and caregivers throughout the Hospital giving over 100 hours of service.
          • In December 2010 she created Spoonful of Sugar. 
          • Once a month she coordinates a group of visiting artists to come to NYM and share their talent with the patients, “providing a little bit of sweetness during challenging times.”
          • Artists involved with Spoonful of Sugar are from all media; those who draw, paint, sing, knit, and read poetry visit with individual patients and create a unique gift for the patient.
          • Nicole is in the process of becoming a leader through New York Cares in the hopes of bringing their volunteers into NYM and continuing  to expand the program.

          What volunteering at NYM has taught Nicole…

          • “One of my favorite aspects is seeing how the staff reacts to our visits.  The nurses and all of the staff work so hard and if we can lift their spirits, we know that it will reverberate throughout the Hospital.  I'm very grateful to the Volunteer Department because volunteering at New York Methodist was a great catalyst in helping me to change careers and to choose social work as my new path.”

          Spoonful of Sugar volunteers, Hilary Downes and Christian Gibbs, performing original songs along with classics by the Beatles and by Johnny and June Carter Cash.

          January 2012

          Stephanie Cobham, Patient Care Volunteer

          Who Stephanie is...

          • A long time resident of Brooklyn, Flatlands neighborhood.
          • She worked in finance for over 20 years. After being laid off in 2009 Stephanie cared for a close family member who was diagnosed with cancer.  The family member encouraged Stephanie to enter the medical field.
          • Stephanie graduated this past June as a medical assistant.Her goal in the near future is to complete her studies and become a registered nurse.

          What Stephanie does at NYM...

          • Stephanie serves as a patient care volunteer on Infill 6.
          • Since September she has given over one hundred and thirty hours of service.
          • She has helped to train six new volunteers. "I’m honored to have mentored new volunteers, care for patients with compassion and kindness, and develop relationships with patients and staff.  I do whatever is needed to bring comfort to patients."

          What volunteering at NYM has taught Stephanie…

          • “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care!”

          December 2011

          Surgical Waiting Room Liaisons

          Clockwise: Alice Sandgrund, Robert Henderson, Penny Breiman

          Who the Surgical Waiting Room Liaison's are...

          • Volunteers from the community who have given combined service of 10, 468 hours and over 60 years.

          Josette Fletcher, Margaret Bartsch, Jeanne Capalbo

          What the Surgical Waiting Room Liaisons do at New York Methodist...

          • Guide family members of patients in surgery through the waiting process.
          • Offer a lending hand and listening while family members wait for their loved ones to get out of surgery.
          • Escort family members to recovery rooms.

          Brett Harvey, Sandra Surgan, Les Alan Levinowitz

          The Surgical Waiting Room Liaisons volunteer because…

          • "I volunteer because I'm retired, have time on my hands, and wanted to make a contribution to my community. The moment when family members grab my hands and say, 'Thanks so much for your help!' makes it all worthwhile."  Brett Harvey
          •  "I volunteer because 8 years ago this hospital saved my life when I was very sick, and I feel like I owe New York Methodist."  Les Alan Levinowitz

          November 2011

          Theresa Geraci: Patient Care Volunteer

          Who Theresa is…

          • A native Brooklynite, living in Dyker Heights her whole life.
          • A full-time senior attending Fordham University majoring in Natural Science on the pre-med track. 
          • A future doctor; her career goal is to attend medical school to become a obstetrician/gynecologist.

          What Theresa does at New York Methodist Hospital...

          • Since June 2010 Theresa has served as a patient care volunteer in both the mother/baby and labor-and-delivery units giving over 280 hours of service.
          • She has served as a mentor helping to train countless new volunteers on both labor and delivery and mother/baby.
          • She currently works once a week in the labor and delivery unit assisting the registered nurses and physicians with various tasks, as well as help the new mothers cope with the pain and excitement that they are experiencing with the birth of their child.
          • By working in labor and delivery, she develops personal relationships with the patients due to the crucial events that are occurring at the moment. 
          • “My favorite aspect about volunteering is building trustworthy and personal relationships with the patients, as well as the nurses and physicians, while being able to help each and every one of them.”

          What volunteering at New York Methodist Hospital has taught Theresa…  

          • “By observing the commitment of the nurses and physicians, and experiencing one-on-one relationships with patients, I have learned and observed the meaning of true dedication and service. Knowing what this entails, I now know what it takes to achieve my goals.”

          October 2011

          Roxanne Michele Serville: Ambassador Volunteer



          Who Roxanne is…
          • A native New Yorker who has lived in Midwood, Brooklyn all her life.
          • A customer service expert having worked in the customer service industry for the past 31 years.  She has worked for banks, airlines, and most recently as a Client Services Manager for New York City’s Employee Retirement System.
          • A mother of one son and a grandmother of 4 grandsons.
          What Roxanne does at NYM…

          • As an Ambassador Volunteer Roxanne visits patients and caregivers throughout the hospital offering information and emotional support.  “My favorite part of the Ambassador Program is communicating with the patient’s loved one.  I myself was a caregiver for my mom so I know the joys and the trials and tribulations that they face as caregivers.” 
          What volunteering at NYM has taught Roxanne…
          • “As I've matured, and in part to due to effects that the current recession has had on many of us, I have come to realize that the saying 'money doesn't buy you happiness' is very true, and that my personal gratification doesn't just lie solely in having a career and making as much money as I can. Giving back has become even more important in these difficult times we're living in, and I've always seemed to be the 'go to' person that my family and friends reach out to when they need a 'sympathetic ear' to listen to them.   As long as you have health and strength you need to give back.  I truly enjoy it.”

          August 2011

          Our August Volunteers of the Month have all been a part of the Volunteer Department’s Summer College Internship Program.  Participating students commit to serving a minimum of 12 hours a week for 8 weeks.

          Steven Anglade: Administrative Volunteer


          Who Steven is…

          • A lifelong Brooklyn resident growing up in the Flatbush neighborhood.
          • A junior at SUNY Brockport majoring in Health Administration.  
          • His goal is to get his Masters of Public Health and eventually become a hospital administrator.  
          • Of his future career he says, “Hospitals are not just clinical places, they are also businesses.  As a hospital administrator I want to make sure that doctors, nurses and staff are all getting what they need so that they can best serve the patients."

          What Steven does at NYM...

          • Volunteers  twice a week in the Department of Cardiology and twice a week in the Department of Medical Records for a total of 16 hours a week.

          What volunteering at NYM has taught Steven

          • "Volunteering at New York Methodist has taught me to be more productive and more professional.  It has given me a hands-on learning experience.  I have learned that there is more than just learning in a classroom.  Volunteering here has shown me what my career will really be about.”

          Asmara Kazmi: Patient Care Volunteer


          Who Asmara is...

          • A lifelong Brooklyn resident, growing up in the Midwood neighborhood.
          • A senior Psychology Major on the premed track at Barnard College.
          • Her goal is to become a doctor, possibly an Oncologist.

          What Asmara does at NYM...

          • Volunteers once a week on 7 North and 8 North, and twice a week on Infill 6 for a total of 16 hours a week.  
          •  “I assist patients with whatever they need, visit with patients, help the nursing staff, run errands etc.”

          What volunteering at NYM has taught Asmara...

          • “I think more than anything it has given me a new found confidence in interacting with people.  I have always been a people person, but volunteering here has given me the confidence that one day when I become a doctor I’ll be able to talk to patients.”

          Akiva Pollak: Patient Care Volunteer


          Who Akiva is...

          • A lifelong Brooklyn resident, growing up in the Midwood neighborhood. 
          • He is a junior Macaulay Honors Student at Brooklyn College completing a double major in Biology and History.  
          • He has also served as a volunteer EMT in the Flatlands neighborhood for the past six months.
          • His goal is to become a doctor, possibly in Emergency Medicine.

          What Akiva does at NYM . . . 

          • Volunteers twice a week on 7 North and once a week on Infill 4 for a total of 12 hours a week.  
          • “I help the nurses with anything they need: changing beds, bringing water, handing out meals, stocking supplies, I’m happy to do anything that will help.”

          What volunteering at NYM has taught Akiva...

          • “Volunteering has taught me to be a more compassionate person.  I’ve learned to want to help people who are really in need.  I’ve also learned that I really enjoy patient care.”

          June 2011

           Judith Hooper, Sparks of Life Volunteer

          Who Judith Is…

          • Park Slope resident since  1976
          • Former fashion illustrator and children’s book illustrator
          • Board of Directors Member of Brooklyn Waterfront Artist Coalition (BWAC)
          • An accomplish artist who celebrates life through her artwork using the mediums of: sculpture, collage, topographic landscape, ceramics and works on paper

          What Judith does at NYM…

          • Judith has been an active NYM Volunteer since April 2000
          • She has given over 1,000 hours of service
          • Judith first volunteered with our Reach Out and Read Program.  For four years she read stories to patients in our Outpatient Pediatric Clinic.  But she did more than read stories; she would turn the waiting room into her classroom.  She says, “It was fun because some of the kids had maybe never been read to before.  They would watch in wonder as the words from the stories would come out of my mouth.”
          • She has been a Sparks of Life Volunteer since 2003 teaching art to patients on NYM’s Pediatric, Adult Psych, Geriatric Psych Units and in NYM’s Outpatient Infusion Center.
          • She stresses to patients that, “There are no rules in art.  You just need to have fun and be truthful.”

          What volunteering has taught Judith…

          • “I realized that life gave me the ability to create.  I believe that if you have a gift you need to share that gift.  Volunteering at New York Methodist allows me to share the joy I have in what I do.”

          May 2011

           Matt Dros, Project Contact Volunteer

          Who Matt is…

          • Lifelong Brooklyn Resident
          • Former derivative trader for Bear Sterns
          • After Bear Sterns’ collapse in 2008, with the encouragement of his wife, Matt decided to pursue a career in medicine
          • He recently completed Columbia’s pre-medical post baccalaureate program and will be applying to med school for 2012
          • Recent recipient of Mary Valez Emergency Room Award for his service and the compassion and care he gives to the patients in New York Methodist’s ER.

          What Matt does at New York Methodist Hospital…

          • Matt has been a Project Contact Volunteer in NYM’s Emergency Room since October 2009.
          • He has given over 400 hours of service to this program and NYM’s patients.
          • He says of his time in the ER, “The work is extremely personal with the direct patient contact.  Patients will often confide, rely on and put their trust in me to advocate on their behalf conferring a great responsibility.”

          What volunteering at NYM has taught Matt…

          • “Being an integral part of the ER has allowed me to put myself in the place of the healthcare providers- it lets me believe that my goals are concrete and achievable.”