For more than 25 years I have been a volunteer, first at LIJ's pediatric center, then at Schneider Children's Hospital, and now at the Cohen Children's Medical Center. The experience of working with children, under the capable direction and supervision of the Child Life Department specialists, is as rewarding today as it was when I first started volunteering. Every day as a volunteer is different, but if you give your best to the children, their parents, and everyone you come in contact with, you leave with as much, if not more, satisfaction and pleasure than you gave. I only hope that I can continue to render this service for many more years to come.
Volunteering keeps me busy. CCMC has the best doctors and a caring staff. I enjoy working with everybody at CCMC. Keeping track of everyone who is in the Pediatric Surgical Waiting Room is a challenge. Sometimes parents come to me and ask if I can call for a progress report. Often a doctor will come out and speak to parents, and sometime after this I will escort them to the PACU. Parents may be under a great deal of stress when their child is being operated on. I tell them I am allowed to wait for a call, but not make a call. They are relieved when I can escort them to the recovery room. Working in the Pediatric Surgical Waiting Room has made me realize how much it takes to be a parent.
Everyday when I leave the hospital, it’s like walking out of one of those “feel-good” movies, the ones that make you laugh and cry at the same time. Each day I fall in love with an infant, 3 year old or a feisty teen, and it feels wonderful knowing that for a few hours I may have helped to make their day a little less stressful or unpleasant by playing a game with them, finding the movie they want to watch or just keeping them company.
The Child Life Specialists at the hospital are amazing and they make ME feel like a queen, so appreciative of any help I give. I’ve had the opportunity to work in different areas of Child Life, which has added to the “learn something new everyday” experience. I’m really happy I made the decision to volunteer at Cohen’s Children Center and hope to continue for a long time.
I am a retired Real Estate Manager and my position was stressful and time consuming. I was hoping that my experience as a volunteer would allow me to work with children, as I believe that this is one way to help feel young. My assignment is to play games and provide toys and other materials to patients in the Pediatric Ambulatory Chemotherapy Treatment (PACT) Unit at Cohen Children’s Hospital.
All of the unit staff that I interact with are very pleasant and attentive to the needs of the children. This is especially true of Faye Brick, the Child Life Specialist to whom I report. Faye is always expressing her gratitude and helps to make me feel very much appreciated. Prior to volunteering I never had the occasion to network with these professionals. However, through their dealings with the patients and their families, one can observe how considerate and caring they are and how integral they are to the facilitating a pleasant experience for the patient.
I obtain much more out of this experience than I provide. I enjoy bringing myself to the level of the children that I spend time with. Playing some of the familiar toys and games like Play-Doh, Monopoly, Battleship, and even trains and cars helps me to reminisce about my youth. Further, learning new games like Uno, Connect 4 and various video games gives me the opportunity to explore new frontiers.
A visit to the hospital can be a very uncomfortable experience. This is especially true for a child who must undergo some type of procedure. It can be frightening, painful and somber. I feel fortunate to be able to relieve children, at least for a portion of the time, from the discomfort of the experience. While both the children and I often forget about the treatment that they are experiencing, I truly admire their courage and pleasant disposition.
My name is Adrianna Sikula and I am a proud volunteer at Steven and Alexandra Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New York. I have been a volunteer in the Hematology and Oncology unit since January 2011. I decided to volunteer mainly because I believe everyone is born with compassion, but how you use it to help others is what matters most. I look forward to volunteering every week knowing that I am going to brighten the day of children of all ages. Through volunteering I have realized the importance of patience and the power of kindness. Human interaction, games, toys and movies can bring a smile to any child’s face. The fact that I am providing a child with joy is my favorite part about volunteering.