Learning how to knit, hearing what happened way back
when', or just listening to what's on a patients mind.
These are all things that a teenager can do as a volunteer
at a hospital or health care centre. In Western Newfoundland,
the regional health care corporation coordinates the Junior Volunteer
Program to assist in the delivery of quality health care to the
patients and residents.
Volunteens from left to right (front) Rebecca
Rumbolt, Kelly-Lynn Gould,
(back) Melissa Offrey, Nicole O'keefe & Heather Lavers. .Missing
from photo Heather House.
This program is open to teenagers 14 years of age and over,
with their parents permission. To become a Volunteen you must
submit an application that includes two recommendations. Once
the program board reviews the applications, the Volunteens are
invited to an orientation at the hospital, what is expected of
them, the hospital procedure and given a tour. After a blood
test is screened by the board the Volunteen is ready to begin
work. This can consist of a couple of hours after school or on
weekends, one to three times a week, depending on the teens personal
Some duties of a Volunteen include running errands for patients,
residents and nursing staff, assisting staff on the floor, refilling
water jugs, watering plants, delivering flowers, assisting with
special programs and events, visiting with patients and residents,
writing letters or playing games to help the time pass pleasantly.
Melissa Offrey, one of this year's Volunteens said she wanted
to join the program because, "I want to improve myself and
become more considerate and caring. This program is will do that
for me. If my work brings even a little happiness to someone's
life that makes me feel good."
Paulette Critchley, acting site manager at the Rufus Ginchard
Health Center, is pleased with the work of volunteers.
"I think this is a wonderful program, especially for
our long term residents. The Volunteens can do little extras
for them that the staff don't have time for, such as reading
them a book or writing letters for them," says Critchley.
"This program has equal benefits for the teenagers who
are volunteering. It is a good way for them to see if they want
a future career in this field of work, it also lets them know
that they can make a difference by helping someone who really
Volunteering in the health care sector is a good way to expose
yourself to the realities of life. It is also a good way for
the elderly residents in the hospital to have company and do
regular activities. It makes their living environment more like
home which helps them not to get lonely. Being a Volunteen makes
you feel good as you help others to feel good. Help someone by