Selfless volunteers demonstrate “humanity” throughout our community
Over the past year, we at CHI Saint Joseph Health have officially recognized as A Year of Humankindness. The special year served as the launch of our new brand promise, Hello humankindness, and celebrated the simple acts of kindness in our hospitals and clinics performed by our employees and communities.
Our volunteers are the epitome of humanity. They give so generously of their time and experience within the walls of our hospitals, but also, especially during the time of COVID, at home and in communities. They brighten up the days of our patients and staff – playing the piano in some facilities, helping our cancer care teams, connecting with patients and getting them to their destinations, and working in our gift shops. .
As we have suspended volunteer services at our hospitals during pandemic outbreaks, our volunteers continue to serve. Our artisans contribute to handmade hope – making stuffed animals, cancer hats, prayer shawls and pocket prayer quilts to share with our patients. This allows them to stay connected to our ministry and our community.
Our volunteers run the gift shops in the hospitals throughout the ministry and, starting in February, will assume responsibility for our gift shops at Saint Joseph Hospital and east of Saint Joseph. This new opportunity will allow our volunteers to give even more back to our community as they make decisions about how to use the proceeds at our facilities. For example, in Saint Joseph London, our volunteers use the proceeds from the gift shop, where they work, to award scholarships to the students of our employees. At Saint Joseph Mount Sterling, they have helped Giraffe Omnibeds to care for our youngest patients. Auxiliaries at Flaget Memorial Hospital funded the 3D mammogram.
We have around 300 volunteers across CHI Saint Joseph Health, many of whom are retired. Our numbers generally increase in the summer when we welcome teenage volunteers to our hospitals. Our volunteers say their work in our hospitals gives them the opportunity to stay active and give back to their community. It gives them that human connection we all need, especially as we continue to navigate a global pandemic.
We expect the same to be true of volunteers from other organizations in our community. These interconnections are more than a simple activity transaction given by the volunteer, received by an organization. They highlight an important part of the fabric of our society – enabling us to work together for a common cause of improving our communities and recognizing the humanity that lives in each of us.
It has been a difficult few years as we weathered the pandemic, and we are grateful to our volunteers and those who serve in other ways in our community. As we start a new year and you reflect on your New Year’s resolutions, consider finding a way to give back to the community. Whether in our hospitals, your church, your school or another community organization, volunteering is a humanity.
To volunteer with CHI Saint Joseph Health, visit chisaintjosephhealth.org/volunteer.
By Leslie Smart is the President of CHI Saint Joseph Health Foundations.