Upstate puts its volunteers in the spotlight during National Healthcare Volunteer Week
SYRACUSE, N.Y.-- Upstate Medical University will host a series of recognition events for its volunteers during National Healthcare Volunteer Week, April 12 to April 18. The events are offered free to Upstate’s more than 500 volunteers who range in age from 14 to 94.
As part of the recognition, staff are encouraged to visit the Volunteer Services offices at the Community and Downtown campuses for a We Heart Our Volunteer sticker that can be worn as a sign of appreciation of volunteers.
“There are volunteers in nearly every Upstate department, including the Upstate Cancer Center and Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital,” said Kristin Bruce, director of Volunteer Services at the Community Campus. “These individuals have become our family. This weeklong celebration is a wonderful way to thank them for being an important part of Upstate as they give so much of themselves to support the staff, visitors and patients.”
However, for Upstate volunteer Paige Larioni the act of giving back and helping others is its own reward. Some may know her as the queen of the hospital, others may recognize her smiling face, but for Paige neither matter more than knowing she is making a difference.
Since 2010, Paige and her mentor Karen McClenthan, a social work graduate student at Syracuse University, have been donating their time to Upstate by volunteering through Upstate’s Volunteer Services Department. Paige suffers from cerebral palsy, a disorder that affects her movement, muscles and auditory functions, but she does not let that stop her from greeting patients and helping where she can.
“Paige deeply understands the notion of giving back and giving to people because of all that she has been given in her life,” said Karen. “She really enjoys being able to help and be able to give back. It means a lot to her to be able to do that and she really feels like an important part of the hospital.”
Paige has had upwards of 14 surgeries performed at Upstate throughout her life, which inspired her to start volunteering. The surgeries have helped her to become more ambulatory. Paige uses her recovered abilities to volunteer as an Upstate courier and to assist with hospital special events, as well as a variety of tasks, such as bringing flowers to patients.
Upstate depends on its team of dedicated volunteers, like Paige and Karen, for daily duties performed throughout its facilities. In 2014, the number of services provided by Upstate volunteers, such as transports and deliveries, topped more than 21,600 at the Community Campus and more than 24,000 at the Downtown Campus.
The following events will be held in recognition of Upstate’s volunteers:
Wednesday, April 15
1 p.m. to 2 p.m.: Ice cream social and unveiling of the Gannon’s Volunteer flavor will be held in the Upstate Cancer Center Conference Room (ice cream will be sold to staff.)
Thursday, April 16
1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.: Picnic lunch will be held in the Upstate Cancer Center Conference Room.
Friday, April 17
8 a.m. to 10 a.m.: Breakfast will be held in the Performance Center.
All events for the Community Campus will be held in the Community Room.
Thursday, April 16
2 p.m. to 3 p.m.: Ice Cream Social and unveiling of the Gannon’s Volunteer flavor. Cancer Center Conference Room (ice cream will be sold to staff.)
Friday, April 17
10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.: Breakfast.
Visit Volunteers for more information about volunteer opportunities at Upstate.
For information on how your Upstate department can receive volunteer assistance, contact Rhonda Butler at 315 464-5180.
Caption: Paige Larioni, left, and her mentor Karen McClenthan have been donating their time to Upstate by volunteering through Upstate’s Volunteer Services Department.