Day Four: LeBonheur Children’s Hospital

To anyone who has ever had the treat of volunteering at the LeBonheur Children’s Hospital beverage cart: can we all agree that Gordon is the greatest? I found myself getting emotional this evening preparing to write this blog, reflecting on my day working with Gordon, the staff and families.

When I hopped off the elevator at LeBonheur Hospital, I was greeted by Volunteer Coordinator Timorie. She generously contacted me bright and early this morning in the midst of the monsoon that took place in Memphis today, to give me an insider tip about a parking ramp that would keep me from taking a single step in the elements on my way to her office. As a first time volunteer, and a former Volunteer Coordinator, I greatly appreciated her going the extra mile.

I was introduced to Gordon, a regular volunteer at the hospital, and we hit the ground running. Gordon explained to me his routes as he serves coffee faithfully Tuesdays and Thursdays at the hospital. The beverage cart, decked out with all the bells and whistles, has been Gordon’s project over the last year. The cart is equipped with all the fixings for coffee, tea, hot chocolate and the “LeBonheur Special” (a hot chocolate and coffee combo). In addition to the complimentary beverages to families staying in the children’s hospital, the beverage cart delivers smiles. While I know this is corny, it is no less true. I can’t tell you how many people were waiting for the beverage cart, or chasing us down through the rounds for a LeBonheur Special.

The beverage cart making rounds every Tuesday and Thursday morning

The beverage cart making rounds every Tuesday and Thursday morning.

In three hours we covered six floors of the hospital. Each floor was designated to a different type of treatment. While the appearance of children changed floor to floor, every family had the common bond of being there for a child they love and desperately wanted to be healthy again.

My interest in volunteering in this setting hits close to home. Throughout college, I spent endless hours at medical appointments, waiting entire days in the hospital for the doctor to give me a three minute update, and spending the night on hospital couches. It does not take moving mountains to brighten your day in this environment. A smile can make your day…a smile AND a cup of coffee? WEEK MADE! Every cup prepared at the cart is done with love.

Hard working RN Evan gets a Le Bonheur Special boost.

Hard working staff get a Le Bonheur Special boost.

While the beverage cart is not delivering lifesaving medicine at LeBonheur, it certainly boosts morale where it counts. Whether it’s a staff member with wet shoes from their 5am commute in the rain looking for a morning boost, a parent on empty looking to try the infamous “special” in the midst of their endless coffee runs, or a child who lights up asking their parent if they can pretty please have a hot cocoa: Volunteer Services provides an invaluable asset to LeBonheur Children’s Hospital.

Thank you for reading! Like what you read? Megan Banaszek is searching for a job in the non-profit sector where she can use her Family Services degree and public service experience to make a positive impact in Memphis. …. Contact her at meganbanaszek0123@gmail.com or jobleads@volunteerodyssey.com.

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Oh my goodness, Oh my goodness!

Me, Gordon and Timorie Stewart!

Me, Gordon and Timorie Stewart!

 

Greetings everyone.  What an exciting day! I worked with Volunteer Services at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital where I was able to play barista, aka, coffee lady.  We went to every floor with a beverage cart offering patients, parents and staff, complimentary coffee, tea, hot cocoa, and a tasty beverage the staff calls the “Le Bonheur special”.  This consists of a packet of hot chocolate and coffee.  Yummy!

My partner-in-crime was a professional volunteer named Gordon who happens to be the father of Timorie Stewart, LeBonheur’s Volunteer Coordinator.  Gordon spends his days volunteering, and his heart is the size of Texas.  You know that feeling you get about someone and think, surely there are angel wings there somewhere?  Well that is Gordon, and the staff and patients love him.  He does the beverage cart every Tuesday and Thursday from 8:30 – 10:30 and can always use extra help!

Me getting hot cocoa ready for a patient's mom!

Me getting hot cocoa ready for a patient’s mom!

Right away Gordon and I hit off. Kindred spirits, you could say.  He gave me a quick tutorial on the beverages and we were off and running!  He immediately let me take the lead, knocking on patient’s doors and offering them and their families a warm beverage.  I couldn’t have hand picked a better first patient room!  I opened the door to find a baby with chubby little cheeks grinning at me from ear to ear who reminded me of a little Shirley Temple! “Oh my goodness, Oh my goodness!”

A very happy drawing for the hallway!

A very happy drawing for the hallway!

Needless to say my joy was also met with much sadness.  As we went from room to room I realized that many babies/children were alone because their parents had either stepped out or were at work.  As a mother, this gripped my heart and I fought tears several times during my day.  Another sad part was seeing complete and utter defeat and exhaustion on the families’ faces.  However, I put on my big girl pants, found my smile and offered them kindness and a little sugary goodness to which I was always met with a smile and thankfulness.

The cool cart made by Gordon!

The cool cart made by Gordon!

Today my biggest revelation was that volunteers are crucial at a place like Le Bonheur.  While I was making my rounds, there was a nurse stopping her work to just hold a newborn because there was no one else.  I challenge all of us with stepping out of our comfort zones and stepping up to lend a helping hand.  There are so many people in need and so many lives to be touched!

Special thanks to Gordon for making my year by telling me, that my love of people is evident!  We all need encouragement, no matter how old we are!

Thank you for reading!  Know an employer that’s looking for someone who’s great with kids? Need an event planner, organizer, or fundraiser?  Send an email our way: jobleads@volunteerodyssey.com or shelly2903@gmail.com.

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