Sabadosa: Volunteers make a difference at Advocate Christ Medical Center
By Regina Sabadoda Citizen Journalistemail@example.com August 9, 2012 2:44PM
Pictured (from left) are Pat O’Brien, Mary Maguire, Sara Sabadosa and Susan Schaffrath. | Supplied Photo
Updated: September 13, 2012 6:05AM
Susan Schaffrath has nothing but praise for the volunteer force at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn.
According to its website, Advocate Christ welcomes “all volunteers ages 14 and older and we ask for a minimum commitment of four hours per week for one year. In addition, we offer a special 32-hour service program for students.”
“Our hospital staff couldn’t do what they do without volunteers,” said Schaffrath, the manager of guest services, senior advocate and volunteer services.
Pat O’Brien has been volunteering for five years since his retirement as a manager at SouthSTAR Services for the developmentally disabled. These days, O’Brien is a regular volunteer in cardiac rehab, where he does clerical tasks to help patients with their rehab programs, freeing up nurses’ time for other duties.
Mary Maguire was a stay-at-home mother and then a caregiver for her own mother. When her mom passed away, she looked for something to fill her time.
For the past two years, Maguire has been volunteering in various roles — delivering flowers, subbing in reception and assisting family members in the surgical waiting area. She said she loves being a volunteer and especially appreciates that “volunteering gets you out of the house and allows you to meet new people.”
My daughter, Sara Sabadosa, is a college student and a first-year cookie volunteer. This is a new volunteer program started this past April. Sara, 20, is one of several volunteers who bakes cookies and then personally distributes them to patients and their visitors.
“It is part aromatherapy and part the pleasure of enjoying a hot, baked cookie,” said Roberta Seliga, who has overseen volunteers for the last six years.
After baking the cookies on carts close to patient rooms, the volunteers make surprise visits to patients in areas such as rehab, cardiovascular, oncology and maternity.
Sara mentioned that while making her cookie deliveries, she often hears, “You just made my day so much better.”
Volunteers may also be assigned to some of the offsite facilities affiliated with Advocate Christ, including the EMS office, the Breast Care facility and the new Outpatient Center in Palos Heights.
There are 52 volunteer opportunities, and each volunteer is assigned based upon need and how well each is suited for the job. Assignments may include wheelchair transport, greeting patients, mailroom or information processing for new patients.
Schaffrath reported that in 2011, 910 volunteers clocked an astounding 61,421 hours of service. She has observed selfless dedication from their volunteers and attests that they make a significant contribution to the quality of care provided to both patients and guests.
“Our volunteers come from a variety of backgrounds and include teenagers, college students, business executives, homemakers and retirees,” she said. “As a member of our health care team, volunteers enjoy a variety of benefits, such as learning new skills, making new friends and enjoying the personal fulfillment that comes from helping others.”
Advocate Christ Medical Center is always looking for more volunteers. To schedule an interview to become a volunteer, visit www.advocatehealth.com and click on the “Giving” tab and follow the “Volunteer Opportunities” link to the online application, or call (708) 684-5248 Mondays through Fridays from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
News from our neighbors
Linda Nelson, of Oak Lawn, would like to thank everyone who contributed to “Nick’s Christmas in July.”
In memory of her son, Nick Nelson, she was able to begin fulfilling her dream of bringing joy to the heart patients at Advocate Hope Children’s Hospital.
A special thanks to the following families: Menker, Klosak, Groll, Randall, Dudek, Doyle, Musso and Esch. Taylors Candy in Alsip also made a difference. To the long list of generous donors who are not mentioned here, she thanks you from the bottom of her heart.
The third annual Joe Bartkowiak Memorial Golf Outing is at noon Aug. 26 at the Meadows Golf Course in Blue Island. The outing is sponsored by Our Lady of Loretto Men’s Club, of which Bartkowiak was a founding member. He died in October 2009 in a work-related accident.
For more information, contact Rick at (708) 422-0217 or Don at (312) 203-6669.