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Welcome to Friends of Strong

Sharing Our 'Thanks' with Strong's Newest Crop of Summer Youth Volunteers

Nearly 300 area high school students interested in getting a taste of working in health care recently joined the ranks of the Friends of Strong volunteer program.2016 High School Students

You’ll see them helping out in a number of areas around the Medical Center and at some off-site clinics over the next eight weeks. Throughout the summer program, students ranging in age from 14 to 18 will spend a minimum of 30 hours serving in support of our Patient- and Family-Centered Care (PFCC) initiatives.

These ambitious young men and women from throughout our community will provide such support as delivering flowers, helping at the Information Desk, and assisting in Ambulatory clinic waiting rooms.

“The volunteers fit in perfectly with our PFCC initiatives,” says Sandy Arbasak, director of Friends of Strong. “They're friendly, they have the time to spend with patients and families, and they care deeply about helping in the community.”

2016 High School Students 2This year’s class features students from more than 50 Rochester-area high schools. One of those students, Penfield's Meaghan Lurz, says that her two older siblings inspired her to sign up this summer. Both of them are Friends of Strong veterans, now off to college themselves. 

Prior to starting, each volunteer completes all hospital-mandated training, including HIPAA training, meeting all hospital requirements for working with patients, UR Medicine’s Staying Safe: Education for Minors Who Volunteer at SMH, and the Mandatory In-service Education Manual, as well as all proper health screenings. Each student also dons a University volunteer ID badge to identify themselves to visitors and patients.

“We're very appreciative of all the departments—both long-standing and new—which have stepped up to design and offer activity descriptions and placements for this year's group of aspiring students," Sandy adds. “If it sometimes takes a little more effort to make sure the students are utilized, it’s worth it because patients and families tell us how wonderful it is to interact with them.”

If you spot a student volunteer wearing a burgundy Friends of Strong polo shirt  this summer, please offer them a welcoming “hello” and thank them for volunteering with us.

What is Friends of Strong?

Friends of Strong is a dynamic volunteer organization which advances the mission of Strong Memorial Hospital. Nearly 1,500 volunteers contributed more than 125,000 hours by:

  • Providing services to patients, families, and visitors through our various volunteer services
  • Promoting the hospital in the community
  • Raising money to support patient care needs

We invite everyone to become involved! There are many activities that need to be done—from assisting in the Family Waiting Room, volunteering in the Main Lobby, organizing fundraisers, or working with patients directly.

Our employees and volunteers are wonderful people who are making a difference in patients' lives. We take the opportunity to boast about them whenever we can.

Every day.  Every year.  Every purchase you make at the Friends of Strong Gift and Specialty Shops, Finger Lakes Coffee Roasters, and other Friends of Strong fundraising events helps support patient- and family-centered care initiatives at Strong.  Since 1975, Friends of Strong has given more than $14 million to departments and programs throughout UR Medicine's Strong Memorial Hospital.

For more information about volunteer opportunities, please call the Friends of Strong office at (585) 275-2420 or email us at