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URMC / Strong Memorial Hospital / Friends of Strong / The Best of Friends Blog / July 2018 / Friends of Strong Welcomes Nearly 300 Area High School Students to the URMC Family

Friends of Strong Welcomes Nearly 300 Area High School Students to the URMC Family

These motivated young men and women, from more than 50 high schools throughout UR Medicine’s service area, will spend eight weeks at UR Medicine sites this summer. They share similar interests in serving and improving our community—many with a desire to pursue a career in health care.

Throughout the hospital—and at some off-site clinics—these enterprising young students will spend a minimum of 30 hours supporting our Patient- and Family-Centered Care (PFCC) initiatives.

Driven To Succeed

This is the 28th year Friends of Strong (FOS) has hosted summer volunteers who deliver flowers, help at the Information Desk, assist in ambulatory clinic waiting rooms, and more.

Grace Staub, 16, who cites reading, drawing, taking dance lessons and playing the violin and piano among the things she enjoys in her free time, is volunteering with FOS to give back to the community, go out of her comfort zone and gain some leadership skills outside of the classroom.

Having previously volunteered in an elementary school art classroom, Grace says that serving makes a two-fold difference. Volunteers gain valuable experience while those helped receive valued support by their community. While she’s here, you’ll see Grace helping our patients and guests find their way around the Medical Center. When she’s not here, Grace hopes to fit in some travel and more practice for her driver’s license road test, as well as continue evaluating her college options.

Julian Joseph, 14, who revels in playing violin and swimming competitively, sees volunteering at Strong as a great opportunity to do something meaningful for the community. With his eyes set on the medical field, he feels that “volunteering affects the experience of all members of the hospital, especially the patients, who benefit from a more comfortable path to health with the help of volunteers.”

“These volunteers contribute greatly in helping us provide a more comfortable healing experience for our patients and their families,” says Sandy Arbasak, director of Friends of Strong. “They're friendly, they have time to spend with patients and families, and they care deeply about helping in the community.”

Field hockey player, Molly Haller, 17, loves school, spending quality time with friends, meeting new people, and interacting with patients, which is one of the many reasons she likes to volunteer and has returned to the Friends of Strong program for a fourth year.

“I originally decided to volunteer because I wanted to be a doctor and wanted to experience the atmosphere of a hospital, but I keep coming back because of the amazing experiences I’ve had volunteering here,” Molly says. “Each year I find myself coming back simply because I love to interact with patients and hear about their amazing life stories and to see the smiles on their face when I bring them flowers or when I take them down to be discharged.”

Colette Sayegh, 17, is also spending her fourth summer with Friends of Strong, each year volunteering in Wilmot Cancer Center. But she also volunteers for similar causes throughout the year, assisting at a day camp for kids with Type 1 Diabetes, the Stroll for Strong Kids, Cystic Fibrosis Walk, and the Breast Cancer Walk. In her free time she enjoys spending time with friends and family and working with her church youth group, dance and music.

“Volunteering gives me an opportunity to spread joy to those I am helping and it makes me happy to know that I’m making a difference for those I’m interacting with,” Colette says.

Getting Started

Prior to beginning their assignments, 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.

Department Participation Makes It Possible

“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 ambitious students," says Joyce Stadtmiller, volunteer program manager.

“A decentralized volunteer program such as ours really does depend on individual departments’ willingness to step up and create meaningful volunteer roles in their areas,” Sandy adds. “It truly helps us makes a difference for those we serve.”

When you spot one of our student volunteers wearing a burgundy-colored Friends of Strong polo shirt this summer, please offer them a welcoming “hello” and thank them for volunteering with us.

For more information on volunteer opportunities at Strong Memorial Hospital, visit the Friends of Strong website, or call the Friends of Strong Office at (585) 275-2420.

About Friends of Strong
Friends of Strong is a dynamic volunteer organization enhancing the health care experience for patients, families and visitors throughout Strong Memorial Hospital. Together with more than 1,300 volunteers who collectively serve approximately 142,000 hours annually, we help create a comfortable, healing experience for patients and their loved ones. We push wheelchairs, we help patients find where they’re going, we provide pet therapy and much, much more.

In addition to our volunteer program, we work together with our community leadership council and others to raise funds in support of patient- and family-centered care throughout the hospital. Since 1975, we’ve given more than $16 million to departments and programs throughout UR Medicine's Strong Memorial Hospital.

Matt Ulakovic | 7/9/2018

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