“It’s a good way to get out of your shell,” Anna Lehman said. A senior at Schlarman Academy in Danville, Lehman said volunteering is among expectations at her high school, but she said being a volunteer ambassador does not feel like a chore. Not only does she get to help visitors, but as she plans to study neuroscience in college, the volunteer work provides an opportunity to be closer to the world of medicine.
Student volunteers across the Carle Health system total around 1,200 and, like Lehman, many are interested in pursuing a healthcare field. All Carle locations accept student volunteers, but currently, new student volunteer programs are being developed at Carle at The Riverfront and also at Carle Richland Memorial Hospital in Olney.
“One of the most important roles is that of ambassador. Ambassadors are among the first people patients and families see as they enter and as the name suggests, the volunteers are ambassadors to a good experience at Carle. The person offers a friendly face at the entrance, helps guide visitors, assists with wheelchair transportation and provides an all-around positive influence at the beginning and the end of the visit,” Abby Brooks, Volunteer Services coordinator for the Champaign-Urbana/East Region, said.
Student volunteers typically contribute two to four hours once a week, but depending on availability, they could take on more hours. Some opportunities are year-round, some are semester-based and others focus on summer break, depending on the location.
“They are often surprised by the skills they develop through volunteering. Exposure to the medical field is obvious, but student volunteers also learn to cultivate empathy and compassion through their interactions with patients,” Brooks said.
Students interested in volunteering may contact the following:
Carle in Champaign/Vermilion County: Abby Brooks – firstname.lastname@example.org
Carle in Bloomington/Normal: Sue Seibring – email@example.com
Carle Richland Memorial Hospital: Heather Baker – firstname.lastname@example.org
Carle Health Proctor: Connie Gee – email@example.com
Carle Health Methodist: Tammie Speck – firstname.lastname@example.org
Carle Health Pekin: Rob Hancock – email@example.com
Carle Eureka: Rhonda Payne – Rhonda.firstname.lastname@example.org