On March 19, the UNC Health Care Volunteer Association will celebrate its 60th anniversary with a reception in the lobby of the N.C. Cancer Hospital from 5 to 7 p.m. With more than 2,000 volunteers, the organization is mammoth in terms of funds raised through gift shop sales ($242,900 in 2011), time donated (10,6631 hours were logged in 2011) and compassion dispensed (an immeasurable figure).
“We are the envy of a lot of hospitals because we don’t actually recruit,” says Linda Bowles, the director of volunteer services. “We have a very committed community – and we have volunteers coming from as far as Holly Springs and up toward the Virginia border. They come from all over. A lot of them find that this is a good way to get connected to the community. We work very hard to make sure that if you want to come in and give your time, we want you to feel good when you leave. We find the right place for you.”
In our March/April 2012 issue, we wrote about four volunteers who are changing lives every day through selfless, compassionate care. Here’s more on the Association.
Specific programs for which the Association is known include:
The Elaine M. Hill Award: Named for a former director of volunteer services, the award is given each year to a volunteer who exemplifies dedication, service and concern.
Pet Therapy: Through this program, patients may request service animals to stay with them during hospitalization. The goal is to improve a patient’s social, emotional and cognitive functioning and help a patient feel safe and loved.
No One Dies Alone: This program, which started in 2010 as a partnership with UNC Pastoral Care, trains volunteers to assist patients who have no family present at the time of imminent death. Volunteers sit with patients, play music, sing, read or hold the patient’s hand. The service is available 24/7.
Tea Service: In 2007, cancer survivor and volunteer Wanda Wooten began serving coffee, tea and cookies to patients and staff in the oncology unit. This weekly tradition has since grown to a team of 11 volunteers.
Through the timeline below, learn a little more about the history of the organization:
1952 North Carolina Memorial Hospital Women’s Auxiliary organized
Department of Volunteer Services established
1953 Cornelia S. Love Patient Library established
1955 First teenage volunteers on limited basis
1956 First service awards given
1958 Infant Photos started as fundraising service area
1960 Teenagers formally organized as Candystripers with 42 girls
1967 Viola Jacobs retires as Director of Volunteer Services
Elaine M. Hill assumes position as Director of Volunteer Services
“Women” dropped from Auxiliary name
1968 Television Rental initiated as fundraising service area
First Christmas Eve trip for Santa’s Sack
1969 Gift Shop opens in main lobby
1970 Jr. Volunteer name replaced former teenage program of Candystripers
First Health Careers Fair held with 93 students attending
1976 Hair Corner opened
1981 Auxiliary changes name to NCMH Volunteer Association
1982 30th Anniversary of NCMH Exposition University Mall
1983 First Holiday Happening held at Morehead State Dining Room
Clothing Closet started
1988 Elaine M. Hill receives Governor’s Award for Excellence
1989 Hospitality Shop relocated to Ground Floor
1990 Elaine M. Hill retires as Director of Volunteer Services
Betty Hutton becomes Director of Volunteer Services
1995 Cranberry Corner Too opens in Neurosciences Hospital
2001 Betty Hutton retires as Director of Volunteer Services
Linda Bowles becomes Director of Volunteer Services
2002 Cranberry Corner Gift Shop remodeled in Memorial Lobby
2005 Volunteer Services Department relocated to new suite of offices Memorial Ground Floor
Lending Library moves to Memorial Ground Floor
2008 Family House opens
Volunteer Association pledges $100,000 to name the Solarium
2009 NC Cancer Hospital opens with a volunteer office and workroom
NCCH Volunteer Coordinator position approved
Butterfly Boutique gift Shop opens
Espress Oasis Coffee Bar Closed
Cranberry Corner Gift Shop has more than $1 million in sales
Volunteer Association begins partnering with UNC Archives to document history
2010 Priscilla D. Bevin Junior Volunteer Scholarship established
Dollars for $cholars $hop opens in Neurosciences Lobby
Click through the slideshow for photos of volunteers from the past 60 years.