By sharing their time, talent and energy, volunteers at BC Children's and Women's hospitals strengthen the fabric of our community, now and for future generations.
During National Volunteer Week, which runs April 16 to 22, we celebrate and recognize the incredible impact volunteers have on the community of patients, families and staff at our hospitals. Through kindness, skill, generosity and commitment, our volunteers weave our lives together.
In 2022, 833 volunteers donated over 50,200 hours of their time to supporting various hospital programs, including navigation and wayfinding, the Child Life program, the fun cart, the pet therapy program and the Sibling Support Centre and the Family Support and Resource Centre . In addition, volunteers continue to staff the Still Fabulous Thrift Shop, the BC Children's Hospital Gift Shop and the BC Women's Hospital + Health Centre Gift Shop to raise funds for patient and family support programs, equipment and more.
Hear from some of our dedicated and passionate volunteers as they share their favourite memory from their time here and words of encouragement about volunteering:
Laura, navigation and wayfinding and BC Children's Hospital Auxiliary gift shop and holiday card committees
"Once, a courier had left a box of baking at the BC Women's Hospital Entrance with just a first name on the label and maybe the delivery ward listed as the location. It sat there for a couple hours, but no one was coming to collect it, so I called the courier, who traced the person who ordered it and I was able to unite the baked goods to the new mother!"
"It is very satisfying and rewarding to give a few hours to help patients and families. Don't be shy, there are so many areas a volunteer can help 'behind the scenes' or out in the hallways!"
Danielle and her dog Maggie, pet therapy
"It is hard to pick just one, but my favorite moments include when Maggie pulls me from my car to the door of the hospital each time we arrive, parents telling me that Maggie's visit has made their child smile for the first time that day or even that week, and hearing sweet, small voices exclaiming "It's Maggie! Hi Maggie!" when we come by and Maggie wagging her tail each time, as if each child is her very best friend."
"It so important as a volunteer to enjoy what you are doing! Find a volunteering opportunity that brings you joy."
Eddie, fun cart
"The joy of volunteering comes from within while interacting with people of different ages. One time I asked a mother in the hallway if I could give her child a sticker. She stopped crying after she got the sticker. I felt good in that moment."
"Through volunteering, I find purpose in contributing to the hospital from a different angle since my retirement from the laboratory."
Françoise, BC Women's Neonatal Intensive Care (NICU) Comfort Program
"I love babies so, volunteering in the NICU is extremely special and it brings me joy. Some NICU patients can be in the hospital for long periods of time, so when I see the nurses put up the '100 days' banner above the door, I smile! To see those tiny humans get bigger and stronger is wonderful."
"Volunteering is the greatest gift we can give of our time and skills!"
Ewa, Still Fabulous Thrift Shop
"We help clients by being their fashion advisor and personal shopper, including helping them prepare for events like cruises, weddings and graduations. It is a lot of fun to get to know the clients in this way. It's very satisfying to have them leave with a smile on their face and express their gratitude as they walk out the door."
"Volunteering provides a sense of purpose and community. It gives me an opportunity to meet new people, make new friends and it improves my physical and mental health by stimulating the circulation of "feel-good" endorphins."
Lauren, Sibling Support Centre and Child Life program
"I like seeing how happy siblings are to have a space that is 100 per cent dedicated to them and helping make their experience at the hospital more enjoyable. I love being able to be a part of making the lives of the families here a little be easier by providing a safe and fun space for their other children."
"I hope to make connections with the staff, families and other volunteers at the hospital because I hope to work here one day."
Komal, navigation and Child Life program
"My favorite part of volunteering here is being able to make a difference in a patient's or family's day, no matter how big or small. Having to come to the hospital for any reason can be so stressful, so if I can serve as a distraction to a child's pain or a family's worry – that is immensely rewarding."
"Over the years I have had friends and family who have received such exceptional care here, and volunteering is my way of giving back."