“Each one of you are angels from God.” Those were the words of Maimonides Executive Vice President Douglas Jablon as he addressed the 180 student volunteers present at the Annual Volunteer Students Recognition Ceremony.
In total, students spent over 16,000 total hours volunteering — and benefited as did the hospital and its patients. There is no greater example than Dennis, a senior at Brooklyn Tech who will be attending Hunter College in the fall.
Dennis spent his time with many patients that are missing a human connection, “Some of the patients exclusively spoke Russian which is something I would be able to communicate with them in,” he said. “They felt disconnected because many of the nurses did not speak their language.”
Those who spoke at this event made it known to the students and guests in attendance that their work was extremely important to the patients of the hospital. “I think when some of our older patients have contact with younger people, that sense of youth and vigor just enlightens people and makes them feel better,” Maimonides President Kenneth Gibbs told this paper.
Thomas Doherty, senior vice president of human resources, echoed this statement, telling the volunteers, “We couldn’t have done it without you.”
The volunteers ranged from middle school students to high school seniors. They worked in a variety of clerical offices and patient areas assisting heads of department in completing paperwork or participating in patient care. “They are everywhere,” said Alla Zats, director of volunteer and student services at the hospital.
Maimonides also prides itself on having student volunteers that are from a special education background with students coming from schools and programs such as AHRC Middle/High School and Roy Campanella Occupational Training Center. “These students are extremely helpful to support services,” Zats said. “They distribute welcome boxes and newspapers to patients as well.”
Along with the plethora of Maimonides executives that spoke, one standout student volunteer also made remarks. Khalil Lovick, who attends the High School for Medical Professions, commuted an hour each day to get to the hospital so he could continue to interact with patients in the child psychiatry wing.
Lovick was the first high school student ever to volunteer in this area of the hospital and takes pride in that and in the place where he volunteers. In the future, he hopes to work in the medical field and believes he can make an impact on the hospital, saying, “I plan on adding to the welcoming environment of Maimonides.”
Zats is confident that more stand-out youth volunteers will join the Maimonides Medical Center family next school year. Much of the time Zats spent talking to those in attendance was in gratitude for the many schools and people that she has partnered with over the years. “We really appreciate all our partnerships,” Zats said. “Thank you for encouraging students to come to Maimonides.”
Any middle or high school students interested in volunteering next school year at Maimonides can visit www.maimonidesmed.org/careers/volunteers.