Youths provide services to hospital

By JENELLE JOHNSON
Family Living Editor

Register/Jenelle Johnson
Junior volunteer Tessa Rowe, at left, took a few minutes from sorting forms at Allen County Hospital on Wednesday morning to talk with Carrie Riebel, director of ACH Auxiliary’s junior volunteer program this summer at the hospital.

Tessa Rowe hopes working as a junior volunteer at Allen County Hospital this summer will help her choose a career path in the medical field.
A freshman at Iola High School, Rowe said she enjoys working in the different departments and learning new tasks.
“So far I’ve helped mostly with paperwork, you know, assembling packets for the nurses. I’m hoping next week to get to visit with some of the patients,” Rowe said.
Of the five young volunteers, four girls and one boy ages 13 and 14, Rowe is the only one who has worked previously as a junior volunteer.
Throughout July the junior volunteers will work in home health, medical records, radiology, with the nurses on the first floor, in the office of the emergency room, in the kitchen, in administration, human resources and on the second floor helping the nurses who work in surgery and maternity.

CARRIE RIEBEL said she was excited when given the opportunity to mentor the young volunteers, which is being sponsored this summer by the Allen County Hospital Auxiliary.
“A lot of people tell me I’m too young to be a member of the Auxiliary. I didn’t know there was an age requirement to volunteer my time,” she said.
Thirty years ago Riebel volunteered at the hospital as a candy striper and said, “I couldn’t wait until I was grown up so I could become a ‘pink lady’ or most people know us as Auxiliary members.”
Riebel told her young charges that they have to be mindful to wash their hands when they enter and leave a patient’s room. Sanitation is of the utmost importance to prevent the spread of germs.
“I told my junior volunteers they will be providing comfort care for the patients,” Riebel said.
Typically, nurses are busy and don’t have time to sit down and talk with the patients. Visiting with patients, fetching water or showing a family member to the cafeteria will be the volunteer’s job.
“I also told the volunteers to smile when they enter a patient’s room. Even when you are sick, a smile will brighten your day, and if a patient smiles back, well, that is like receiving a reward for your services,” she said.
In August Riebel is planning a pizza party for the junior volunteers and will give each a pin in recognition of their service to the hospital this summer.