The work is its own reward.
Andrea Yeh began volunteering at Children’s in 2004 as a way to honor a childhood friend who passed away from cystic fibrosis.
The pair became close as lab partners in seventh grade. Her friend was treated frequently for her condition at a children’s hospital in Southern California, and Andrea quickly realized the importance of pediatric hospitals.
“When I moved here with my husband a couple of years after college, I was looking for volunteer opportunities,” said Andrea. “It was something I decided I wanted to do in memory of her.”
Nearly six years and 485 donated hours later, her passion for volunteering is as strong as ever.
“It’s such a rewarding experience to see the kids faces brighten up when you enter their room,” said Andrea. “They want someone to play with. There’s always a need, but not enough volunteers to go around.”
Wednesday nights she volunteers in the Hospital’s playroom and The Craycroft Cancer Center inpatient unit – playing board games, making arts and crafts and watching TV with patients; giving parents a much needed break to shower, eat or have some time to themselves.
“Many kids in Craycroft are either too sick to come down to the playroom or cannot leave their room because their immune systems are compromised,” said Andrea. “So I try to bring the playroom to them.”
Andrea always had a passion for helping others, a trait instilled in her early on in life as a Girl Scout.
“She has a great attitude,” said Child Life Assistant Mary Panella. “I think our volunteers are an important component in helping kids get well. They make it happen for the kids who can’t make it to the playroom. The volunteers could be doing something else with their time, but they’re here.”
In 2009, Andrea and her husband, Ian, welcomed their first child. Being a new mom, she learned some parenting skills through her experience at Children’s.
“It helped that I had a lot more experience in that area,” said Andrea. “I learned how to calm a baby down and how to relate to kids of all ages.”
Volunteering at Children’s has made Andrea more appreciative of how healthy her son is. She plans to instill the tradition of volunteering in him.
“It’s such a rewarding experience to be at Children’s,” said Andrea. “Just to know that this place is here with such good physicians and nurses, it’s what the community needs.”