Since my freshman year, I have been volunteering as an Ambassador at Forrest General Hospital. Even though I have been volunteering there for years now, it never gets boring or repetitive. There is always someone new to meet and have a conversation with or a new task to do that I haven’t ever done before. Ms. Lori and Ms. Vicki are always there with a warm greeting every time I walk in the door of Volunteer Services, which makes every time I go start off on a positive note. My favorite part about volunteering at Forrest General is the people that I get to interact with. You may not think that a conversation during an elevator ride from the first floor to the eighth floor would be enough time to make an impact on someone, but every time I walk away with a new story, life lesson, or even a friend. Being inside of a hospital is not usually a joyous occasion, so I try my best to bring a smile to the face of everyone that I cross paths with. If I can brighten just one person’s day, then my job is done.
COVID-19 has changed many aspects of volunteering at the hospital. Once I returned to the program after it had been shut down in the beginning of the pandemic, there were more regulations to follow and my volunteering experiences looked different than they did before. Instead of walking the halls, making deliveries and helping people find their way around, I was now in the front lobby helping to monitor temperatures and the flow of people entering the hospital. The mask regulation imposed another new challenge while I volunteered; I couldn’t use cues like a warm smile to try and cheer someone up, or let them know how happy I was to be there and be able to assist them. That challenge made me work to improve my communication skills even more. Forrest General Hospital has given me many challenges to overcome during my years as a volunteer and has helped me grow a variety of skills. As I go into my last year as a volunteer, I look forward to the future and am thankful for the years that the hospital has given me.
The program is limited to a certain number of people every year, but Ms. Lori is working to expand the program every year! If anyone is interested in volunteering for Forrest General Hospital, email Lori Roseberry at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Blog post author Emilee McGahee has completed her third year as a Luckyday Scholar. She is majoring in speech pathology and audiology.