Part of what makes our Maple Grove community so great is people’s willingness to give back. Every day, there are people around town donating their time to worthy causes and helping those around them.
At Maple Grove Hospital, volunteers play an integral part in making sure the medical care runs smoothly. Working side by side with doctors and nurses, these volunteers help with operations that support everything from giving birth to saving lives.
We spoke with a few of the volunteers to find out what they do and what makes the work so rewarding.
Tori Odhiambo | Family Birth Center
For Tori Odhiambo, volunteering is a vital part of her life. It’s safe to say that she wouldn’t be the person she is today if she didn’t dedicate some of her time to others. Odhiambo has been volunteering in the birth care unit since June 2012, helping new mothers with basic needs before and after delivery (getting towels, gowns, menus for food and more).
Since her sophomore year in high school, Odhiambo has wanted to volunteer at a hospital. She couldn’t be happier that she got the opportunity to do so at Maple Grove Hospital. “As a volunteer, I take part in contributing to my community,” she says. “By committing myself as a volunteer, I am committing myself to put forth my best efforts at all times.”
Linsy Sharp | Family Birth Center
Like Odhiambo, Linsy Sharp works with young mothers at Maple Grove Hospital. She helps assemble charts, complete administrative tasks, maintain supplies and equipment, and mentor new volunteers.
“When I interviewed for a position as a volunteer it was mentioned to me that they were considering starting a program at the Family Birth Center,” Sharp says. “I basically begged for the opportunity to pilot the position.”
The role was a perfect fit for Sharp, leading her to go back to school to become a certified nursing assistant, and finishing her certificate in 2013. On top of all that, she also works at Rush Creek Elementary, where her own kids go to school, as an educational support professional and is the founder of Hallelujah Hair and Nails, which provides hair and nail care to individuals who are ill. “It is important to think beyond ourselves,” she says. “Talents that are not shared are not talents. Everyone has something to contribute, and you’ll be amazed how rewarding it is.”
John Rumley | Supplies
When John Rumley hurt his leg, he got to experience as a patient the care he supports as a volunteer. He had a large cut on his shin and went to the emergency room to get stitches. Most of the staff recognized him because he had been stocking shelves as a volunteer for several months. “It made me feel even more a part of the hospital,” he says of his experience as a patient. “To see the same faces I do every day working, it was a different and impressive point of view.”
Rumley got involved as a volunteer because he wanted to be part of the community and give to others. He also wanted an activity that he and his daughter Katie, age 16, could share together. Although she no longer volunteers due to scheduling conflicts, they enjoyed quality time together at the hospital.
Neha Potlapalli | Intensive Care Unit/Medical Surgical Center
Like so many students, Neha Potlapalli started volunteering at Maple Grove Hospital to see if medicine might be a potential career path. She has been volunteering since November 2011, when she was a freshman in high school.
“I love the chance to escape from being a teenager to do something that really does help the patients in the hospital,” Potlapalli says. In her role, she helps stock basic supplies like gauze, syringes, socks, water bottles and shampoo.
“When I volunteer, I always ask the nurses if they need any help, and every time, they are shocked by how helpful volunteers are,” she says. “I think it is really rewarding to help someone with their job so much that they are [rendered] speechless by your work ethic.”
Samuel Kaye | Intensive Care Unit/Medical Surgical Center
Samuel Kaye, now a senior at Wayzata High School, began volunteering in the same area of the hospital at the same time as Neha Potlapalli in 2011. He says one of the best things about volunteering has been getting to know people and making new friends.
He is also interested in potentially pursuing medicine. “The medical field is one of the areas in science that I am considering to pursue in my higher education,” Kaye says. “Although I’m not allowed to do a lot of things at the hospital (probably a good thing since I don’t have a doctorate or nursing license yet), I still get the opportunity for insight into the medical field.”
Kaye also relishes the opportunities to speak with patients. “Many patients are feeling down when they are recovering from surgeries, and occasionally I have the chance to talk to them,” he says. “I try to brighten their day with a conversation.”
Here to help
For more information about volunteering at the Maple Grove Hospital, visit maplegrovehospital.org/volunteer.