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April 22, 2009 > Washington Hospital Celebrates National Volunteer Week

Washington Hospital Celebrates National Volunteer Week

"Flex" Time Volunteering Offers Rewarding Opportunities

After raising four children and working in the high tech sector for many years, Vickie Jew decided that she wanted to go back to school and train for a new career in the medical field. While attending classes at the Mission Valley ROP (Regional Occupational Program), she became friends with a fellow classmate that also spent her time volunteering at Washington Hospital.

"My friend Rohini mentioned to me how much she enjoyed volunteering at the hospital and told me that I should look into it," says Jew. "Since I was already interested in working in health care and helping people in my spare time, I jumped at the chance to learn more about volunteer opportunities at the hospital."

According to Anna Elola, Washington Hospital's Director of Volunteer Services, now is a great time to get involved with the local community hospital.

"We're very excited about our new Flex Time Volunteer Program because it gives people with a busy schedule like Vickie a chance to help in their community and learn valuable skills at the same time," she says. "Volunteer Services is actively recruiting people that have 'that special touch' and are willing to give the 'gift of time' to the health care environment."

"I work full-time so having a flexible schedule is really important," says Jew. "All I have to do is jump on the hospital's volunteer website and find a window of time that works for me. Lately I've been volunteering afternoons."

In less than three months, Jew has taken on a number of important duties and has enjoyed interacting with patients, nurses and other members of the hospital staff.

"I discharge patients, pick up pharmacy orders and I was just trained to be a messenger between the nurses station and laboratory," she says. "The staff is very helpful and nice to work with and I'm learning so many things everyday. I really feel good about what I do and I have a new found respect for the people that work in the hospital."

Help Yourself by Helping Others

Teresa Smukal's background in health care was one of the reasons why she decided to become a Washington Hospital volunteer. The Union City resident has an AS degree in Health Information Technology from Chabot College and has found volunteering to be a great way to give back and develop a professional network.

"This is the first time I have performed any type of volunteer work and it really feels good to help people and smile," she says. "I'm also learning a great deal from the young people that volunteer at the hospital as well."

Currently unemployed, Smukal says that volunteering has been good for her self-confidence and makes her feel useful.

"Volunteering has given me a purpose to stay productive everyday and it's very satisfying to know that I can contribute in a positive way," she says. "Washington Hospital was a friendly place when I was a patient here many years ago and I'm very impressed with how great a place it still is."

Volunteers Make A Difference

During National Volunteer Week, April 19 - 25, Washington Hospital will be celebrating and thanking the hundreds of people who donate their time and talents to benefit the hospital. Volunteers act as receptionists for the hospital, discharge patients, take pictures of new babies, deliver flowers, feed patients, assist families and patients in the emergency room, give tours of the birthing center for expectant families and staff the Community Health Resource Library.

Flex Time Volunteering

If you are interested in a short term volunteer opportunity, if you want to check out a health related career path or if you are retired and do not want to make long term commitment, please e-mail Volunteer Services at for a "Flex" Time Volunteer information packet. When applying, please provide your name, address and the school you are attending or call us at (510) 791-3465. "Flex Time" Volunteers must be at least 18 years of age and not attending high school.

Become a Volunteer

Prospective volunteers are welcome to attend a monthly volunteer information session at Washington Hospital where they will be informed about current volunteer opportunities for requirements for volunteering. Applications are provided at the information session. Volunteers who meet the health, age and background screening requirements must attend an orientation to learn about the hospital's mandatory safety program.

The next volunteer information meeting will take place on Tuesday, May 12, from 4 to 5 p.m. in the Conrad E. Anderson, M.D. Auditorium, Rooms A & B, located at 2500 Mowry Ave. (Washington West) in Fremont.

For more information about becoming a Washington Hospital volunteer, call (510) 791-3465 or visit

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