Stepping Up: The many Facets of an Eastern Health Volunteer

Eastern Health, Volunteer Appreciation Week 2014

Eastern Health, Volunteer Appreciation Week 2014

Eastern Health volunteers step up wherever they see a need. Some assist clients to a medical appointment while others may visit with our patients or residents; work at an auxiliary gift shop to help raise funds for our health care system; or provide palliative care services or spiritual support for those at the end of life. Their roles are as many and varied as are our volunteers themselves.

April 6-12, 2014 is National Volunteer Appreciation Week and we want our volunteers to know how much we admire their contributions and value the work they do.

So, we asked our employees and volunteers to share some of their thoughts and stories about the work of our dedicated volunteers.

Here is what they had to say:

“Watching Rick, one of the Palliative Care meal time volunteers, interact with my father was heartwarming to me this past December.  Rick spoke to Dad as if he were the most valued patron in a restaurant.  It provided some comfort to me as I saw how Rick respected Dad’s dignity and vulnerability. While it may seem insignificant to discuss menu options when I knew my father would be having the last meals of his life, I appreciated Rick’s small acts of kindness and his attention to detail.”

Eastern Health employee Gillian Janes on her personal encounter with a volunteer.

(l-r) Volunteers Kathleen Shea and Frank Joy.

(l-r) Eastern Health volunteers Kathleen Shea and Frank Joy.

“My name is Kathleen Shea. My pop, Frank Joy and I, volunteer with Eastern Health in St. John’s. Pop and I visit patients and offer them magazines and newspapers. I really like volunteering with my pop because we have fun together and we share a common commitment to helping others. I smile when I see pop sharing a story or joke with patients as it seems to brighten their day.

Pop says he smiles and feels good when he sees me interacting with the patients we visit. It is a wonderful feeling to be able to give back in some small way! We are a great team, my pop and I!”

All in the family: Frank Joy and his granddaughter, Kathleen Shea, Health Sciences Centre volunteers.

Amy Callahan was interested in a career in PT/OT (physical/occupational therapy) and wanted a bit more exposure in this area so she volunteered with me this past fall.  Although her position probably wasn’t what she initially envisioned, she proved to be very helpful to me and, as a result, to the residents with whom I work.  She was very sweet, pleasant, well organized, and not intimidated by unfamiliar situations or environments. She wasn’t afraid to ask questions and I, like any other health care worker who loves his/her job, was eager to promote my profession!  She offered to help me and other colleagues during her time on site, and she was very adaptable to my own constantly changing schedule. I personally found her assistance very valuable, and because of that, the service I am able to provide was also improved.”

Kelly Fry, clinical occupational therapist, talks about long-term care volunteer Amy Callahan.


Eastern Health Volunteer Olivia Manning.

Eastern Health Volunteer Olivia Manning.

“I have been a physiotherapy volunteer at the Dr. L.A. Miller Centre since January 2012 and have worked alongside Eastern Health physiotherapists in many different roles.

Having fun programs with enthusiastic volunteers and therapists is so important. In my role as a volunteer, sometimes I am just someone to talk to, other times I am able to listen to their concerns and link them with the appropriate professional. Volunteers allow staff to run more of these sorts of programs with ease, so that the patients are involved in many different activities.

My work has made me more certain that I have chosen the correct career for me. I am applying to physiotherapy schools right now, and I really feel like I have seen many different situations that physiotherapists find themselves in, and learned how to deal with many of them.

I also worked at the Miller Centre last summer after winning a grant for a summer studentship with the MS Society of Canada. I have learned invaluable skills that complement and go above and beyond my course work at Memorial University.

The staff at the Miller Centre have been excellent whenever I have questions, and encourage me to undertake new things with their support.”

Olivia Manning, volunteer at the Dr. L.A. Miller Centre, talks about the benefits of being an Eastern Health volunteer.

“I feel very privileged and blessed to be a member of the volunteer team at St. Clare’s. I was a primary teacher for 30 years and when I retired, I wanted to give of my time and energy to the health care system. I am very happy with my role and duties. Over the years I’ve trained new volunteers, fed patients and have been part of the friendly visiting program. I experience great pleasure when I visit patients. They and their families are always very appreciative and have a very positive comment to make about volunteers.”

Margaret Ryan, St. Clare’s Mercy Hospital volunteer since 1999.

The Waterford Auxiliary is seeking volunteers!

The Waterford Auxiliary.

The Waterford Auxiliary.

The auxiliary helps and interacts with the clients of the Waterford Hospital through a number of services and activities such as:

  • Monthly bingo.
  • Weekly afternoon tea and entertainment.
  •  A clothing store that provides good, used clothing to clients at a nominal price.

All funds accumulated are channeled back to the clients, both inpatient and outpatient, which allows the auxiliary to fund much needed outings.

Volunteer with Eastern Health

If you would like to join Eastern Health’s team of volunteers, please contact the volunteer office at (709) 777-4451 or email Visit to learn more!


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