Published on April 13, 2022

Montage Health Foundation eases volunteers back into service

Montage Health Foundation eases volunteers back

Everyone who works for Montage Health performs a job essential to the health and wellbeing of our community. And serving alongside the staff are a corps of Montage Health Foundation volunteers who contribute a kind and compassionate element to every patient, visitor, and staff experience.

Whether it’s a warm greeting at the front desk, a friendly visit from a therapy dog, spiritual guidance in a time of need, or emotional support during a cancer journey, Montage Health Foundation volunteers are there to provide another level of support, compassion, and guidance, as needed.

In January 2020, Montage Health benefitted from the service of more than 500 volunteers across the organization. Two months later, COVID arrived in our community, effectively closing down all access to healthcare facilities for family, friends, and volunteers—everyone but medical staff and patients. It was an essential safeguard, and yet, it had an emotional toll.

Two years later, Montage Health Foundation has been easing volunteers back into service. Nearly 300 volunteers are now serving at Community Hospital and other Montage Health locations in Visitor Services, behavioral health, the cancer center, the Fountain Court Café, the Therapy Dog Program, and a growing list of other areas.

Their return has been accompanied by extensive training on infection prevention protocols. We have worked hard to bring our volunteers back in a safe manner, enabling them to feel confident in their roles and in their own health and safety as they work onsite.

—Kelly Lepai, Volunteer and Retail Services Manager

Complement of Care

Diane Dobrante volunteer

Montage Health Foundation is encouraging more members of the community to resume their roles or begin volunteering in areas that complement their interests and abilities.

Diane Dobronte became inspired to volunteer as a Patient Navigator for the Comprehensive Cancer Center as a way to give back for what she considers “priceless support” offered by her own Patient Navigator during her cancer treatments. By escorting another patient through her cancer journey, Dobronte is providing emotional support, while helping her navigate a complex medical experience. This complement of care is made possible by volunteers.

Each and every volunteer demonstrates a passion and a commitment to give back to their community. And it seems the experience of the pandemic has further motivated folks to contribute to the health and wellbeing of others, often people they didn’t know—until they began volunteering.

In fact, a whole spectrum of local citizens, from different circumstances and backgrounds, are choosing to serve their community, including volunteers as senior as 92 and as young as 14.

When COVID-19 closed down our daily lives, many people found themselves searching for a way to make a difference. Volunteering is a way of finding purpose for so many members of our community, and we have found that many people are reaching out to us now looking to get involved.

—Kelly Lepai, Volunteer and Retail Services Manager

What volunteers understand is that by contributing their time and support, they are filling a need in themselves, as well. One of the most effective ways to foster our own wellbeing is to encourage it in someone else.

Opportunities to Volunteer

As our community reaches a point in the pandemic where volunteers can, with safeguards in place, return to service, many people may be unaware of the opportunities to participate throughout Montage Health Foundation’s Volunteer Services.

Michael Marshall and CaseyAmong 12 service sectors currently open, volunteers are now actively serving in the Carol Hatton Breast Care Center, Comforts gift shop, Emergency department, Fountain Court Café, Patient Companion Services, Spiritual Care Services, Surgery, Telecare, Therapy Dog Program, Visitor Services, and Behavioral Health, which includes a new grief counseling and mentoring program. More services will continue to reopen each month.

This May, Montage Health Foundation is launching an immersive program for high school students, ages 14 to 18. Students will have the opportunity to rotate through various hospital departments as a way to volunteer while also exploring different fields in healthcare. They will spend the first six months in Visitor Services, greeting folks at the front door, and helping patients and visitors navigate to various departments, so they can learn the layout of the hospital and become comfortable with the environment. After that, based on their interests, they will be assigned to different departments, such as rehabilitation, surgery, and the patient companion program, among others.

“Our purpose in developing our Volunteer Program,” says Lepai, “is to be of mutual benefit to our organization, our volunteers, and to the population we serve. The knowledge our volunteers gain, and the heartfelt feelings they develop in knowing they are helping someone, are significant to all, including the people working in healthcare. Having our volunteers return, with their positive energy and help, is really meaningful to staff morale.”

Many volunteers for Montage Health Foundation have found a shared passion for giving to others, as well as a sense of community among themselves. While working in the hospital, they develop friendships, a connection to the organization, and a shared sense of purpose.

“So much of the last couple of years has been out of our control. While we all deal with how this unfolds and what it means for our families and our community,” says Lepai, “our volunteers become empowered by finding ways to contribute, creating a sense of efficacy in their days, as they help others in our time of need.”

Interested in becoming a volunteer with Montage Health Foundation? Learn about our volunteer opportunities.

Meet some of our special Montage Health Foundation volunteers

Dylan Cartier volunteer

Dylan Cartier, first aid tent and Emergency department volunteer

Read Dylan's story

Diane Dobrante volunteer

Diane Dobrante, cancer patient navigator volunteer

Read Diane's story

Mike Marshall and therapy dog Casey

Mike Marshall and Casey, Therapy Dog Program volunteers

Read Mike and Casey's story

Christopher Harvard, volunteer

Christopher Harvard, Visitor Services volunteer

Read Christopher's story

Bonnie Thornely, volunteer

Bonnie Thornley, Comforts gift shop volunteer

Read Bonnie's story

AA meeting Auxiliary volunteer

Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous group lead volunteer

Read the story

Rabbi volunteer

Rabbi Bruce Greenbaum, volunteer chaplain

Read Rabbi Bruce's story

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