From Candy Striper To Senior Management RoleWhen Marina De Luna joined the Victoria General Hospital Foundation as Stewardship and Grants Manager, her first day included a tour of the hospital. “It felt like a very familiar place and I was flooded with memories,” she recalls.
That’s because as a high school student in the 90s, Marina volunteered as a candy striper throughout the hospital.
“My best friend Danielle Cadieux’s mother (Gladys Cadieux) worked at the hospital at the time and she encouraged Danielle and me to sign up to volunteer. When she told us about all the things we would get to do as candy stripers, we jumped at the
Connected with older adults, new mothersIt turned out to be a great experience, says Marina, as she shares her memories from that time. “As a candy striper, I volunteered in various areas of the hospital and especially enjoyed connecting with older adults and new mothers. I remember helping the nurses with administrative tasks, bringing a cart to patients' rooms so that they could get things like a newspaper or snacks, taking patients outside for some fresh air and many other “as needed” tasks that would come up. As a candy striper, I volunteered for a full day (Saturdays) and the days would go by fast. I remember gathering for lunch with the other candy stripers where we would excitedly share our experiences.”
Marina learned some important life lessons. “Volunteering as a teen provided me with a lot of opportunities to learn and grow. Looking back now, I am amazed at how much I was able to be involved with at the hospital and I am grateful for the life skills that I gained from the experience. Volunteering at the hospital gave me a feeling of independence and I gained confidence as I continued to undertake new responsibilities. I always felt valued by all the staff, patients, and families that I worked with but most importantly I felt that I was able to make a positive difference in patients’ lives and I found that very rewarding.”
Keeping patients, families, staff, volunteers in mindShe’s grateful for the opportunity to be back at the hospital as of November 2021. “In my role as Stewardship and Grants Manager, I keep patients, families, staff, and volunteers in mind in all the work that I do."
“The first-hand experience that I gained as a volunteer at the hospital contributes to my current commitment to improving the health and well-being of those served by the Victoria Hospital through the work that I do at the Victoria Hospital Foundation,” says Marina. She continues to be inspired by the compassionate healthcare professionals and volunteers who work in partnership with patients and families to provide respectful and dignified care.
“I am very pleased that the Guild continues to offer a youth volunteer program and I would encourage youth to take advantage of this opportunity. The time and energy that you give as a volunteer are investments that truly make a difference; not only in your own life but in the lives of others when they need it the most,” Marina adds.
Contributed by Zdenka Melnyk, Communications & Publicity, Guild of Victoria Hospital