Volunteer Opportunities at Mayo Clinic Health System

(Narrorator) It’s early morning as Michelle
Messer and her four-legged friend Hunter arrive for their workshift. Sporting their matching vests and official
name badges. This dynamic duo is ready to hit the ground
running, Ok, politely walking on a leash, no running allowed. to greet patients and offer a comforting word
or a paw to patients. Michelle and Hunter are a volunteer team,
part of the popular Paws Force Pet Therapy program here at Mayo Clinic Health System. (Michelle) There are many reasons why I volunteer
at Mayo Clinic, but probably the most important one to me is because they saved my life, and
I wanted to give something back to Mayo Clinic. (Narrorator) Michelle is living with stage
for ovarian cancer. Years ago when she was first diagnosed her
odds of surviving even a few months were incredibly slim. She’s undergone grooling surgeries and chemo,
twice, and she still here at the hospital and clinic, no longer is a chemotherapy patient,
but as an active volunteer. (Michelle) I also volunteer because, me being
a past chemo patient, I am able to give hope to other patients and I see the joy when they
see the dog and that brings me joy. Whenever I walk into the waiting room or walk
up to a chair it’s an instant smile. So, bringing that joy to people is, it just,
it fills me up. It just fills me up, and it fills them up
and a smile can be so simple. I mean it’s just such a simple thing, but
it just, ah, changes everybody’s outlook. (Loew) A lot of our volunteers are either
former patients or families of patients, that come back and want to give back something. Jennifer Loew, Volunteer Services Director
at Mayo Clinic Health System, says volunteer like Michelle are inspiring. The biggest thing about Michelle is just her
incredible positive attitude, and her outlook on life, and her fight, her fight to be here,
her fight to be involved and stay involved. It’s just inspirational. That’s, you know, it’s like, who do you want
to be when you grow up or, you know, if you’re if your tagged with something bad, a rough
diagnosis, that’s what I want I to be. I want to be the fighter. (Narrorator) Loew admits it takes an army
of volunteers to make this healthcare community thrive. Each year more than 700 volunteers support
Mayo Clinic Health System in Northwest Wisconsin and more are always welcome and needed. There’s room for everyone, from high school
students to retirees. (Loew) You know, some of the more widely known
are step force, where they are transporting and escorting patients for the hospital and
clinic, but other areas like our critical care waiting area where your in the back,
working mostly with the families, and communicating with them, helping get them a warm blanket,
making warm, fresh coffee, or maybe making coffee for the staff because that’s what they
need. Another place is our patient companion, where
we have volunteers that are going to visit our palliative care patients and just hanging
out, having conversations. Maybe playing a game or reading a book or
writing a letter to somebody if that’s what they need. Gift shop volunteers, information desks, almost
all of our information desks are staffed by volunteers. (Narrorator) In case you were wondering about
the numbers, Loew says Mayo Clinic Health System volunteers contribute roughly 80,000
hours of service annually. That’s the equivalent of nearly 40 full-time
employees, a true gift who’s value is priceless. (Loew) Treating them like they are a treasure
is so important, so important to build the program and so important, then, so that they
can share that treasure with our patients, with our staff, with our families. (Michelle) I think volunteering as a win-win,
because it’s really good for me, because I am not working now, to get out in the public. And, um, do something that’s helping somebody
else. So, when your helping somebody else, you feel
better. So, it’s helping my health, as well as it
is helping theirs. For more information about becoming a Mayo
Clinic Health System volunteer, please call the number on the screen, or go to Mayoclinichealthsystem.org
to learn more.