Service Series: Miami Children’s Hospital

A student’s perspective on volunteering at Miami Children’s Hospital by Doga Tekin.

What you do: There’s a huge variety of volunteering opportunities at Miami Children’s, but I’ve mainly been part of the Hospitality Cart, so I’ll explain what we do there. Every day the Hospitality Cart is carried out to the units in the hospital twice by volunteers; once in the morning and once in the afternoon. Once we get to our station, we set up the cart with the goods prepared by the cafeteria, necessary utensils, coffee and hot water. We take the cart around the hospital to serve the complimentary food items and drinks to patient families who aren’t able to leave the patients’ rooms to get food. After we run out of food and drinks, we empty the cart and clean everything up.

Where: Volunteers mainly work at the main campus of Miami Children’s Hospital, but it is possible to volunteer at other off-campus locations. Generally, off-campus locations only have two or three specific areas of service.

How often: Generally, high school volunteers will volunteer once a week for at least three hours. However, as long as you have time in your schedule, you can volunteer multiple days as well. Also, you are allowed to miss up to two days every three months unless you have a valid excuse to miss more. If your absent too often, you be asked to leave.

Fun Rating: Volunteering at Miami Children’s is a lot of fun. In the Hospitality Cart, you work with a group of 4 to 6 people, which enables you to learn cooperation skills, and have an excuse to make new friends. Although during afternoon shifts most of the volunteers are high school students, every now and then an unexpected adult is added to the group, which is nice because how often does one get to work with an adult who isn’t their boss or supervisor? Another great aspect is the happiness the cart brings to families. Very often the parents mention that they had been waiting for us and their faces light up when they see us. It’s also a great way to get your hours done since it becomes part of your schedule and the hours accumulate without realizing. Volunteers also get a $7 meal card at the end of their shift, which you can use to buy anything from the cafeteria.