Welcome Back, Volunteers!
It has been three long years since volunteers have been seen in the halls at NorthBay Health’s medical facilities. The pandemic put their generous gift of time and service on hold, and their presence has truly been missed.
But a core group began returning this month, and a major recruitment effort to bring more on board begins in September, much to the delight and gratitude of departments around the organization, according to Robin Hunt, who joined NorthBay as its new volunteer manager in May.
One of Robin’s first tasks was to meet with NorthBay leaders about their volunteer needs, and then a group of former volunteers about their interests. It didn’t take long for her to hear both are extensive. Based on the feedback, she reinstituted the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit’s “Cuddler” program, and is bringing back the greeter program at both NorthBay Health Medical Center in Fairfield and at NorthBay Health VacaValley Hospital, to help with badging, and escorting patients and visitors to their proper destinations. They’ll join a core group that continued their service to Hospice through the pandemic, as well as those who worked at VacaValley Hospital’s Alzheimer’s resource center.
Robin will begin recruiting for help in other areas around the organization. She envisions a volunteer offering coffee cart service for the NorthBay Cancer Center’s infusion rooms, and the possible revival of a pet visitation program for the Emergency Departments, and more.
“Our emergency department leaders have said there is a real need to have these service animals return as they provide such comfort to patients as well as staff.”
Student volunteers could return to NorthBay’s halls in September, she added.
Anyone returning to volunteer at NorthBay will undergo “refresher” training, obtain new TB tests, badges and updated position descriptions.
“Our traditional gift shop model will not return, but plans are underway for a new store concept so volunteers can continue to support fundraising efforts for NorthBay as they have been in the past,” she offered.
Before the pandemic, NorthBay Guild numbered around 176 volunteers, which included 60 students. Robin has already heard from 35 volunteers ready to come back.
“Everyone I’ve met these past few weeks is so eager to get the program going again. It has sparked me to get busy! It’s extremely rewarding to see how much NorthBay embraces their volunteers and how valued they are as part of the NorthBay team.”
Learn more about volunteering at NorthBay Health.