The Year to Volunteer: Why I Give Back

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Lisa Boudreaux

When my husband and I moved back to Baton Rouge after being away from Louisiana for over 20 years, I started the search for volunteer opportunities. I’ve always wanted to be involved with a children’s hospital, but never lived close enough to one to make it practical to volunteer on a regular basis. When I realized that Our Lady of the Lake had a children’s hospital and that they were building a new freestanding hospital, I knew that was where I belonged.

While there are many reasons why this was a perfect fit for me, the two that were most important were my son and daughter. Our first-born son, Joshua, was born 31 years ago with a chromosome disorder, which resulted in one six-month stay in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) throughout his life.

The care and support we received during those years from doctors, nurses and volunteers were immeasurable. I loved the idea of paying some of that care and support forward. Our daughter, Danielle, played a big part in my decision as well. She was a PICU nurse for five years and is now a pediatric nurse practitioner in Nashville. I know how demanding and emotionally draining that job can be, so I am grateful for the opportunity to help these nurses in some small way in comforting the families of their patients.

I began volunteering at the Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital about six months ago and had no idea what to expect or how fulfilled I would be by my weekly visits. I was assigned the Comfort Cart as my volunteer position, which involves delivering amenities, refreshments, books and activities to patients’ families. Initially, I was a little apprehensive about going into patients’ rooms because I wasn’t sure how the families would react to a stranger invading their private space. It didn’t take long for me to realize that providing them with simple items like toiletries, magazines and water could ease their minds a little, and possibly make their time in the hospital a little less stressful.

I never imagined that pushing a cart through the halls of the hospital could be so rewarding and gratifying. I remember this if I am having a busy day and think I may not have time to volunteer. I know that by spending a couple of hours there I may help someone during a very difficult time and hopefully ease their pain just a little.

There are many other volunteer opportunities that are available, and I would encourage others to visit to find the best fit. By committing to volunteer on a regular basis I know that I will be there the same time each week and if I have a conflict, I can always switch to another day. Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital is a wonderful asset to our community. I hope that you will consider being a part of it too.

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