From hospital volunteer to nursing student
For some volunteers, the hours spent helping others can be more than rewarding – they can be life changing. Such was the case for Le Bonheur volunteer Ekaterina “Kate” Kumar.
Kumar began volunteering at the hospital in June 2016 and quickly put in more than 100 hours by the end of the year. What started with an urge to give back became a catalyst for Kumar, 40, to make a career change.
In August 2016, the mother of two quit her job to pursue a career in nursing.
“It was something I wanted to do before. [Years ago] I started taking pre-requisites, but then life happened, and I put my plans on hold. It’s something that kept nagging,” said Kumar.
Each week during her volunteer shift, Kumar spends time as a “baby hugger,” rocking, soothing and cuddling babies and toddlers whose parents are at work or simply need a break.
Her time spent with these patients compelled her to do more.
“These babies, they’re the true fighters,” she said. “I’m here to love them and give them warmth. It never feels enough. The feeling you leave with is extremely humbling. And watching those nurses – you see the passion they have for what they do.”
Kumar is currently taking the pre-requisite classes required for a local accelerated nursing program and hopes to land a job as a pediatric nurse in the near future. She says she’s never felt more certain that she’s headed in the right direction.
“I believe everything happens for a reason. I’m so grateful for this experience,” Kumar said.
We need your help
Volunteers serve an important role at Le Bonheur, and there’s a need for more “unit buddies” on our floors. A few hours of your time could make a real difference in the life of a child. Often, as a volunteer, you will benefit just as much, if not more, than the patients and families you help.
Volunteer opportunities include creating crafts with patients, helping at special events, supporting patients and sibling in the Emergency Department, hosting game days and more. For a complete list of volunteer opportunities, visit www.lebonheur.org/ways-to-help/volunteer/.