At Alameda Health System (AHS) our compassionate and dedicated volunteers create welcoming and supportive environments for our patients and families often during their most vulnerable and challenging times.

For volunteer Carlos Perez, a senior at California State University, East Bay (CSUEB) giving back and making a difference in the community runs in the family. His older brother is a former AHS volunteer and his mother, Maria Perez has been a valued member of the environmental services team (EVS) at San Leandro Hospital for more than 25 years.

“They have both served as role models for me and helped influence my career path,” said Perez. “I saw the amazing opportunities my brother experienced as an AHS volunteer and my mom has always encouraged me to pursue the medical field. Volunteering is a first step in exploring that idea.”

Perez has been volunteering for almost a year at San Leandro Hospital and is currently in the medical-surgical (Med-Surg) unit where he supports the nursing staff and helps with patient rounding. In addition, he was recently accepted into the CSUEB Nursing Program for the Fall 2024 semester, with his sights set on becoming either a pediatric nurse or serving as an emergency department floor director.

As one of 185 currently active AHS volunteers throughout the system, Perez wears several hats in service of our patients from offering a friendly greeting and answering questions to escorting them to their medical appointments. “As a volunteer, I’ve had the privilege of meeting many patients and what I value most is being able to help someone in need. My ability to speak Spanish further helps me connect with patients,” he said.

One particular patient made a lasting impression with her words of appreciation and encouragement, telling Perez that he had all of the qualities needed to become an exceptional nurse, especially his kindness and compassion. “This made me feel really good because it made me realize that my help, even if it’s a short conversation, can make a positive impact on someone’s life,” said Perez.

“Volunteering at AHS offers a way to support our diverse community and at the same time experience the rewarding benefit of being appreciated by those you are assisting,” said Jason Pokorny, volunteer program manager, human resources. “Most of our volunteers are drawn to AHS by our mission of caring, healing, teaching and serving all. I encourage anyone who is interested in volunteering to learn more about AHS and consider joining our team.”

In 2023 AHS volunteers contributed 22,985 hours to making AHS a better place for our patients, their families and our staff. During National Volunteer Appreciation Week, April 21 to 27,  join us in thanking our valued volunteers and celebrating their service. For more information on AHS volunteer opportunities and how to apply visit: AHS Volunteers.

Additional volunteer opportunities are available to our patients through the Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC), a group of patients who volunteer their time to engage with AHS staff and providers about their experiences and perspectives on the care and service they receive in our system. To find out more about the PFAC, including why to join, please visit the PFAC website at or apply now.