At Alameda Health System (AHS) our more than 130 active volunteers lend their time, talent and voice to make a difference in the lives of our patients and support our vision to be a world-class patient- and family-centered system of care.
“Our volunteers embody our mission by helping to create the ideal patient experience,” said Jason Pokorny, manager, volunteer program. “Their compassion and commitment brings encouragement and support for our patients and their families.”
AHS volunteers are a diverse group of caring people from all over the Bay Area and surrounding communities. Collectively they speak over 30 different languages and range from several months to several years of service. Pokorny shared that the program is unique for retaining long-term volunteers including Gloria Pineo who just celebrated 50 years of service at San Leandro Hospital which was named Doctors’ Hospital when she first started volunteering.
“I always wanted to be a nurse working in a hospital and helping others,” said Pineo. “Unfortunately, due to various circumstances I wasn’t able to fulfill that dream so volunteering took its place. It’s been incredibly rewarding and I’ve gained many happy memories.” As a long-time volunteer for AHS, Pineo delivered favors for patients’ food trays, knitted booties for newborns and her favorite role to date is interacting with patients and their families.
A Wilma Chan Highland Hospital Campus (WCHHC) volunteer for 10 years, Eunice Paredes shares Pineo’s passion for helping patients and most of all supporting vulnerable patients for whom English is not their first language. Immigrating from Mexico to East Oakland in 1999 Paredes and her family didn’t speak English when they arrived.
“I started taking English classes in the Peralta Community College District in 2005 and I am proud to say that in 2022 I graduated from the University of California, Berkeley,” she shared. “This spring I will earn my community health worker certificate and I plan to pursue a career at AHS where I like helping to remove language barriers.” Paredes who volunteers at the WCHHC circulation desk shared that she finds great joy in reducing stress for Spanish speaking patients by welcoming them and helping them get to their appointments on time.
Pokorny is proud that AHS attracts volunteers like Paredes who go on to pursue careers in health care. “Our program is helping to lay the foundation for their future and for the future health and wellness of our community,” he shared.
For example, volunteer Tatiana Lopez is a first-generation college student who is pursuing her goal of becoming a pediatric nurse. A student at Chabot College in Hayward, Lopez began volunteering at San Leandro Hospital in 2022.
“As long as I can remember my interest in health care has always been a constant but it has evolved from wanting to be a doctor, to a nuclear medicine technologist and now a pediatric nurse,” said Lopez. “I’ve learned that what’s most important is to find something you are passionate about and that will bring you happiness. I know I’m off to a great start on my career journey thanks to the volunteer program and the supportive AHS health care providers and staff.”
During Health Care Volunteer week, April 16 to April 22, AHS wants to thank our volunteers, past and present for their selfless contributions in support of our mission.
For more information on AHS volunteer opportunities and how to apply visit: AHS Volunteers