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Press Releases

City’s Public Hospitals Honor Manhattan Volunteers and Encourage Others to Answer the Call to Service

Apr 29, 2009

The New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) recognized National Volunteer Week by honoring 7 outstanding volunteers who work in the various public hospitals, nursing homes and health centers in the borough. These individuals represent more than 8,000 men and women who together have dedicated nearly one million hours of service to the city’s public hospitals system over the last year. HHC is also encouraging more New Yorkers to consider the interesting and rewarding volunteer opportunities available to help patients served by HHC. For information on volunteer openings at HHC visit NYCService.org.
HHC’s volunteers serve important supportive roles such as interpreters, patient librarians, patient advocates, chaplains, community and auxiliary board members. Current volunteer openings in Manhattan include participating in a Health Literacy Project, serving as a Patient Navigator and Bilingual Communicator, Patient Escort, Library Assistant and Newsletter Writer.
“HHC volunteers have answered the call to service and exemplify the new era of volunteerism promoted by President Obama and Mayor Bloomberg. Our volunteers are a diverse group of New Yorkers who give back to their communities by donating their time and talent. They are a vital part of our mission to deliver quality, safe, compassionate healthcare to all,” said HHC President Alan D. Aviles. “We invite more New Yorkers to lend a hand in our hospitals, nursing homes and health centers and help us serve the 1.3 million patients who rely on our care every year.”

Manhattan Volunteers Honored

Gloria Calderon of Bellevue Hospital Center, was named HHC’s Volunteer of the Year for her spectacular total of 38,920 volunteer hours in 21 years of service. Gloria, 84, is in Bellevue’s Nursery five days a week, seven hours a day, caring for children and helping concerned parents.
Joan Murphy — former airline stewardess and now a Volunteer Friendly Visitor also at Bellevue who visits patients in the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine. Among her many talents, she is bilingual and serves as an interpreter for French-speaking patients.
Robert Wilson — a former patient at Coler-Goldwater Specialty Hospital and Nursing Facility, gives back by volunteering in the Therapeutic Recreation and Friendly Visitors program. He is the star of a Coler-Goldwater love story: he met and married his wife there.
Lygia Kensenhuis — another former Coler-Goldwater patient and member of the Auxiliary, Community Advisory Board and Patient Care Committee. She is so popular, patients and residents sit in the lobby waiting for her to arrive.
Dalia Soto — works in the Volunteer Department at Gouverneur Healthcare Services. She coordinates events and programs that the hospital sponsors throughout the year, including the Revlon Walk and the American Cancer Society Making Strides against Breast Cancer walk. She is a member of the Auxiliary and Community Advisory Board and is very active in the Lower East Side community.
Frizeel Rubain — of Harlem Hospital Center, serves as surrogate grandmother to the children in the pediatric clinic and engages them in creative, fun, educational and recreational activities as they wait to see their doctor. The activities include reading stories, coloring, playing games and leading arts and crafts activities.
Felicita Laguna — a young 92 year old volunteer assigned to the Reach Out and Read Program at Metropolitan Hospital Center’s pediatric clinic. She reads to the children and assists them with play and art activities. In her six years volunteering, she has logged more than 6,000 hours of service.

Contact: Ian Michaels (HHC) (212) 788-3339.

About HHC

The New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) is a $6.7 billion integrated healthcare delivery system with its own 420,000 member health plan, MetroPlusHealth, and is the largest municipal healthcare organization in the country. HHC serves 1.4 million New Yorkers every year and more than 475,000 are uninsured. HHC provides medical, mental health and substance abuse services through its 11 acute care hospitals, five skilled nursing facilities, six large diagnostic and treatment centers and more than 70 community based clinics. HHC Health and Home Care also provides in-home services for New Yorkers. HHC was the 2008 recipient of the National Quality Forum and The Joint Commission’s John M. Eisenberg Award for Innovation in Patient Safety and Quality. For more information, visit www.nychhc.org/hhc or find us on facebook.com/NYCHealthSystem or twitter.com/NYCHealthSystem.