How to give back: What student volunteers have learned (w/VIDEO)

December 23, 2013 | by Denise Heady

The fifth in a series about how to give, and give back, during the holiday season … Giving back doesn’t have to mean giving money. At City of Hope, a special program makes giving (and giving back) easier for young men and women attending college. In collaboration with Claremont McKenna, Pitzer and Scripps colleges, City of Hope’s Volunteer Services Department created the Student Resource Advocate Program. Through that program, students help reduce stress and anxiety among both patients and caregivers. As a volunteer, the students greet and interact with patients and caregivers in the outpatient clinics, inform them about community resources, help them become more acquainted with City of Hope and assist them with special projects as needed. “It’s a really unique opportunity to actually talk to people who need help,” said Chase Pribble, a current volunteer and a junior at Claremont McKenna. “You get to see patients and really understand what it means to help someone who needs it.” Students have the chance to interact with patients on a daily basis and give them that extra assistance. “City of Hope is very patient-orientated,” said Maria Ceja Rodriquez, a senior at Scripps College. “The focus is on all aspects of the patient, not just their medical care. They help with emotional care and give support in every other aspect of the patient’s life.” Here a few student volunteers share with us what they have learned by volunteering at City of Hope.
  • Be grateful and appreciative for what you have. Patients' attitudes are usually overwhelmingly positive and inspirational, said Diana McDonnell, a senior at Scripps College, making her realize how grateful she is for what she has.
  • Volunteering is rewarding. Volunteering is often viewed as giving to others, but it can also be a gift to the volunteer as well, Ceja Rodriquez said.
  • Little things can make a difference. A friendly conversation with patients and their caregivers, or even just a smile, can really make a difference in their day, said Amelia Hamiter, a sophomore at Scripps College.
  • Never give up. Many patients face tough situations, but the way they approach the challenges is inspiring, Pribble said.
The students elaborate on what they learned in the video above. To find out more about the Student Resource Advocate Program and other volunteer opportunities at City of Hope, click here.  
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