Getting started early
As a manager of volunteers, it always amazes me to be contacted by an enterprising young person...especially when they turn out to be too young to volunteer at a hospital (our minimum age is 16). Most of these students are either 1. looking into a medical career and want to know if it is really for them 2. performing service hours for school/church/etc. or 3. Mom and Dad are pushing it. Numbers 2 and 3 are obviously not good reasons for me. Now, don't get me wrong - I think it's great that schools are trying to get students involved in their communities while attempting turn them into service minded individuals. However, this rosy picture doesn't always happen once the kids get to us at our respective organizations. There is a difference between the student that contacted us because they had to/but chose an organization they had an interest in vs. the student that did not think it through. That being said - I do believe you can't start too early teaching children to help others and give of themselves...as long as it is appropriate. I was once contacted by a mother who wanted her 5 year old to come visit the patients...by herself. I am not kidding. Therefore, when I brought my 4 month old to the hospital campus today for the hospital's Auxiliary Spring Festival in order for her to "volunteer" with Mommy and Daddy, I had to chuckle. Granted, the most we did was take pictures with her and another (adorable) baby that was there...but now we can say that we're starting REALLY early. And if that mother wants to contact me about being a hypocrite, I can say two things. One, it was not IN the hospital, and two, I'm the boss and I'll do what I want. Since the other baby was the Auxiliary president's daughter I think we're safe. Besides, look what fun we had!