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This award was established in 1996 in memory of Debby Henry, Volunteer Service Director from 1980 to 1995. It is awarded to an outstanding volunteer who has at least 5 years of service, a minimum of 500 hours, and who best exemplifies the “Spirit of Volunteerism.”
Julia Rabkin started volunteering as an Emergency Department Liaison from 1995-2008. After COVID, Julia was one of the first volunteers to return, and took a new role in the inpatient units, visiting patients with the Courtesy Cart. Julia devoted many hours per week to organizing the cart and helping to revamp its contents to meet the needs of patients. She went above and beyond to accommodate special requests, spent extra time with patients who were lonely, and delivered bags of goodies to staff members on all of the East Campus units. In 2022, Julia stepped into a new role as a Surgical Concierge, assisting patients and families in the Shapiro day surgery unit. Beyond the number of years and hours that Julia has devoted to BIDMC, we honor her for her extraordinary compassion, her gentle and fun demeanor, and her creative energy, always seeking ways to make the patient and family experience better.
The Ambassador Award was established in 2004 to honor a volunteer who has contributed at least 100 hours and at least 1 year, and who represents the medical center with a consistently positive attitude toward all patients, visitors, and staff.
This year, we present this award to Hieu Tran, who has demonstrated exceptional leadership skills in his PACU volunteering, and earned the title of Lead PACU volunteer. In this role, he has oriented and mentored all new PACU volunteers, which has been a tremendous source of support to the Volunteer Services and PACU staff. In 2022, Hieu decided to embark on a new challenge as a Brain Builders volunteer, working with patients with conditions such as head trauma and cognitive impairment. In both of his roles, Hieu has earned a reputation for having an unshakeable positive attitude and willingness to go above and beyond to help patients, families, and staff members whenever and wherever he can.
The Agress Award was established in 2018 to honor and applaud the devotion, stewardship, and care that Trudy Agress gave to BIDMC. This award acknowledges a volunteer who exemplifies the criteria that made Trudy, her husband Alfred, and her team in the Volunteer Workshop a legend at BIDMC: punctual weekly attendance; accuracy regarding projects that enhance the care and safety of patients and staff; devotion to the mission of the hospital and its core values of integrity, respect, compassion, excellence, and stewardship; and flexibility and determination regarding tasks and deadlines.
Sasha Lipetsker truly exemplifies all of these qualities. He worked for nearly two years in the Volunteer Services office, assisting with a variety of administrative tasks. When Employee/Occupational Health needed volunteer support, he transitioned to that office, and became an instant star. Sasha knows everyone’s name, and makes it a point to greet each and every member of the team, and check in with them throughout the day, offering pleasant conversation and lifting everyone’s spirits. Sasha’s diligence and dependability resulted in him expanding to two days per week at EOHS. His positive attitude, consistent attention to his responsibilities, and dedication to Volunteer Services and EOHS has been inspirational and we are so grateful to have him on the team!
Established in 2009, this award is given each year to a volunteer who has displayed commitment and a positive attitude to “shine a light” on the BIDMC community during the evening or weekend hours.
This year, the award goes to Emilie Baxter, a Vigil Volunteer. Emilie has done excellent work building rapport with patients of diverse backgrounds and temperaments. She has a huge knowledge of sports and pop culture to draw on in conversations that respond to the interests of patients. She cultivated a genuinely healing relationship with one terminally ill patient, who was slow to warm up to visitors, partly through being willing to put herself out there as a chess player, despite being on the losing side of a large skill gap. She has brought herself tirelessly to her work, has courageously explored her own fears around death and dying, and brings an unfailingly positive and curious attitude to visits.
This year’s Youth Leadership Award is given to Anisha Snell. Anisha was one of the youngest members of our 2019 Summer Health Corp, and was recognized for having exceptional interpersonal skills. Always accommodating, she was excited to continue volunteering after the program ended. She took a role at BILH’s Lexington Clinic, where she became an integral member of the team in 2020 and 2021. Everyone who has had the pleasure of working with Anisha comments on her friendly personality and caring nature. She is always willing to help out in any way needed and never complains about a task given. She gives the best effort in everything she does. Her leadership skills in this role have been so outstanding that Anisha applied for and was offered a job at the clinic, despite her young age. The Lexington Clinic appreciates her selfless service and says they would be lost without her.
The Jack Arvedon Award, established in 2001, is given to a volunteer who has shown the most flexibility, commitment, and positive attitude over the past year.
This year, the award goes to Habibo Hirsi, a volunteer on the Antepartum/Postpartum units. Though one of our newer volunteers, Habibo has volunteered two or three times per week since early 2021. She arrives at each shift full of energy, determination, and wit. She is very supportive and attentive to the staff and patients. Habibo’s supervisor reports, “She has been a great asset to our units. She keeps things organized, and lets us know when we are running low on supplies. She stays late to complete tasks if needed. She is open and flexible when we ask her to assist with different projects.” Habibo’s time and positive energy is greatly appreciated!
The Rose award was established in 2004 in honor of Rose Finkelstein, and is given annually to an outstanding volunteer who has served for at least five years and whose role involves helping new mothers and/or newborns.
This year, we present the Rose Award to Bryn Yozzo. Bryn has been an awesome mentor and advocate for so many new parents in her volunteer role with the Parent Connection. She is an excellent listener, with a keen sense of when to offer support and reassurance, and when to encourage a new mom to listen to her own inner wisdom and advocate for herself. In the words of one of her mentees: “Bryn was so encouraging, warm and kind. I am someone who tends to be on the anxious side, so it really helped to hear her calm reassurance that I really was doing a good job, especially in my struggles in learning to breastfeed.” Bryn is also a wonderful support to her fellow mentors. She offers the perspective of almost 10 years as a mentor, sharing her insights and suggestions and resources to other newer mentors. She is a gem and we feel so lucky for all the years she has so generously given of her time and talent.
Volunteer Services is delighted to present Vitor Capelate with a Special Recognition award for his exceptional volunteerism. Over the past year Vitor has volunteered as Food Service volunteer. He shows up to every volunteer shift with the ambition and dedication to help everyone around him! During his time here Vitor has played an important, supportive role for the Food Service Department and they have expressed immense gratitude. We extend our gratitude for the services he provides along with being extremely sincere.
The Reiki Team
Our Reiki Volunteer Team provides Reiki relaxation sessions for patients, their family members, and our staff. Our Reiki practitioners are a dedicated, compassionate group who offer a few moments of peace, relaxation, and comfort for both inpatients and outpatients.
Since 2016 our Reiki practitioners have visited over eight thousand patients and had several hundred sessions with our staff! The past two years with COVID-19 have been challenging. Our program was put on hold for most of 2020; yet as soon as our volunteers were able to return, they followed all safety protocols and came back to offer Reiki and visit the patients and staff they missed so much during the time they were not active. We are so grateful for this wonderful team of professionals!