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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.”
Brenda has been a devoted BIDMC volunteer since 1992, over 30 years! She has devoted nearly 4,000 hours to BIDMC as both an Emergency Department Volunteer and a Surgical Liaison in the West Campus PACU, providing information and support to patients and families. Brenda is known for her commitment to service, her caring and friendly nature, and her selfless dedication to BIDMC for three decades. She is a previous recipient of this award, in 2010.
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.
Kristina Kim has dedicated approximately 200 hours to volunteerism since September of 2021. She is trailblazer who succeeded in creating and launching a hand massage program at BIDMC after spending six months as a Patient Experience Volunteer. The hand massage program has become an important offering on the menu of wellness services for employees. Given the success of her employee-directed program, Kristina has begun offering hand massages to patients in our antepartum unit. Kristina’s ambition, determination, and perpetual optimism have been instrumental in launching this program despite several pandemic-related barriers and delays. She epitomizes the spirit of the Ambassador Award.
The Agress Award was established in 2018 to honor and applaud the devotion, stewardship, and care that Trudy Agress gave to BIDMC. It acknowledges a volunteer who exemplifies punctual weekly attendance, flexibility and determination, and devotion to the mission of the hospital and its core values.
Amy is the handler of Harry (aka Harry the Healer), a delightfully soft and loveable cockapoo with years of experience in health care settings who has provided pet therapy to BIDMC employees weekly since April 2021. Amy’s extraordinary compassion and selflessness, along with passion for BIDMC, inspired her to create a spa-like experience where staff members can take some time to hold and cuddle Harry in a quiet space with relaxing music. Amy and Harry also provide on-the-go pet therapy in the corridors, lobbies, elevators and basements; the squeals of adoration for adorable Harry as they round the bend of the blue corridor can be heard from a hundred yards away. Amy is a highly gifted photographer and writer, and posts wonderful reels on Instagram that honor the hard work of BIDMC employees, while providing visual pet therapy to anyone who comes across her posts. Amy’s and Harry’s positive impacts cannot be overstated; they have a unique ability to transform the most difficult day into a joyful one and have a sixth sense for who is most in need of Harry’s loving embrace. They also take their commitment very seriously, traveling through any weather to get to their shift, staying well into the evening, responding to countless requests, and sharing beautiful photographs with those who they encounter. In addition to winning the Agress Award, Amy and Harry received a Silver Presidential Service award this year for serving over 250 hours in 2022. We cannot overstate our gratitude for their service to BIDMC!
Abigail Escobar, Vigil/Patient Companion Volunteer and Ben Shaer, Patient Experience Volunteer
Established in 2009, this award is given each year to one (or more) volunteers who has displayed commitment and a positive attitude to "shine a light" on the BIDMC community during the evening or weekend hours. Abigail “Abby” Escobar has served as a Vigil/Patient Companion volunteer since fall of 2021, coming in in the evenings after her work as a Research Assistant at BIDMC. In this role, Abby provides comfort and companionship to palliative care patients or other patients who could benefit, such as those without other visitors, or those who have been inpatients for extended periods of time. Abby is extraordinarily compassionate, intuitive and driven, qualities that will serve her well in her future as a physician.
Ben Shaer was a member of the 2022 Summer Health Corps, and was assigned to the role of Patient Companion. He then continued this role during the school year, coming in on weekends. Ben is known for his friendly, outgoing, positive and passionate personality, and his determination to improve the day of every patient that he encountered. Ben’s creativity led him to decorate the book cart with lights and make basketball nets for patients. He also went above and beyond to provide patients with special gifts, even if it was something not typically stocked in our office. Several staff and patients sent our office notes of gratitude and praise for Ben, noting what a kind, caring, and conscientious volunteer he is.
The Youth Leadership award was established in 2004 to formally acknowledge leadership and service by a volunteer 18 or under who has volunteered for at least 1 year, contributed a minimum of 100 hours and who exemplifies leadership skills as a model to other volunteers.
Vitor Capelate leads by example. He demonstrates enthusiasm, energy, flexibility, and eagerness to learn and advance in his volunteer responsibilities. Vitor has been a Food Services volunteer since September 2021. Always seeking a challenge and eager to dedicate more volunteer hours to BIDMC, he has also had roles in the PACU and as a Brain Builders Volunteer. Vitor’s work ethic, positive attitude, and inquisitive nature are notable and we are grateful for his service.
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.
Joanna Papadakis co-leads the Brain Builders program, which aims to provide socially, emotionally and cognitively enriching experiences to neuroscience patients, through friendly visitation and mentally stimulating activities. Joanna distinguished herself during her first several months in 2021 and was promoted to the lead position the following summer. In the lead role, she has managed the recruitment, training, and scheduling of her team of volunteers. She has also demonstrated the qualities of this award through her offers to spend time with non-neurology patients who are referred to us when they lack family and friend visitors, and/or are at the end of life. Joanna’s energy and enthusiasm are extraordinary and we are so grateful for her devotion to enhancing the experienced of BIDMC patients.
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.
Joan Pearson has been volunteering with the BIDMC NICU Cuddling Program since 2007. She always arrives with a smile on her face and a thoughtfulness and kind approach to each of her weekly visits here. Joan brings an incredible amount of skill and care to her time with babies. In her time on the NICU she has built strong relationships with fellow Cuddlers and NICU staff and has acted as important representative of both BIDMC and the Cuddler Program in her interactions with families. Joan has become one of the programs best champions, setting an example that demonstrates the professionalism and kindness that we want all our Cuddlers to bring to this role. For many years, Joan also served as a foster mom to babies in the community. She provided babies with a loving home on their pathway to a more permanent home. In both her time on the NICU and her own personal time, Joan cares about babies and giving them strong foundations to build a connected future. We are grateful to have Joan as a BIDMC NICU Cuddler Volunteer and very excited to honor her with this award for her service.
In 2022, BIDMC became a certifying organization for the Presidential Volunteer Services Awards. This national award program is an initiative of the Corporation for National and Community Service and the Points of Light Institute. Awards thank and honor individuals who have demonstrated a commitment to service by helping others and giving back to their community. Bronze, Silver and Gold awards are given to individuals that achieve a certain number of volunteer hours during a 12-month period (2022). Lifetime Achievement Awards honor individuals who have earned 4000+ hours over the course of a lifetime. Awardees receive a Presidential Certificate and a pin. For the year 2022, BIDMC is honoring 38 volunteers for their outstanding contributions, including two volunteers who have earned lifetime achievement awards.
2022 Bronze Awards
(100 –174 hours for age 16-25; 100–249 hours for age 26+)
2022 Silver Awards
(175-249 hours for age 16-25; 250-499 for age 26+)
2022 Gold Award
(250+ for age 16-25; 500+ for age 26+)
Lifetime Achievement Award
The following volunteers are recognized for the number of hours and years that they have served at BIDMC as of the end of 2022: