The summer assignment at Children's Hospital helps both the teens and the kids who are patients
(WBIR-Downtown Knoxville) Every month, hundreds of men and women volunteer at Children's Hospital. In the summer, even more people donate their time. Those people happen to be teenagers.
Calming music drifts though the lobby at Children's Hospital. It comes courtesy of a volunteen -- that's not a typo. About 150 teenage volunteers offering their talents this summer.
"We have a great adult program but think about it. We're a Children's Hospital and these are kids who are here because they want to play with other children, they want to make them feel better. I just can't say enough good about the teenagers we have in this area," Volunteer Services Director Cheryl Allmon said.
One of those teenagers is 17 year old Ben Nadolski who has volunteered for four summers and was a patient at the hospital about eight years ago.
"When you're in the hospital you have people coming in and out and I think it can be overwhelming. I think it's good to have something like the volunteen program where someone friendly comes in to see if you need anything and just be a friend," Ben Nadolski said.
The volunteens do just about everything from manning reception to checking if patients need a game to working the tattoo cart. It's just what it sounds like -- they give patients temporary tattoos.
"One time we gave a child 13 tattoos, of course with the parents' permission, but just the joy we brought to that child it was great," he said.
Megan Ogle also enjoys tattoo duty. She's a 17 year old volunteen who is a student at Grainger High School.
"When I was their age I looked up so much to teenagers and it seems crazy that I'm that old now but that I get to set that example and I definitely do think it's cool to hang out with the teenagers and have fun in the summer," Megan Ogle said.
This is her third year to volunteer.
"When you encounter certain children and they're going through a really hard time it really makes you feel how fortunate you are," she said. "Just to be able to help them out when they're going through something so sad, it's awesome to see them smile and have a good time."
The volunteens have a good time and a valuable learning experience.
"It's a great introduction to pediatrics if there's someone who is truly interested. You can walk through this hospital on any given day and I can point out employees who started in our volunteen program," Cheryl said.
"I will be attending Yale University on the fall," Ben said. "I want to do biomedical engineering."
Megan said "I love the Children's Hospital atmosphere and it really has opened my eyes to it and I definitely want to come back and do something here."
Something that helps children through a hospital stay.
The application process for the volunteen program starts in January.