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Two Texas Children's Volunteers. The text between them reads, Heartfelt Stories of Service. Headshot Image.png
Texas Children’s Hospital

Team Members Touch Lives as Texas Children’s Volunteers

Volunteers at Texas Children’s come from all sorts of backgrounds. From former patients to dedicated employees, they each have individual and deep connections to our hospital. All are driven to make a difference in the lives of patients and their families through service. 

Jose Ramirez, a medical student at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM), anticipates his upcoming clinical rotations at Texas Children’s. An aspiring pediatric surgeon, he has volunteered at our hospital since his teenage years, engaging patients through puppet shows, board games, and serving tea to caregivers. 

Andrea Kincaid, inspired by her experiences as a volunteer for our in-house, interactive radio broadcast Radio Lollipop, joined our team as a medical collector nearly ten years ago. She has recently transitioned to a new role, fielding insurance inquiries and obtaining authorizations. 

Paul Ellis, a seasoned project manager who joined our Information Services team in 2022, draws from personal experience to provide comfort and support as a spiritual care volunteer and a baby holder in our neonatal intensive care units (NICUs). 

Their stories shine a light on the unique reasons employees and community members choose to give back as volunteers at our hospital.

Texas Children's volunteers Jose, Andrea and Paul, who are employees and team members, give their time to our hospital.

Making the Decision to Volunteer 

Paul began looking for volunteer opportunities on our corporate intranet soon after he was hired at Texas Children’s. 

“I felt very blessed to work for one of the top children’s hospitals and just knew there was more for me here than the position I was hired to do.” 

After some prayer, he applied and received training to become a spiritual care volunteer, also training as a baby holder to provide extra care for our babies and support NICU nurses. 

During difficult or stressful times in her life, Andrea frequently turns to volunteering to gain perspective. While volunteering at the Houston Food Bank, she answered a call from Texas Children’s with a job offer. Inspired by her previous experiences volunteering with us, she accepted. The support she’s experienced on our team inspires her to stay. 

“From benefits to support during difficult times like Hurricane Harvey, Texas Children’s takes care of their employees just as they care for their patients. My future and my kids’ futures feel secure. I will retire with Texas Children’s.”  

A first-generation college student and the only child of a single mother, Jose did not initially consider a career in healthcare. Still, he applied to Michael E. DeBakey High School for Health Professions, a medical secondary school in the Texas Medical Center, and got in.  

As a 16-year-old student, he was looking for summer opportunities to volunteer. Remembering the comfort and the toy he received from one of our volunteers during a childhood visit to our Emergency Center, he applied and joined our Junior Volunteer program. He’s volunteered at Texas Children’s ever since.

Little Things Volunteers Do Make a Big Impact 

During rounds with the snow cone cart his first summer, Jose and his fellow volunteers were startled by a loud screech as they arrived on a particular floor. The medical team reacted with alarm but quickly realized the sound came from one very excited patient eager for a snow cone!  

“I just remember the impact that something as simple as a snow cone can have for a patient. That has kept me motivated to be a volunteer.”  

Our volunteers are sometimes present for patients and families during times of sorrow as well as great joy. 

Paul and his wife faced the devastating loss of their 20-year-old son, Matthew, six years ago. Strengthened by the support of people they didn’t know from a local church, they found solace and a newfound passion for helping others.  

Reflecting on his experiences, Paul recalls playing dinosaurs and video games or pretending to cook with a young heart transplant patient. When the brave little boy’s transplant was ultimately not successful, Paul felt privileged to be there for his family in their time of need. 

“I meet parents and children of all ethnic and religious backgrounds, talking with them, providing comfort, and even praying with them. Whether I’ve provided a smile, information about the hospital or about chaplaincy, my desire is for every person to leave feeling better in some way.”

Reflecting on the Rewards of Volunteering 

During her evening sessions as a volunteer, Andrea delivered craft supplies to children’s rooms, cherishing moments of connection with patients and their families. 

Recalling a heartwarming exchange with a young patient who proclaimed, “If I had my two front teeth, I would smile just as much as you do,” Andrea emphasizes we have much to learn from the joy children find in simple pleasures. 

Despite initial hesitation to volunteer as an introverted teen, Jose embraced the opportunity to connect with patients and fellow volunteers. He reflects on his personal growth and the unique perspective he has gained through volunteering, which will inform his future career as a doctor. 

“In the health care profession, I’ve noticed it can be hard to look beyond a case and really see a patient. Volunteering is a way for me to bond with patients and show more empathy.”

Considering volunteering?  

Reflecting on her time as a volunteer, Andrea says, “It’s rewarding to just be in the same building as our patients.”   

“It has only benefits, no disadvantages − I still love volunteering every week,” agrees Jose, who urges anyone considering volunteering to take the leap and just go for it.   

Paul explains, “The most important aspect of volunteering is having a heart to love and serve the parents and patients at Texas Children’s Hospital.

“It’s an honor to wear that red vest and serve our community.” 

If you are an employee, a Texas Children’s community member, or looking for volunteer opportunities in your local community, join our diverse team of volunteers supporting patients, families, and hospital staff.

We offer several exciting and fulfilling volunteer assignments at four locations, including the Texas Medical Center, The Woodlands, West Campus and Austin. Learn about our requirements for a meaningful commitment and apply to join our Volunteer Services team today.