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This page is devoted to the management of volunteer programs in health care settings.


~May 2013~

Enjoy The Ride


As an advocate for the volunteer leader as a change agent, I talk about change a lot.  Change, whether we like it or not, is all around us.  I actually often say that if we are not changing, then we are dead.  Let me explain.

  • It’s springtime here in Indiana and you can see for yourself the seasonal change each day:  springtime bulbs are blooming, dormant bushes like forsythia are array in color, trees are budding with leaves returning and the grass is getting greener to name a few.  If you pay attention and take notice, you can witness daily change and growth.
  • As volunteer leaders, we have all placed youth volunteers.  Sometimes having them return each summer or continue on throughout their school year, we have seen them return as college graduates:  doctors, nurses, pharmacists and therapists with spouses and children.  (Okay, maybe that means I have been in the workforce too long, but you get the point.)
  • Adult volunteers come to our organizations with needs.  Those needs can vary from a broken spirit needed to be mended or a need to feel useful, make a difference and give back for a wonderful life.  Whatever the reason, we have changed their lives.  And the by-product to the volunteer leader, is that they have changed our lives.tulip
  • During my 16-year tenure here, I have reported to three different bosses.  The inherent challenge with new bosses is re-educating them about what it is we really do every day.  Most of us make this profession look so easy that we are sometimes taken for granted.
  • Even within our own bodies, cells die off and new ones are born each day, hour, minute, second.  In other words, we are changing every minute of every day.

While change is all around us each and every day, we do not always have any idea of what the next change might be or even when it might be coming.  Consequently, my challenge to each of you is this:  when things are going well in your work life, your home life and your spiritual life, enjoy the ride.  Take time to stop and smell the flowers (after all, it is spring).  Be smart enough to appreciate the good times because it may not last very long.

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The author of the Heath Care Volunteer Programs column is Mary Kay Hood MS, Hendricks Regional Health, Danville, IN (317) 745-3556. With a BS degree in biology from Marian College and a Master of Science in Management from Indiana Wesleyan University, Mary Kay has been involved in volunteer management over twenty years with a zoo and in the health care field. During that time, she completed the Management of Volunteer Programs course offered at University of Indianapolis, several supervisory training programs as well as the Indiana Hospital and Health Association’s Management Institute offered by the Executive Education Program, School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University. Mary Kay served on the Nonprofit Training Center of United Way from 1993 to 2006. During that time, she taught many workshops also facilitating speaker arrangements for the Basic Volunteer Management series. Additionally, she has presented at various national and international conferences. Mary Kay served as president of the Central Indiana Association for Volunteer Administration (CIAVA) from 1993-1997 and the Indiana Society of Directors of Volunteer Services (ISDVS) from 2006-2008. She was also the recipient of the 1995 Outstanding Director of Volunteer Services Award and the 2002 United Way of Central Indiana Volunteer of the Year Award. Most recently she served on the Steering Committee for COVAA resulting in the formation of a new national membership organization for those in volunteer management, the Association of Leaders in Volunteer Engagement (AL!VE). With several published articles, she is also author to two books: The One Minute Answer to Volunteer Management Questions and The Volunteer Leader as Change Agent.

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