Each of the state hospital facilities has a Community Relations Office which is the contact for its volunteer program to improve the quality of life for the clients.
Volunteers provide services in a variety of locations like offices, at home, on units with clients, board rooms, donation rooms, outdoors, libraries, chapels, recreation rooms, and through activities such as adopting a unit, clerical assistance, celebrations and special activities, landscaping, pet therapy, arts and crafts, recreation, processing donated clothing, cemetery improvements, entertaining, spiritual activities, advocacy, and fund-raising.
Separate non-profit organizations, Volunteer Services Councils (VSC), partner with state hospitals to enhance the lives of the clients and state hospital operations.
- Donations most often requested include new and gently used clothing and shoes, toiletries, personal items, holiday gifts, electronics, special meals, entertainment, furnishings, tickets to cultural and sporting events, and art supplies.
- Funds are raised provide landscaping, shade pavilions, special furnishings, electronic equipment, lodging for family members to visit, art supplies, trams for transportation, and other items.
The type and amount of activities and donations varies at each facility. If you would like to volunteer at a state hospital facility, please see below to visit the website and see contact information for the location in which you are interested:
Each state hospital has their own local volunteer recognition activities. DSHS honors and recognizes volunteers who model outstanding commitments in improving the quality of life for the clients at the state hospitals.
Recognized in April 2011
Community Leader Award
David Landua is a business owner who has provided over 300 hours of volunteer service during the past 5 years at Terrell State Hospital. He chaired the Volunteer Services Council (VSC) at a time the VSC initiated community speaking engagements, participation n the community-wide business expo, 5-K fun run fund-raiser, and grounds improvement project for the Child and Adolescent Unit. Also during his tenure funding was provided for the grounds improvement, television/VCR/DVD combos for educational use with clients, and refurbishing of the Family Center for clients’ family visits. David is a regular participant in client activities such as the summer watermelon party, Angel Tree party, and hamburger & ice cream dinner. He has provided equipment for the hospital anniversary celebration, games for clients, and client sponsorship during the holidays. It is not unusual for Mr. Landua to stand up at the community meetings and voice a need that the hospital or clients may and how they can be met.
Group Service Award
Undergraduate students in psychology and pre-med programs provide a minimum of 200 hours of volunteer service a week at Austin State Hospital to enhance the patient therapeutic environment. Collaborating with staff, they re-think business and program processes. Some of their improvements include relocation of the clothing store, improved processing of clothing donations, revision of the Micro Mart system for patients to use their A$HCA$H earned in treatment, and creation of an inventory team for improved quantity and quality of Micro Mart items. The modSquad created a 10 hour orientation pertaining to the program and units for new volunteers in their group. They have conducted patient satisfaction surveys for program improvement, improving experiences for both patients and volunteers. Over 75 students have participated to date and 100 students are on a waiting list. This group of college students understand the needs of patients and channel it into innovative and inspirational service and leadership opportunities.
Group Service Recognition
Delta Tau Delta Fraternity at Baylor University (Theta Delta)
Young men in Delta Tau Delta, including over 20 during 2010, have been volunteering since 1999 with clients of Waco Center for Youth. They interact with youth on the units, tutor in the classrooms, and participate in sporting activities. The fraternity initiated a fundraiser, Delt Dunk event, during their annual basketball tournament to provide proceeds to improve the quality of life of the youth. Members interact with clients using interesting and challenging games, books, and conversation, which in turn aids in their problem solving, conflict resolution, and daily living skills.
The Peer Leadership Program of the Adolescent Forensic Program at North Texas State Hospital – Vernon Campus is for clients that have earned a higher level within the program and act as liaisons between the other AFP clients and staff. They have to work to achieve and maintain their level and are a role model for the other clients in the program. One of the benefits of earning the role is that they are able to leave campus for different activities. This past year the youth assisted with the annual Volunteer Recognition Event, Patient Christmas at the Wichita Falls Campus, monthly program dinners with volunteers, and a fund-raising Car Show in Wichita Falls. They shop, prepare, serve, and clean up for meals, as well as set up events, paint faces, and wrap gifts. The Peer Leadership youth are a role model for the other AFP program clients and are more than willing to assist.
Rookie of the Year Award
Amber shows up three days a week to volunteer at Austin State Hospital. She talks to and listens to clients, assists with taking Specialty Unit clients into the community, paints murals on unit walls, and prepares for and plans new events for clients. She welcomes new volunteers including explaining what to expect from the clients and how to interact. She is constantly promoting the hospital and encouraging others to volunteer.
Recognized for contributing 15 years or 10,000 hours of service in the state hospital system.
Spring 2011 inductees:
- Austin Community Eagle Society (ACES), Austin
- Austin High School Psychology Class, Austin
- Marie Ballard, Terrell
- Ida Hill, Wichita Falls
For more information on nominations and award criteria, please contact DSHS Volunteer and Community Engagement (VCE) by email or phone (512) 458-7111 extension 6605.