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 its 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 2012
YOUTH SERVICE AWARD
Raquel Chavez – RGSC
Raquel, a high school student, completed over 170 volunteer hours in the summer and holiday season of 2012. She was committed to her volunteer assignment, was dependable and reliable. She assisted various areas of the hospital when they were short staffed. In addition, Raquel recruited other high school students to assist during the holidays for decorating the facility, singing carols, wrapping gifts, and serving individuals served, and family members of individuals during a holiday luncheon. Raquel is young, but she demonstrates the spirit of volunteerism and is a role mode to other young people.
Boys Scouts of America Troops 360 & 390 – TSH
The Scouts have an ongoing project of marking graves at the Wildwood Cemetery on national holidays. One of the scouts, Graham Breeden, raised money for hundreds of small American flags. In addition, he made and installed the in-ground flag holders. Scout Connor Oakley remade the sandbox for the clients’ children. These troops have also made luminaries for TSH celebrations, rescreened the porch of the family lodge, and adorned the adult courtyard with flower boxes. These young scouts have strong leadership values, and use innovative ideas as they work to show concern for others.
COMMUNITY LEADER AWARD
Jim Taylor – ASH
As treasurer of the VSC, Jim has streamlined the allocation and budget process.
Jim increased sponsorships and assisted in rebranding the ASH Dash, and the Insights Art Show, two major fundraising events. In addition, Jim recruits volunteers to participate and to work these events. Jim has been a big part of assisting the VSC in providing computers, printers and educational software for the patients. Through the VSC, Jim is an active supporter of the Peer Support program; a large contributor to the ongoing clothing and shoe drives; and obtains personal care items to keep this department fully stocked. Jim’s program commitment and strong leadership is shown by his active participation, and the fact that he reaches to others in the community to join in making life better for patients.
Martha has served on the VSC Board for more than 12 years. Martha has held several board positions, and served in leadership roles for the planning of major SASH events such as the Annual Patient and Family Thanksgiving Dinner, the Annual Employee Holiday Party, and the Annual Valentine’s Day dance. Under Martha’s leadership, the Trinkets and Treasures resale shop has earned an enormous increase in sales over the past four years. Martha’s committed leadership has involved more members of the community to raise funds for the VSC to benefit the patients of SASH.
GROUP SERVICE AWARD
First United Methodist Church of Big Spring, Women - BSSH
Each month, church members provide manicures and skin care makeovers to the hospital’s female clients. Each client receives individual attention from one of four ladies who are outfitted with a full salon set-up. Finger foods and snacks are also available to the clients. Clients receive a positive outlook regarding their appearance and self-confidence. Clients enjoy interaction from valued members of the community and recognize that the church members are interested in their lives and well-being. This program has a high participation rate of 80% of female clients. This activity fulfills two primary focuses of the BSSH Community Relations Department; volunteer services, and community education. This activity helps to eliminate the negative social stigma some people have of mental illness, and has garnered positive feedback from the community; such as changed perspectives of the hospital and the clients; and positive commentary from the local media. This group of women has made a positive, direct impact on the lives of clients at BSSH.
University of the Incarnate Word-Psychology Students - SASH
Through the leadership of Maria Felix-Ortiz, PhD, Assistant Professor of Psychology, and VSC Board Member, university students began to participate in volunteer activities. Students were grateful for the opportunity to assist the hospital and the patients. Students organized the clothing room, painted holiday ornaments to be placed across the SASH campus, painted T-Shirts for patients to wear to the Annual Rodeo outing, led activities for the Easter Egg Hunt, and for the Halloween parties. During their Day of Service project, students recruited additional students to assist with the Mount Calm East Cemetery Restoration Project, the Annual Patient and Family Thanksgiving Dinner, and the Annual Valentine’s Day Dance. For additional experience, students volunteered to work with patients on units, or in the Day Treatment program. Since October 2010, this student group has donated over 1,000 volunteer hours.
This is an excellent community engagement project, not only for this group of students whose lives have been changed by their volunteer participation, but for the patients whose lives have been directly and positively affected by this group.
Dorothy Davis – WCY
Dorothy has assisted clients at WCY with spiritual needs, through her partnership with the WCY Chaplaincy. Dorothy has served as a caring adult role model for five clients, giving them individual attention, and building strong, positive relationships. Dorothy assists with connecting the clients to the church community; fulfilling a need that WCY would be challenged to meet. Clients attend church, and functions sponsored by the youth group. This allows clients to connect with other young people their own age, in a positive way, in the context of the youth group. Dorothy has encouraged other church members to become involved in the lives of the clients, through church banquets, and other activities in the church setting. Dorothy’s commitment to fulfilling the spiritual needs of clients has provided the opportunity for these young people to build positive relationships with people their own age, and has brought support from the church community she serves.
Sarah Dietz - BSSH
Sarah has logged over 250 volunteer hours in a five month period at the VSC Chalet Resale shop. The Chalet Resale shop collects donations at a steady pace, and the volunteers who process the dozens of bags bulging with clothes, and small household goods must sort efficiently and have an eye for what can be salvaged, repaired, and cleaned, and what needs to be discarded. Sarah’s primary task is in the sorting area, which is exhausting. She has flourished in this role ensuring the movement of donations from the sorting room to the sales rack. Sarah’s colleagues often comment on her positive attitude and demeanor. No matter what is happening, Sarah has a smile for everyone. The Chalet also gives hospital clients an opportunity to work and learn new skills in a business-type setting. Sarah works well with the clients and has developed strong working relationships with each one. Her caring and positive behavior radiates throughout the store and is passed on to our clients. Sarah beams with the optimistic spirit of volunteerism, and has a positive impact on her co-volunteers at the Chalet, as well as the clients she assists.
ADDITIONAL ROOKIE AWARDS
Shirley Banks – (NTSH – WF) – 200 hrs of genealogy research for Cemetery Restoration Project
Bringing Out the Oldies! Car Show Committee-(NTSH –V) - 1st Annual Community Car Show
Charity Jackson (NTHS-V) – high school student, holidays, office work, takes on extra duties
Maria Smith-(SASH) – resale shop, serves event and holiday meals, assists new volunteers
Susan Bennette White (TSH) – Chair of VSC Fundraising Committee
SERVICE INDUCTION AWARDS
42 YEARS - University Kiwanis Club - NTSH – WF (Monthly Bingo Parties)
35 YEARS – Alfaretta (Al) Reininger – TCID (3 term VSC Board President)
22 YEARS – Steve Smith – BSSH (Vice Chairman of VSC, 2nd generation)
20 YEARS – Jobeth Corwin – BSSH (VSC Secretary, Co-Chair of Chalet Resale Shop)
18 YEARS – Betty Lee – BSSH – (VSC Board Member, Chair of Death Review Committee)
17 YEARS - Delores Bettes – NTSH-V (Annual Rib Cook Off, Adopt-A-Kid, Peer Leadership)
16 YEARS – Shirley Bodin – BSSH – (VSC Board Member)
16 YEARS – Ruth Nanny – BSSH – (VSC Board Member, Co-Chair of Chalet Resale Shop)
15 YEARS – Doris Huibregtse – BSSH (VSC Board Member)
15 YEARS – Cyneather “Sam” Woodruff – BSSH (monthly cookie donation, Bingo moderator)
For more information on nominations and award criteria, please contact DSHS Community Relations State Hospitals Section, State Office at (512) 206-5161.
Last Updated 07/01//2013