Hospital Volunteering: It’s a family affair

by Samantha Fabian

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Stifling antiseptics and cleaning supplies. It’s what first hits you when you walk through the revolving glass doors of Methodist Hospital. Junior Carolyn Griffin knows this all too well, because, for the past two years, every Monday at four p.m., she has marched through those doors, uniform on and name badge in hand.

Carolyn has been volunteering at Methodist Hospital with her cousin, senior Lauren Klingemann, ever since her freshman year. Each week, the pair takes two hours to visit with patients and help with daily tasks around the hospital. Carolyn has considered it a blessing and said that she wouldn’t have it any other way. “It’s a joy to spend quality time with my cousin doing service,” Carolyn said.

Although the duo are the only Marian girls in their family to volunteer at Methodist at the moment, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t others. In fact, six members of the Griffin-Klingemann clan have passed through those glass doors.

Their family’s involvement with Methodist started when Carolyn’s older sister, Julia Griffin ’16, began volunteering at the hospital as a freshman in 2012. It didn’t take long for the family count to rise to four by late 2014 when Carolyn’s older brother, Aaron, as well as Lauren and her older brother, Andrew, had begun volunteering at the hospital. Carolyn found herself with the rest of her family at Methodist a year later in 2015, but by that time, Julia was starting to think about college, and getting ready to leave. “I am grateful to have been a part of such an amazing experience with my big sister,” Carolyn said.

After Julia had left to attend Saint Louis University, Lauren’s younger brother, Will, began his journey at the hospital. A year later, Andrew also found himself leaving Methodist, as he was starting college.

Now, there are only three family members left at Methodist, but Carolyn’s younger sister, freshman Molly Griffin, is expected to join them later this year. “It has been fun to watch my siblings and cousin grow throughout volunteering at Methodist. I have enjoyed seeing their passion for medicine expand. I am excited to join the “Monday Methodist Team” and to share these experiences with my family,” Molly said.

Although the family was initially influenced by Julia, each member had their own motivation for volunteering.“I have an interest in nursing, and I wanted to do something to make a difference. My eyes have been opened because of volunteering at the hospital,” Carolyn said.

It has not been a one way street, though, because just like Carolyn’s eyes have been opened by her experiences in the hospital, she and the rest of her family have also opened the eyes and hearts of others at the hospital.

Their compassion shines bright during the holiday seasons, especially when it hits Christmas time, as a various arrangement of Christmas carols can be heard throughout the hospital corridors. They began their tradition of singing to the patients on holidays when Lauren and Carolyn started it last October for Halloween. Now, the tradition has grown large enough for them to let patients request songs; a fan-favorite has been their rendition of Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree, when Carolyn and Lauren sing as they dance around Will who is posed as a Christmas tree.

Now, with more than five years under this family’s belt, it is safe to say that this family has made their impact on Methodist Hospital. Although, when Julia started volunteering five years ago, no one knew that her involvement with the hospital would lead to what it has today, a family affair.

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