Volunteer of the Year Nominees :: Nationwide Children's Hospital

Volunteer of the Year Nominees

Each month we recognize one volunteer who consistently demonstrates outstanding quality of work, quantity of work, customer service, dedication, and mission. Nominations come from staff, families, and other volunteers. Now it's time for one of our Volunteers of the Month to be given the honor of Volunteer of the Year!

Ballots may be cast by any Nationwide Children's Hospital Employee, Staff Member or Volunteer. Voting took place March 7 - March 21, 2016. The winner will be announced in April, which is National Volunteer Month.

2015 Volunteers of the Month

Melissa PettogreassoJanuary Volunteer of the Month: Melissa Pettograsso, More than 170 hours of service

Melissa has been volunteering for more than a year and has dedicated more than 170 hours of service. Melissa serves as a mentor with Connecting Families and volunteers alongside the diabetes Social Workers. She has been the long term mentor for five different families whose children are newly diagnosed with diabetes, connecting them with one another for support. “She has been an invaluable member and without her the program would not be where it is today,” shares Bethany Glick and Meredith Brink.


Jason BrownFebruary Volunteer of the Month: Jason Brown, More than 160 hours of service

Jason has been a volunteer at Nationwide Children’s since January 2014 and has dedicated more than 160 hours of service. Hollie Johnson, a child life specialist, says, “Jason has been observed to be a superb volunteer from not only myself, but from the patients and families too!” Jason has shown a great level of comfort, allowing him to connect with patients and families that extended into various age groups. “Most college-aged men may be hesitant to hold and interact with babies; however Jason stepped up to the challenge and thrived,” adds Hollie.


Lauren ValdesMarch Volunteer of the Month: Lauren Valdes, More than 90 hours of service

Lauren is an occupational therapy/smart group volunteer. She began volunteering in June 2013 and has more than 90 hours of service. “Lauren is a self-starter and always initiates interactions with our most challenging patients,” shares Elizabeth White, an occupational therapy aide. As a student balancing school and other responsibilities, volunteering with Nationwide Children’s makes her happy. Lauren has truly proven to be an asset to the occupational therapy team.


Kaitlyn EssigApril Volunteer of the Month: Kaitlyn Essig, More than 150 hours of service

Kaitlyn has been volunteering for more than a year and has dedicated more than 150 hours of service. While balancing her college career, majoring in biology, premedicine, Katie is always there. “Katie is consistent, dependable, and always ready to help where needed on the unit,” shares Megan Hall, a Child Life Specialist on H12.


Chris JusticeMay Volunteer of the Month: Chris Justice, More than 100 hours of service

Chris has been volunteering for more than a year and has dedicated more than 100 hours of service. As a volunteer on H12, he takes the initiative to build a rapport with patients of all ages. “His radiant personality is genuine and those who interact with him feel a sense of comfort,” shares Elizabeth Pastorek, nurse on H12.


Taylor CockerillJune Volunteer of the Month: Taylor Cockerill, More than 175 hours of service

Taylor has been volunteering for more than a year and has dedicated more than 175 hours of service. Currently a student at The Ohio State University, she is studying to be an Occupational Therapist. You can find Taylor doing everything from folding linens to taking on more difficult tasks. “Upon meeting Taylor, I immediately knew her energetic personality would be infectious on C4A,” shared Laura Gambill, an early childhood teacher with Family Volunteer Services.


John Cole July Volunteer of the Month: John Cole, More than 1,250 hours of service

John has volunteered for more than 21 years and dedicated more than 1,250 hours of service. In the Sibling Clubhouse, the children love John’s enthusiasm and see him as a buddy. “John always takes interest in every child he meets and understands what it’s like to be a child amidst the chaos of a hospital admission. He seems to know just how to make it easier for children to cope,” shared Lisa Bendler, a Sibling Liaison. “We are truly fortunate to have someone with John’s genuine desire to give back." 


Fatima Bube

August Volunteer of the Month: Fatima Bube, More than 170 hours of service

Fatima is a Family Resource Center (FRC) volunteer. She began volunteering two years ago and has dedicated more than 170 hours of service. Staff describe her as very dependable, organized and cheerful: three essential qualities when dealing with patients and their families. “Fatima always comes into the FRC on Wednesday evenings with a smile and doesn’t hesitate to ask a family if they need help," shares Vicki Compton, a Family Liaison. "She loves to see the patients and help them out in any way possible to make their stay a little more pleasant." 


Diane Gates

September Volunteer of the Month: Diane Gates, More than 200 hours of service

Diane became a PACU volunteer in 2013 and has dedicated more than 200 hours of service. Sherri Massey and Aimee Jones, who nominated Diane, describe her as a smiling individual who's always willing to jump in and help and who comforts patients of all ages. "Diane is very helpful with distracting our children with stickers, toys and conversation when they are upset," share Sherri and Aimee. "Our Tuesdays would be much harder without her!”


Mariela MonzalvoOctober Volunteer of the Month: Mariela Monzalvo, More than 450 hours of service

Mariela started volunteering in the Children’s Clubhouse in 2011 and has dedicated more than 450 hours of service. Sibling Liaisons Lisa Bendler and Heather Fortney nominated Mariela, describing her as a "star volunteer." Mariela is often the first to welcome a child into the Clubhouse, and she's built a rapport with countless children, staff and other volunteers. “She has a quiet and friendly presence that makes the children feel comfortable,” shares Heather Fortney.


Christina DeGrawNovember Volunteer of the Month: Christina DeGraw, More than 150 hours of service

Christina has consistently held two volunteer shifts on H12 and has dedicated more than 150 hours of service. In her volunteer role, Christina spends time with patients and families facing challenging life circumstances. She is an excellent communicator who possesses an ability to build rapport and relationships with those she meets, and patients and families have become comfortable and familiar with her. Christina embraces every aspect of her volunteer role and is a wonderful addition to the team.


Jack CerneDecember Volunteer of the Month: Jack Cerne, More than 75 hours of service

Jack played an instrumental role in starting a partnership between The Ohio State University Magicians Club and Nationwide Children's Hospital and has dedicated more than 75 hours of service. He is a consistent, committed volunteer who helps provide magic to patients and siblings. Staff describe Jack as a determined, hard-working individual who brought a fantastic program to Nationwide Children's. "It has been such a pleasure to work with someone that is so dedicated to a fun craft and willingness to share it," shares Child Life Specialist Lisa Kappy.

Cast Your Vote for Volunteer of the Year

2015 Volunteer of the Year voting is now closed.

Nationwide Children's Hospital
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