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We Celebrate Volunteers

Volunteer Voice - Spring 2011

Volunteers are valued year-round at MD Anderson, but National Volunteer Week offered an opportunity to recognize these special members of our workforce.

MD Anderson Volunteer Recognition

This year, a fiesta was in order and evening and weekend volunteers celebrated with a dinner and program held at the Junior League of Houston, Inc. Day volunteers had a fiesta of their own at MD Anderson’s Dan L. Duncan Cancer Prevention Building.

Piñatas, fajitas, enchiladas, chips, salsa and more set the scene as volunteers were honored at both events. Pins were awarded to those reaching milestone hours of volunteering − 120 for evening/weekend and 417 for day volunteers. Special mentions were given to those day volunteers receiving pins for more than 5,000 hours and for evening/weekend volunteers with more than 1,000 hours.

Speaking at the day fiesta, John Mendelsohn, M.D., recalled a story about his first day as MD Anderson’s president. Walking in the front door of Clark Clinic, he was greeted by former volunteer Thommye Stewart. Her warm hug made him feel right at home, and, in fact, Stewart later received the first Presidents’ Award, which acknowledged her lengthy and dedicated service as a hospital volunteer, especially as a member of Anderson Network.

Health Adventures volunteers receive the 
Ainsworth Award

The fiestas continued with more awards and more recognition. First on the list was the Ainsworth Award, named for Joseph T. Ainsworth, M.D., a former vice president for patient care at MD Anderson and an advocate of volunteers. Presented each year to a corporation, organization, group or individual who makes an extraordinary contribution to Volunteer Services, this year’s honor went to the Health Adventures volunteers.

This program has been held at MD Anderson on Saturdays since 1997. As a joint effort of Communities In Schools, the Junior League of Houston, Inc. and 
MD Anderson, 254 at-risk fifth-grade students have taken part and benefited from learning about health care. The students learn about healthy living, community service and make a connection between classroom learning and future career goals.

Students are each assigned a volunteer mentor to help challenge them, encourage their dreams and to act as both a companion and a teacher. Once a month during the school year, these youngsters are exposed to a behind-the-scenes exploration of MD Anderson. From radiation oncology, a laboratory or the pharmacy, rehabilitation services or sterile supply processing, the students meet MD Anderson employees in these areas, who discuss their jobs and introduce them to possibilities for the future.

Health Adventures definitely takes a village, and that volunteer village was deservedly recognized with the 2011 Joseph T. Ainsworth, M. D., Volunteer Community Award.

Mitch Malvous represents MD Anderson at the 
TMC Salute to Volunteers

In another award, Mitch Malvous was named as MD Anderson’s representative to the annual Texas Medical Center’s Salute to Volunteers.

No stranger to volunteering, Malvous has dedicated the past 27 years to volunteer service at MD Anderson. He plays a dual role, serving as a weekend floor host and as a volunteer mentor with MD Anderson’s Health Adventures program.

Malvous says he enjoys his volunteer jobs because of the opportunity to cover the hospital and meet patients who come from all over the world for treatment. During his floor hosting duties, he “gets attached” to those he visits and counts them as his top priority every Saturday morning.

For the past 13 years, Malvous has also been an adult friend and mentor to students through the Health Adventures program. He is known for his consistency: being consistently kind, consistently interested, and most importantly, consistently present.

Malvous makes a positive difference in the lives of the young people he mentors. With his gentle, quiet demeanor, he is a wonderful addition to the MD Anderson volunteer team. He will be honored at the TMC event on May 10.

Volunteer Services celebrates volunteers

Stories of our volunteers range from the touching to the inspiring. Volunteers come from all walks of life and promote the mission of the Department of Volunteer Services, providing excellence in volunteer service and support to patients, families, faculty, staff and community partners with care, integrity and compassion.

As the heart of MD Anderson, we celebrated our volunteers during National Volunteer Week, April 10-16 – and also all year long.

© 2015 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center