Volunteer at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center

volunteer with child and service dog

Johns Hopkins Children’s Center welcomes volunteers! Whether reading to children or leading them in art activities in the hospital, volunteers help relieve the boredom and stress of hospitalization.

To volunteer your time, apply through the Johns Hopkins Hospital Department of Volunteer Services.

Volunteer: Make a Difference

Child Life is “like oxygen” for the youngsters where Rosemary Connolly volunteers every Wednesday. “The happiness factor on the unit is palpable when the Child Life specialist is around,” she says. “Play and attention are two of the greatest balms for these children.”

A volunteer on the Infant and Toddler Unit since 2013, Connolly describes Child Life’s focus on the developmental and emotional wellbeing of patients, as “a wonderful ancillary way to help heal body and mind that brings to mind the power of integrated medicine.” Child Life briefs her on the patients who need a visit or a change of scenery. The children appreciate visitors, Connolly adds, especially when their parents are away or working. Staff are “just wonderful with the children, and care for them as though they were their own,” she continues.

Noting a number of recalcitrant eaters on the unit, Connolly drew on experience in feeding her own children, and wrote letters to a manufacture requesting little airplane shaped spoons that make eating more fun. The spoons arrived a few weeks later.

“Now, THAT,” she says, “was a lesson in what anyone can do to make a difference, even a little one, in the life of a child here.”

Volunteer: Give Time and Comfort

Geneva Wallace has always loved babies. Growing up, she says, “we always had someone's baby visiting in the house.” Today the retired Calvert County elementary school principal spends Monday mornings playing with patients on the Infant and Toddler Unit at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center. There is “just something about helping these innocent little children that keeps me coming in every week,” she says.

Her daughter, Tria Tucker, the television services coordinator at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, first suggested Wallace volunteer seven years ago upon her retirement. After training, Wallace began her volunteering years rocking babies and singing to them.

Today, her loving care might include comforting the child who is lonely or giving another a stroller ride around the unit. “What I do frees the nurses tremendously,” says Wallace, “so they can take care of children’s medical needs. They are so appreciative of the volunteers.”

This story first appeared in the 2015 spring edition of Hopkins Children's magazine.

Volunteers: Play in Friendship

When they perform monthly in Hopkins Children’s lobby, Peabody musicians can’t see most of their young audience, but they know many are listening to the music streamed into hospital rooms above. It’s a “very powerful experience to perform for an audience that is going through so much just out of your view,” says Jessica Korotkin, a Peabody student and site coordinator for Peabody Conservatory’s Creative Access program.

These volunteers might perform on a viola, violin and renaissance harp one month, and a flute and two cellos the next. Music by Bach is a favorite, says Korotkin, given that it is “both complex and beautiful, and much of it doesn’t require piano.” 

Peabody students perform in the hospital's lobby monthly throughout the school year.

A student outreach program, Creative Access was launched at the Peabody in 2004 to create new opportunities to perform and share music with diverse audiences.

“Performing for the children at Johns Hopkins is a favorite activity,” Korotkin adds. “We want to make their lives a little better and play for them out of  friendship with hope for a safe return home.”

Interested in becoming a volunteer at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center? Contact volunteer services410-955-5924.

Meet more volunteers

To volunteer your time, apply through the Johns Hopkins Hospital Department of Volunteer Services.