Child Life Volunteering a Meaningful Experience

“I cherish the moments I have with the kids,” says Hayley Krasowski, Child Life Volunteer at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre.

Like many high school students, when Hayley Krasowski first started volunteering at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre as a teen in early 2014, she needed to fulfil her school-mandated volunteer hours. But the experience quickly became much more.

“I’ve always been interested in health care and helping people,” she says. “I first started volunteering at the hospital because I wanted to see what it might be like to work there.”

Hayley started off her hospital volunteering in the Goodnight Program, providing friendly visits and refreshments to in-patients. A year later she transferred to Pediatrics as a Child Life Volunteer, providing friendly visits to pediatric patients, as well as support to staff.

One of the highlights from her early experience as a young volunteer came when she was asked to spend time with an older pediatric in-patient dealing with some mental health issues.

“I wondered if would I be able to make a connection with this patient. We played a board game and through playing I was able to connect with them. At the end of our visit, they were so happy. I think it made the patient’s day to be able to interact in a fun way with someone their age.”

Now in her third year of the four-year BSc Nursing degree program at Lakehead University, Hayley is thinking about medical school.

When Hayley isn’t busy studying, she enjoys road biking, going to the gym, and cooking. She eats healthy and likes to experiment and try different foods. “I like to get creative in the kitchen. I’m always trying to expand my repertoire.”

Hayley is also active in her university. She is a member of Compass North with the Northern Ontario School of Medicine developing student-led clinics.She is a workshop lead for health promotion events and activities at Anishinabe Mushkiki and the Shelter House. She is currently helping to develop a workshop on mental health and creative outlets for stress for the Lakehead Public School Board.

Hayley is also the co-president of the Lakehead Interprofessional Student Society (LIPSS) – a group of students from a variety of health disciplines at Lakehead University, who promote interprofessional education and practice.

Although her schedule is always full, Hayley says she still enjoys volunteering at the hospital. “Because I am a Nursing student, I have enjoyed being with patients as a volunteer, asking questions and interacting with them in a non-clinical way. I cherish the moments I have with the kids.”