Meet our Student Volunteer Award winners

Happy National Volunteer Week! This week, we recognize the enormous contribution that volunteers make to VCH every day. 

You can often see volunteers, wearing their bright blue vests, assisting patients and visitors at VGH and UBC Hospital (UBCH), as well as many other centres across VCH. However, there are many more volunteers that you may never see; these are the volunteers at the local libraries helping stroke survivors learn to speak again, running harm reduction programs on city’s east side and supporting new moms at risk in their homes and communities. During National Volunteer Week, we say thank you to each and every volunteer who gives their time to support our patients, residents and clients  and for making a difference every day.

One of the ways that the VCH-Vancouver Volunteer Resources Department expresses its thanks during National Volunteer Week is by recognizing volunteers who have made an outstanding contribution and who promise to make an even bigger impact on health care in the future.

Each year, a $500 prize is offered to four of our student volunteers. In March, 35 applicants wrote a short essay describing their volunteer experiences and sharing the insights that they have gained through those experiences. This year, three of the four award winners have volunteered in both the acute and community sectors.

Congratulations to our winners:

Angela Yang

Angela Yang has volunteered with VCH since 2015. This year, she is graduating from UBC with an undergraduate degree in medical anthropology and public health. She has volunteered in the Travel Clinics, at the VGH information desk and as a wayfinder. Presently, she volunteers in the VGH Emergency Department (ED). As she explains, her experiences in the ED “have allowed [her] to grow as a person and to develop greater compassion, empathy and patience.” Angela plans on pursuing a career as an ICU nurse in the future.

Albert Huang

Albert Huang has been a volunteer with VCH for approximately one year. He has volunteered with the Children’s Immunization Clinics and presently volunteers with both a needle exchange program and a social recreation program at Purdy Pavilion at UBCH. He is in the second year of a bachelor’s degree in sciences at UBC and is working towards a career in medicine. He credits volunteering with shaping his career path. “My time volunteering with the residents at Purdy Pavilion has helped to inspire a deeper interest in geriatrics and psychiatry,” he says.

Eric Chow

Eric Chow began volunteering with VCH seven years ago, when he was still in high school. Now he is graduating with an undergraduate degree in sciences, with a biology major. Eric has volunteered his time visiting renal dialysis patients, helping with physiotherapy in Banfield Pavilion and assisting with wayfinding at VGH. As he describes it, his time in the dialysis unit “visiting and talking to individuals and family members who are affected by kidney disease has been a humbling experience.” His future plans are to pursue a master’s degree at UBC in medical genetics with a focus on genomics and bioinformatics.

Lara Milic

Lara Milic volunteers in the community sector with Children’s Immunization Clinics and the C.U.D.D.L.E. Program. She’s always known that she wanted to be a nurse but realized that she needed to gain some practical experience. That’s when she started volunteering with VCH last year. She credits her experience with the clinics as “having instilled confidence in me, not only in becoming a nurse but with growing into my own person.” She has applied to the Nursing program at BCIT and hopes to hear soon about her acceptance.

These four students exemplify the dedication that all of our volunteers demonstrate. By sharing their stories, Volunteer Resources recognizes all those who give so generously and who share our common commitment to our patients, residents and clients. Thank you for your time and dedication.