Christine Stella was organizing books in the Family Resource Center where she volunteers when suddenly she felt a tug on her sweater from behind. As she turned, she glimpsed cat ears atop the head of the little girl who politely asked for her help. The girl wanted to know how to check books into and out of the resource center. Stella glanced up at the girl’s mother, ready to tell her what to do. Shaking her head, the mother pointed back down to the cat ear-wearing little girl. The girl wanted to know for herself how to check out the books.
Stella recalled one of her favorite memories while working in the Family Resource Center, describing in detail the interaction that followed.
"Having my sweater tugged on by the most beautiful child asking me how to check books in or out. She called me 'Miss Librarian,'" she said.
Stella has been volunteering at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in the Family Resource Center since April 2016, when she said the timing was right to give her time here. Stella said her vision of St. Jude before volunteering was different than what she experienced after her arrival.
"I thought going into this that St. Jude would be this very sterile, quiet place. This is so not the case," she said. "Everyone is so nice and there is so much energy here."
On a typical shift, Stella can be found in the Family Resource Center cleaning and sanitizing equipment, checking books back into the library, preparing new books for the shelves, covering books and helping St. Jude families with questions they might have.
Stella said her time spent in the Family Resource Center is well worth it. She said she also feels appreciated by staff members she meets during her shift.
"They are so helpful and treat me as part of their team," Stella said.
Stella said the work she does at St. Jude makes her feel as if she is contributing in some way to the patient experience.
"I hope I have been helpful and a good person to talk to," she said.