Leah Taylor was a part of the 2018 Summer Volunteer Program at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. This program is designed for those who will reside in Memphis, Tennessee, June through August and have the time to commit to a highly structured program that requires multiple shifts each week.
Taylor worked around the hospital stocking wagons as a Ready Runner, playing in the Imagine Room, pushing the Happy Cart and lending a hand around Tri Delta Place.
Taylor says she wanted to volunteer at St. Jude to be able to make a small impact on the lives of patients and their families. She never expected how profoundly she would be affected.
“This has been both a humbling and uplifting experience. I have grown as a person during this opportunity,” Taylor said about her time volunteering in the hospital. “I came in hoping that I would be able to interact with patients and help them in any way I possibly could. I never thought that I would have been so blessed in return.”
Her favorite position was running the Happy Cart, which provides patients and siblings with toys, games and activities, as well as amenities for caregivers. She recalled one of her favorite memories was meeting a little boy and seeing the smile he had on his face after giving him a toy.
“The joy and love that I received from volunteering at St. Jude are two of the biggest blessings in my life.” Taylor said.
Taylor says she has gleaned new insights from her hospital interactions.
“There are many benefits of being a St. Jude volunteer. One of my favorite things about volunteering at St. Jude was meeting other volunteers and faculty members at the hospital. Everyone was so kind and encouraging,” Taylor added, “Another great benefit of being a St. Jude volunteer was developing relationships with patients and their families. I enjoyed seeing their joyful spirits in a time when things are tough. I appreciate the lessons I learned from them.”
She currently attends Harding University and is pursuing a degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders. She hopes to continue her education and become a speech-language pathologist.
Upon successful completion of the program, Taylor plans to return to St. Jude and volunteer during her school breaks.