Retiree Sylvia Haugen, Osseo, Wisconsin, volunteers weekly at Mayo Clinic Health System – Oakridge in Osseo. Sylvia is a mother of two daughters and grandmother of six grandchildren. In her free time, Sylvia says she enjoys singing in her church’s three choirs, gardening, sewing, camping, doing aerobics and spending time with her husband and family. She also plays bass clarinet and clarinet in the Eau Claire Municipal Band, as well as in the pit orchestra for musicals.
Sylvia volunteers at the lobby information desk. She greets patients and visitors, answers questions, gives directions, and provides wheelchairs and pushing assistance.
Sylvia says she was involved with Mayo Clinic Health System before she became a volunteer. She says she once served as a histologist, a type of lab technician, in the nursing dorm at Luther Hospital. In this position, she prepared tissue samples in a laboratory setting and helped with autopsies.
After becoming a mother, Sylvia says she went on to become postmaster in Pigeon Falls, Wisconsin. While volunteering at the clinic, she says she often sees familiar faces from when she worked with the post office.
“I made many friends back when I was postmaster,” Sylvia says. “I enjoyed chatting with people and making them smile. Volunteering at the clinic allows me to continue those one-on-one conversations with community members.”
Sylvia says she decided to become a volunteer to offer a helping hand to others and make patients’ lives a little easier while at the clinic. She also says she became a volunteer to stay social.
“Once you are out of the workforce, I believe it is important to get out and socialize with others,” Sylvia says. “Volunteering is a great way to meet new people and interact with members of the community.”
Sylvia says volunteering allows her to offer friendly conversation and a listening ear to patients. She says she gets a boost of energy when she volunteers, especially when helping patients feel more comfortable and getting them to where they need to go.
“Volunteering is very fulfilling,” Sylvia says. “I encourage others who are interested to experience it too. Volunteering makes me feel happy and more energetic.”
Like Sylvia, you, too, can be a volunteer. Volunteers must be 14 or older. All ability levels are welcome.