Volunteers in the Spotlight
Our volunteers work closely with staff to provide direct and indirect support for our children. Volunteers are an amazing asset that The Children's Institute’s staff, students, patients, and administration hold in high esteem.
All of our volunteers have interesting stories about their own lives and their experiences at The Children's Institute.
Anais PopojasPittsburgh, Pennsylvania
How long have you been a volunteer here and what motivated you to become a volunteer? I began volunteering in May 2011, and to this day it was one of the best service decisions I have ever made. I grew up outside of Pittsburgh so I knew a lot about CI through word of mouth and the media. Other than school and playing sports, devoting time to community service through student government and with family has been a huge part of my life. One of my goals is to become a physician’s assistant one day, and hopefully work in pediatrics. I grew up around a lot of children and something about teaching and interacting with them brings me such joy. After learning more about CI, I knew immediately that I wanted to contribute my personal skills and time with a goal of making an impact within this environment.
What is your favorite thing about volunteering at The Children’s Institute? Being a volunteer at the Children’s Institute has truly been a life changing experience for me. My favorite thing about volunteering here is being able to give each child the opportunity to explore through hands-on activities and helping them to realize that they can do what anyone else can do. Whether it’s painting or playing games in the playroom, having monthly birthday parties, or dancing like crazy at karaoke, each child deserves to experience what any other one is able to.
In what area of The Children's Institute do you volunteer? I am a volunteer in Austin’s Playroom, which is comprised of patients in both rehabilitation and the brain injury unit. I also aid in developing activities for patients with Prader-Willi syndrome.
Tell us about your life outside of volunteering I am currently a junior at Chatham University, majoring in biology with a minor in psychology and a core focus in physician assistant studies. I come from a very large close-knit family so other than volunteering, school, and working in healthcare, I truly enjoy spending time with them as much as I can, as well as with close friends. I also highly enjoy physical activity and training softball players back home, as I used to be heavily involved in the sport myself.
How do you describe The Children's Institute to those who don’t know us yet? The Children’s Institute opens the door for someone to gain wonderful opportunities, inspiring experiences, and interpersonal skills. CI is full of beautiful, unique children of all ages that will not only touch your heart so deeply, but will make you laugh, smile, and teach you how lucky you are for what you have. This organization also consists of devoted staff members that work diligently as a team in order to help each and every child.