|Anderson, 57-years-old, has been voluntering since college.
Shirley Anderson of Coto de Caza was recently chosen by the Auxiliary of Mission Hospital to serve a 2-year term as president of the volunteer group. In her new role, she manages 370 volunteers and oversees the daily operations of the Auxiliary.
Anderson, no stranger to giving, has been a volunteer at Mission Hospital since 2002, primarily working in the gift shop and serving as a student advisor.
“It is such an honor and privilege to represent and be an advocate for all our volunteers. I could not be more proud to work with such an amazing group of people whose spirit of giving is truly an inspiration to me,” she says.
The 57-year-old Anderson volunteers an average of 25 hours a week and says volunteering is her full time job.
“As a kid, I always knew I wanted to do something to help others. At one time, I thought it would be cool to be a probation officer,” she says. “In college, I volunteered in the juvenile probation office at the Long Beach Court House.”
She became interested in volunteer work at a hospital during her college years.
“I worked in the dietary department of Long Beach Community Hospital. We assisted the dieticians with special diet menus, which were all done by hand. We delivered meal trays and I loved the patient contact,” she shares.
When she moved back to California 8 years ago she recalls driving by Mission Hospital while driving her oldest to high school, remembering her time working in a hospital.
“I remembered the simple joy of helping a patient fill out their dinner menu or helping someone set up their dinner tray,” she says. “I called Mission to see what volunteer opportunities were available and that is when I was introduced to the Auxiliary.”
As a volunteer with the Auxiliary she works in the gift shop once a week. As an officer of the Executive Board and president of the Auxiliary, she is at the hospital 4 days a week.
“It is easy to manage 370 volunteers, because I have so much amazing help. We have an incredible group who are committed and dedicated to our Auxiliary,” she explains.
As for the many tasks of the volunteers, the first thing a hospital volunteer does is help to enhance the quality of care that community members receive at their local hospital. Much of the time it is the volunteer that a patient will first come in contact with when they come to the hospital. And most of the time it is the volunteer that is the last person they have contact with when they leave, Anderson says.
Another community outreach program affiliated with Anderson’s group is Telecare, a service provided by the Auxiliary where volunteers call homebound individuals who are in need of daily contact.
There is also “Light Up A Life,” an annual event sponsored by the Auxiliary held the first Sunday in December. It is an evening of remembrance and helps support the hospice care program at Mission Hospital.
“Volunteering is so important because helping someone else is the heart of humanity. To take time to serve others is a gift of your heart,” Anderson says. “It has shown me what is truly important in life. It is what we do for others that matters most.”
Married for 34 years, Anderson and her husband have three children and she enjoys spending time with family, as well as reading historical fiction when she isn’t busy volunteering.