Why I Volunteer

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Ruth Yahr, volunteer at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC

Ruth Yahr has been serving as a volunteer at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC since June 1988.  She spends Wednesdays and Fridays in the Post Anesthesia Care Unit/Recovery Room where she comforts sedated children after surgery at bedside. Ruth often goes above and beyond her duties to help make a patient and family experience in the recovery room as comfortable as possible.

Ruth is a retired elementary and special education school teacher, who worked for many years in schools throughout Allegheny County, first in the South Park School District and then as a special education teacher for the Allegheny Intermediate Unit.  In 28 years at Children’s Hospital, Ruth has volunteered over 6,700 hours!

Recently, when asked to share why she volunteers at Children’s Hospital, here’s what she shared with us:

When I was five years old, I was hospitalized for four days in what was the most traumatic event of my life. I spent those four days in restraints, which at the time meant I was chained, spread-eagle to a crib. The restraints were only removed when it was time for painful medical procedures.

I come to Children’s Hospital to volunteer because I know what it means to be terrified, in a strange place, where people you don’t know are doing things to you that you don’t understand. I want to make the hospital experience a better one than the one I had as a child.

For me, holding and comforting a screaming child is such an important thing to do. I know that one positive experience in the life of a child can make a big difference when that child grows up and I feel good being part of the team that is providing that positive experience. I also love watching the medical personnel interact with children. Their training and expertise is amazing.

They know how to talk to kids to get them through their visit to the hospital. I love seeing how much pediatric medical care has improved since I was a child.