SBUH Three Teens Merit Service Excellence for Volunteerism at Stony Brook University Hospital


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    High School Seniors Recognized for Time
    and Talent as Dedicated Volunteers

    STONY BROOK, N.Y., November 27, 2007 - Stony Brook University Hospital selected three outstanding high school seniors to receive the annual Service Excellence Award for Junior Volunteers. Ravina Chawla of St. James, Vincent Leombruno of Setauket and Ashlie Tam of Hauppauge, all 17, accumulated more than 400 hours combined, and each use their volunteer experience at the Hospital to move closer to career and life goals.

    Ravina Chawla, a senior at Smithtown East High School, volunteers in the Department of Radiology where she has completed over 290 hours of volunteer service. As a volunteer, she cleans cassettes, changes bed linens and helps patients and technicians in any way possible, and because of her volunteer experience, Ravina will pursue a career as a Radiologist.

    "I enjoy coming to the hospital because I feel I am giving back to the people of both the public and the hospital staff," says Ravina. "My cousin, my friend and my grandmother have been in the hospital many times and I feel that I have a duty to help the staff as they have helped people I care about. The Hospital is my calling, both as a career and as a pastime."

    In addition to volunteering at the Medical Center, Ravina volunteers at a soup kitchen, participates in the Interfaith program, the varsity swim team, and the Math and Spanish honor societies at Smithtown East.

    Vincent Leombruno is a senior at Ward Melville High School. After being discharged from Stony Brook University Hospital as a patient, he didn't think he'd ever want to step foot in the Hospital again.

    "Time seems to heal these wounds, and I found myself wanting to give back somehow," says Vincent, who is also the Foil Captain of the Fencing Team at Ward Melville. "I felt tremendously grateful to all the medical staff and the state-of-the-art treatments that I received, and it was important for me to do something to help others."

    Vincent volunteers in the Lyme Disease Lab in the department of Immunology where he helped organize a system for faxing test results to patients. His supervisor, Mel Evans, says Vincent is a reliable, courteous, and intelligent young man who is a positive addition to the staff.

    "If Vincent were a job applicant I would hire him on the spot," he said.

    Ashlie Tam is a senior at Hauppauge High School. She volunteers with the Child Life Program in the Pediatric Playroom where she spends about 10 hours a month playing with the children who are being treated in the Hospital. She volunteers out of her love for children, and hopes one day to become a pediatrician.

    "Taking that elevator ride up to the 11th floor and seeing the smiles on the faces of these children makes the world a better place," says Ashlie. "The playroom is a safe haven for them. There are no white coats, no medicine; just ‘Mary Poppins' playing on the TV, paint brushes in the sink and water boiling in the play kitchen for the next tea party."

    "Ashlie interacts so well with the children and is always pleasant to the families and the staff," says her supervisor, Paulette Walter. "She creates activities or projects to work on when it's quiet, and she is one of our most dependable volunteers."  

    In addition to volunteering at the Medical Center, Ashlie is a varsity swimmer and is an active member of the Hauppauge High School Symphony Orchestra.

    The Junior Volunteer Program at Stony Brook University Hospital offers young men and women between the ages of 14 and 17 a chance to serve their community while they explore career options. Stony Brook University Hospital is currently recruiting volunteers for all shifts and assignments, such as helping to organize blood drives with the Blood Bank, patient transportation, greeting visitors at the Information Desk and staffing the Auxiliary Gift Shop. Parking is validated for all volunteers, and all volunteers receive a dining voucher for every three-hour shift worked. To become a volunteer or to learn more about Stony Brook University Hospital Volunteer Corps, please call (631) 444-2610.