The power of a click: From volunteer to facilitator
It was just a regular day. I was browsing on good old Facebook, when I saw a post by Unilab Foundation asking for people to be Play it Forward Weekend Hospital Volunteers. I said to myself, “Well, why not? I don’t have anything going on during weekends.”
It was just a regular day. I was browsing on good old Facebook, when I saw a post by Unilab Foundation asking for people to be Play it Forward Weekend Hospital Volunteers. I said to myself, “Well, why not? I don’t have anything going on during weekends.” So I clicked the “Volunteer!” button, and it led me to their #healthierPH volunteer portal where I signed up.
Fast forward to November: I received an SMS from Unilab Foundation announcing the volunteers’ training on December 4, Friday. I got all excited and quickly replied. Since I work on my own time as a freelancer, I could go to the training even if it was on a weekday.
I found it fitting to spend the day before International Volunteers’ Day participating in a volunteers’ workshop. I shared the room with doctors, nurses, and a few other volunteers who weren’t affiliated with any hospitals. I got to know what “Play it Forward” was all about.
Play It Forward uses therapeutic play to help children confined in hospitals cope with their conditions, recover faster, and regain their childhood. I remember when my nephew was a little boy, he had this VCD of a cartoon where the character was sick. His friend knocked on their door and said, “Can Mike come out and play?” His Mom sadly said that no, Mike could not come out to play because he was sick.
I learned from the workshop that play is a right of every child. When a child is sick, say, when he or she is in the hospital, everything stops for him or her. It must be terrifying for a kid to be surrounded by strangers doing intrusive procedures to him or her, and this stresses the child so much.
During the session, the head facilitator from the Ateneo Bulatao Center for Psychology Services showed data proving that children indeed experience some discomfort while confined in the hospital, and that play sessions with them showed some significant improvement and helped with their condition.
I was grateful to have spent that day with Unilab Foundation's Play it Forward Volunteer Facilitators’ Training. I learned a lot, and it made me excited to hold play sessions with kids in hospitals. I hope that more people can share their spare time to play with kids who are sick, excluded, and confined in hospitals.
Jaymee has been exposed to development work since she was a kid, joining her parents in medical missions and outreach programs. This ignited in her a passion to make a change in the world.
One of her top advocacies is providing access to healthcare to those who may not be able to afford it. She hopes to one day help build facilities to provide mental healthcare in communities. When not doing development work, she dabbles in drawing, digital art and painting.