Celebrating People in Action: NYM Honors Volunteers

Oct 7, 2009

Brooklyn, NY

a group of people posing for a photo

Back row (from left), Aaron Chalal, Ilene Adams, Mark J. Mundy, president and CEO of NYM. Front row (from left) Rifka Klaristenfeld, Monique Montenegro and Irina Rokun.

Through their tireless efforts 760 volunteers gave more than 65,000 hours of service to New York Methodist Hospital (NYM) during the past year. In honor of their invaluable contributions, the Hospital recently held its Annual Volunteer Recognition Ceremony. The theme for the evening was Celebrating People in Action.

Volunteers at New York Methodist are the balance we need in an increasingly high tech environment, said Mimi Makovitzky, director of educational and volunteer resources at NYM.

The New York Methodist Auxiliary Award for Outstanding Pre-Nursing College Student was awarded to Irina Rokun , a resident of Bensonhurst. Ms. Rokun, who has given almost 500 hrs to NYM, volunteers both on the Hospitals medical surgical unit and in the Division of Cardiology, where she assists with research.

The Ann Chisena Award for Community Involvement was presented to Rifka Klaristenfeld of Williamsburg, who volunteers with the Time Out for Fun Program at New York Methodists Infusion Center. The goal of this program is to help patients and their families feel more comfortable while undergoing treatment. Ms. Klaristenfeld provides recreational activities for both patients and caregivers, including instruction in knitting, crocheting and needlepoint, as well as sudoku and word search puzzles.

Monique Montenegro, who lives in Kensington, was this years recipient of the Marie la Ruffa Award for Patient Care. Ms. Montenegro began volunteering at NYM as a patient care assistant—NYM's oncology unit. In her words, The experiences at NYM taught me to take better care of myself so I can be there for the patients. I want to provide them with solutions and a wealth of information in a compassionate setting. In order to provide my personal best, I am continuing my education and applying to numerous post-baccalaureate pre-med programs in New York City.

The Frank Spera Award for Dependability was presented to Ilene Adams of Bedford-Stuyvesant. Ms. Adams has been a faithful volunteer in the Hospitals Cuddling Program since its inception in March 2008. The Program trains volunteer to hold and comfort babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

Aaron Chalal, of Downtown Brooklyn, was the recipient of the Mary Velez Emergency Room Award for Excellence. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Mr. Chalal has accepted the responsibility of training and guiding new volunteers as they take their first steps into the complex and often confusing world of Emergency Medicine.

Without the kind of service our volunteers give, we would not be the marvelous Hospital we are today, said John E. Carrington, chairman of NYM's board of trustees, and a faithful patron of the event.

New York Methodist Hospital encourages all interested individuals to apply for volunteer opportunities at the Hospital. To apply, go to http://www.nym.org, click on community outreach, and then select volunteer opportunities to complete an application.