At StudentsCare, we are always thrilled to hear from our alumni and appreciate all they have done for our organization. Olivia Spina attended Boston University and eventually became the founder and first president of our Boston University Chapter in 2018. While attending school she noticed that the campus didn’t have any clubs that offered consistent, organized volunteering opportunities. So, when she learned that StudentsCare offered exactly that through our Hospital Buddy Program, she jumped at the opportunity to get it started at BU for her and her peers.
Olivia has always valued and actively looked for ways to give back to the community. To her, “part of being a well rounded person is giving back and helping others. It really helps you appreciate your own life and what you have and gives you a sense of purpose”. We at StudentsCare admire this perspective and hope to inspire this mindset in others as well.
As Olivia reflects on her time spent one-on-one with hospitalized children through our program, she has one experience that always comes back to her mind. She said, “There was a little boy, about 6 or 7, in short-term care. I visited him every week for about a month. The week he was being discharged, I was able to visit with him one last time. He got really serious when I saw him and dramatically told me he was going to go home on Friday. He then asked if I was going to still come to his house every week. I was so touched that our time together was impactful enough on him that he wanted to continue it. Sadly, because of rules I obviously couldn’t do that. Luckily, his mom was there and was able to help me explain it to him in a way he would understand.” This is a prime example of the lasting connections that our students are making with these hospitalized children in need. Even though our care may not continue beyond their hospital stay, we hope the impact and love is felt for both the child and volunteer even when that care comes to an end.
Olivia was able to form incredible bonds with her hospital buddies and also learned many valuable lessons during her time volunteering. The program helped her learn how to feel comfortable in a clinical setting and helped her work on how to talk to patients and their families who are in such difficult positions. Being the founder of the BU StudentsCare Chapter also allowed her to gain and further develop leadership skills. These skills have all proved to be vital as she pushes forward into her exciting career path.
We’re incredibly proud of Olivia and her invaluable contributions to our organization. As she wraps up her Master’s in Public Health at Thomas Jefferson University, she’s simultaneously pursuing her dreams of becoming a doctor. We are so grateful for Olivia and her proactivity in bringing a new Chapter into existence and are so excited to see where her future takes her! Her hard work and dedication to StudentsCare, her peers, and her hospital buddies does not go unnoticed. Thank you Olivia!