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Sharp Health News

Volunteers bring art to hospital patients and guests

Dec. 4, 2015

Art cart

A young patient at Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center gets crafty thanks to the Auxiliary Art Cart, a popular program run by dedicated hospital volunteers.

It's a sight that would bring a smile to anyone's face: colorful construction paper, dozens of stickers, crayons in every color, and two giggling sisters hard at work on a masterpiece for their grandma, a patient.

Before, the girls might have waited restlessly, distracting from their grandma's care. But not anymore, thanks to the Auxiliary Art Cart that's making rounds at Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center, seven days a week.

A complement to Sharp Chula Vista's Planetree patient-centered care approach, the Art Cart has proved to be a hit at the hospital, where it travels to all waiting areas as well as patient rooms. Friendly volunteers push the cart, now nearly overflowing with supplies that have been purchased and donated, and stop for anyone who wishes to create something.

There are materials to make cards, ornaments and drawings using a variety of media, including markers, puffy paint, ribbon and more. Although not necessary, many of the Art Cart volunteers have relevant experience, including art and teaching backgrounds.

"Our volunteers are always looking for ways to create positive patient and guest experiences," says Lisa Golden, manager of volunteer services at Sharp Chula Vista. "The Art Cart is wonderful because it offers a creative outlet and healthy distraction."

Golden introduced the Art Cart in August 2013, inspired by Sharp Memorial Hospital's art program. She took the idea to her Auxiliary board members, who welcomed it and granted funding for supplies. Golden knew purchasing supplies would be the easier part. She also needed volunteers to fill the position, hoping for 14 per week — enough to staff the cart every day. As of December 2015, there are 15 volunteers moving through the hospital each week, with several more awaiting orientation.

"Our volunteers feel proud when they get to utilize their unique talents," Golden says. "Creating rewarding volunteer experiences is just as important as those we strive to create for patients and guests."

The Art Cart at Sharp Chula Vista is currently seeking volunteers of all ages and art supply donations. For more information, please contact the Volunteer Office at 619-502-3606.

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