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.
A complement to Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center's Planetree patient-centered care approach, the Auxiliary Art Cart is a staple at the hospital, where it travels to all waiting areas as well as patient rooms. Friendly volunteers push the cart — nearly overflowing with supplies that have been purchased and donated — and stop for anyone who wishes to create something.
There are materials in a variety of media — including markers, puffy paint and ribbon — that can be used to make cards, ornaments and drawings. 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 2013, inspired by the art program at Sharp Memorial Hospital. 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 staff the cart every day. As of January 2019, there are 10 volunteers moving through the hospital each week.
"Our volunteers feel proud when they get to use their unique talents," explains Golden. "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 Volunteer Services at 619-502-3606 or firstname.lastname@example.org.