Bringing New Life to the Hospital

Avista volunteers practice for their futures through firsthand medical experiences


Sydney Atkinson (12) works at the front desk of the New Life Center. “[Doctors and nurses] work together really nicely and it’s a really fun atmosphere especially in the new life area,” Atkinson said.

Her feet click on the linoleum, sliding over the lights reflected on the polished floor.  Despite the buzzing of the machines and the screams of the newborns, the hospital has a sense of stillness, completely separate from the rest of the world.  Only to be cracked, broken by a sudden death or a sudden birth.  

The New Life Center is filled with nurses bustling around; all are in their own world with their own purpose, but they work in unison.  

She has her own purpose, too.  A reason why she listens attentively to the instructions of the nurses, watching the child with love.  A reason why she cares so much.

For months, Monarch students have been giving a hand to those in need.  From food preparation, to taking care of the newborns in the New Life Center, volunteering at Avista Hospital has given students opportunities to try their hand at a medical career.  

A hospital is made of hundreds of people that create a caring environment. The volunteers that greet patients with wide smiles at the door are Marin Konopelski (12) and Anthony Zhang (11). The fresh foods that bed-rest patients eat were brought to them by talkative, entertaining students including Sravant Chadalawada (11) and Elise Gooding-Lord (10). The caring smiles and bright eyes staring down at the small infants came fromEleanor Redfern (11), Yulin Kim (10), Annabella Callipari (12), and Sydney Atkinson (12). The efforts of these students made the chaos in the middle of the hospital a little more calm.

The volunteers had got to be part of unique, hands-on experience that many internships and volunteering opportunities lack.  Instead of stacking products or sorting donations, several of these Monarch students had the life-changing opportunity to be immersed in  the culture of the New Life Center with the nurses and doctors.

“It’s just a good opportunity to kind of learn more in the medical field…[It made me] more interested [in a medical career] for sure because there’s just so much that goes on, and it’s so interesting,” Eleanor Redfern said.  

Redfern volunteers at the New Life Center, a facility within Avista for mothers in labor and their babies. Redfern was even able to monitor a premature baby (with supervision from the nurses), which is a very valuable experience to have as a teenager interested in pursuing a career in medicine.

“It was a really cool experience, just to see him grow, and within a couple weeks he was better,” Redfern said.  

Annabella Callipari (12)  is another volunteer who has worked in the New Life Center, and volunteered at Avista for the past two summers.  

“I definitely want to be working in the hospital later on in my life as a nurse or a doctor’s assistant… I just kind of wanted to see what the culture was like at the hospital,” Annabella Callipari said.  

During Callipari’s experience in the New Life Center, she has helped out many different people, the most notable being  a frantic mother in labor.  Instead of panicking, Callipari helped calm the mother down and guided her to where she needed to be so that she could relax and be as comfortable as possible.  

“She came up to me days later when she had to come back in for a check-up,” Callipari said, “She was just thanking me so much for helping her calm down. She [told me], ‘I didn’t think a stranger could help me as much as you did, but I’m really grateful,’ and that meant a lot to me.”

Each student volunteering at Avista has a reason behind their choice, whether it be to learn more about medical careers or help those in need.

“I think I just learned about how much disease and illness is out there…seeing how many people aren’t that grateful or blessed in their life was pretty sad, but also fascinating,” Callipari said.