For the past 10 years, Rebecca Banks has accumulated 2,000 hours of service through Mercy Health’s volunteer program.
She currently serves coffee to Mercy Health – St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital patients and their families, some of whom are facing difficult situations.
“It makes a huge difference in people’s lives, coffee is a comfort,” Rebecca says. “I do this because I love comforting people.”
Rebecca was once one of these family members when her son, Bruce, suddenly passed away in 2012. The reminder has caused her to reevaluate her hospital role at times. However, after momentarily taking a step back, Rebecca always returns to volunteering. She says she can’t imagine not going back.
“It’s so much a part of me and I don’t see myself ever not volunteering here,” Rebecca reveals. “I do this purely to make a difference, to smile, to comfort a family member, and maybe give a hug.”
Rebecca originally tried to give back at Mercy Health after reading an article in the newspaper about a need for volunteers to hold preemie babies. Once a preemie baby herself, the opportunity resonated with her emotionally. Unfortunately, when she reached out, the spots had already been filled.
In 2009, the then 49-year-old Rebecca went back to school to get her college degree. It was something her son had been pushing her to do before he passed away. Today, Rebecca is a first-generation college student and nontraditional senior at Youngstown State University.
“My life was changing a lot but I knew I was going back to college,” she recalls. “After I got my first semester under my belt – I looked back into volunteering at Mercy.”
Rebecca’s Mercy Health volunteering journey officially kicked off in August 2009 when she was given the opportunity to serve coffee to hospital visitors. Now, a decade later, it has become a role she cherishes very much.
“I’m proud of my role here,” says Rebecca. “I’m grateful to God for still being able to do this and having the ability to be here doing what I love.”
To Rebecca, Mercy Health is a home. She has come across many faces, and some of them are now people she’s come to know as family. Rebecca is especially grateful that Mercy Health provides this opportunity.
“I see what they do in the community and I’m proud of the badge I wear.”
Learn more about the volunteer opportunities offered at Mercy Health.