Faces of Cedars-Sinai: Teen Volunteer Nicholai Matias
Aug 26, 2022 Nicole Levine
This summer, the Teen Volunteer Program returned to Cedars-Sinai after a two-year absence due to COVID-19. More than 200 teens pitched in at over 20 units at the medical center, taking on duties such as helping with wayfinding, assisting in hospitality, and visiting patients to offer books or magazines.
"We've been so excited to welcome our teens back to the medical center," says Michele Prince, director of Volunteer Services at Cedars-Sinai.
Nicholai Matias, 15, who just started his junior year at Troy High School, travelled from Rowland Heights to work his Tuesday morning shifts at the medical center. He shared with us what he loves about volunteering.
"Volunteering has taught me a lot of patience and people skills. Most importantly, I think I've learned the sincerity you need to deal with people. You need to be honest and attentive."
What inspired you to become a volunteer?
Nicholai Matias: My mom was a patient at Cedars-Sinai, so my family was spending a lot of time there. It became a place I got to know really well. The staff took such great care of my mom, and they were so nice to my dad. I kind of fell in love with the place. When I found out there were volunteering opportunities, I just went right for it.
What kind of volunteer work do you do?
NM: I worked with the clinical nursing staff. I spent time at the nursing station answering phone calls and relaying messages to the nurses. When I'm doing my rounds, I visit the patient rooms just to check in with people. Do they need water or ice? Do they just need someone to talk to? It's fun interacting with the nurses and getting to know them—and actually seeing what it's like to be on "the other side" of the hospital.
What's your favorite part of volunteering?
NM: I love the idea that you're making someone's day a little bit different and a little bit better while they're in the hospital. One morning when it was still a little early, I went to visit this patient. We had a nice, long conversation. It was just a regular conversation, but he was so positive even though he was in the hospital.
It's taught me a lot of patience and people skills. Most importantly, I think I've learned the sincerity you need to deal with people. You need to be honest and attentive.