Investing in Our Community – International Volunteer Day
Belinda Underhill serves as a Nurse Manager in the Stormont Vail Health Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and has been doing so for many years. She started her nursing career shortly after her daughter was one of our patients, receiving unbeatable care by the NICU team. Through this experience, Belinda observed what type of support she could give to other mothers, patients, and family members by being a part of the Stormont Vail family. Now, in addition to working full-time at the hospital, Belinda spends time every week volunteering within the community we serve, to give back even more.
“I volunteer at Second Chance Animal Refuge Society (SCARS) on Saturday mornings and my other volunteer job is with the Mobile Access Partnership (MAP) where I am part of the Street Dog Coalition (SDC),” explained Belinda.
SCARS is a non-profit, no-kill animal shelter located on a 50-acre piece of land in Auburn, Kansas. This organization provides a safe place for dogs who are homeless or abandoned and regularly has over 50 dogs there on any given day.
When asked how she helps, Belinda excitedly said, “I help with feeding, cleaning, bathing, exercising, socializing, and really anything else that needs done!” All healthy dogs at SCARS are available for adoption; however, if not adopted, the dogs are able to remain at the sanctuary where they are cared for and loved on every day.
“Sometimes my fellow co-workers volunteer at the dog rescue with me! Maureen Cummins, the owner of SCARS, has written two books and even thanked the Stormont Vail NICU team in her second book for our volunteer efforts,” said Belinda, proudly.
Mobile Access Partnership is a coalition in Topeka that allows the Topeka Rescue Mission, Valeo, Stormont Vail, and the Topeka Police Department to supply unsheltered individuals with their daily needs, at different locations throughout the community.
“The purpose of MAP’s Street Dog Coalition is to meet unsheltered pet owners, where they are, to provide veterinary services at no cost and to protect the human-animal bond,” said Belinda, “We care for the lives on both ends of the leash.”
As a volunteer, Belinda greets and welcomes clients while gathering information about them and their pets to ensure that all needs are met during their MAP visit. Fortunately, alongside Belinda, there are often K-State veterinarians, students, techs, and a pet behavior specialist! In addition to the care and support the SDC provides to clients, they are able to offer many other free items such as collars, harnesses, leashes, coats, and food for pets.
While Belinda, volunteers so much of her time, she encourages others to do so whenever they have the time – even once a month!
“I would encourage anyone to become a part of this wonderful mission. I feel so blessed and consider it a privilege to be a part of this amazing team and to help others through volunteering my time. It is very humbling to feel the kindness and appreciation that our clients have for each other and our team. The love they show their beloved pets is simply beyond measure.”
Meeting so many wonderful people through her volunteer work, Belinda said she has gained so many new skills and relationships, “I am a happier, healthier person and my heart overflows with joy and hope for a better tomorrow.”
Stormont Vail Health is unbelievably proud to have team members that puts forth their free time to the betterment of our community; changing lives one day at a time.