The healing power of play

30 May 2023 | Volunteer Stories


As a volunteer at Radio Lollipop Auckland, Daniel Jimenez visits sick children in hospital one night a week to bring smiles to their faces when they need it the most.

‘Helping people makes me feel good,’ says Daniel. ‘I’m a much happier person because of my volunteer role at Radio Lollipop. The simplicity of play affects the child, their family and me as a volunteer. I always leave with a smile on my face too.’

David recalls an example of the mutual benefit gained when he was volunteering in Starship Children’s Hospital Atrium one evening.

‘A timid boy – who’d only recently started suffering from seizures – came to visit, along with his dad. I spent time playing with the boy, got him on the radio and helped him out of his shell. Whilst watching his son on the radio his dad got chatting to me and said that he hadn’t seen his son this happy since the seizures started happening.

‘One year later I was at an event where the same boy and his dad starred in a Radio Lollipop promotional video. The transformation in the boy and words of gratitude he and his dad expressed were incredible. It made me really happy to know that I’d had a positive effect on the boy and his dad.’

Angela Mackie, Volunteer Coordinator at Radio Lollipop says Daniel has made a real difference to their team. He is reliable and enthusiastic – not only on the wards, but also at events and fundraisers. His ability to interact with people of all ages is valuable as is his kind and considerate manner.

In fact, says Angels, all their volunteers (playmakers) are the most essential part of their programme. They all bring their own style of fun – using play, laughter, music, crafts, broadcasting and one-to-one connections to engage every child and encourage healing and recovery.

Radio Lollipop Auckland is a member of Volunteering Auckland, which has enabled them to connect with many new volunteers.
‘We have been very fortunate to have had a good selection of people apply to join our volunteer team as a result of advertising with Volunteering Auckland,’ reports Angela.

“As a charity we don’t always have access to people experienced in human resourcing. Advertising through Volunteering Auckland has lifted our ability to reach new volunteers, linked in with our social media campaigns and shared our stories through their channels.”

If you want to become a Radio Lollipop volunteer, le them know you’re interested here:

by Delia Middleton
Volunteering Auckland volunteer storywriter

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