​​Juan Carlos, volunteer at Toronto General Hospital
Juan Carlos, volunteer at Toronto General Hospital, is proud to be a part of the ‘Navigator Program’, which helps guide patients in a complex setting. (Photo: Volunteer Resources)

You may have seen this familiar face at the University entrance of Toronto General Hospital (TGH), lending a helping hand to visitors.

Interpretation Student and passionate photographer, Juan Carlos, has been a dedicated Navigator at UHN since September 2012. With his generous and sincere demeanor, Carlos is a valued TGH volunteer.

Carlos' interest in volunteering began when his father became ill and was admitted to hospital. Given the great care his father received, he was inspired to support patients and families at UHN.

Good fortune and giving back

Since his recent move to Canada from Mexico, Carlos feels grateful and privileged for everything he's experienced. He wanted to repay his good fortune in some way and decided that volunteering was the best option.

"My reward is receiving a smile or 'thank you' from someone I've helped navigate through the hospital," said Carlos. "There is a sense of personal satisfaction that is received from helping those that are stressed and lost. It helps them to feel safe and secure in this environment, considering the circumstances they may be in."

Carlos believes that his volunteer experience has made him a patient person with a more humble perspective. He recognizes what may seem like a sizable issue in the moment, is in fact very small compared to what he observes in his role.

Supporting patients in a complex setting

Carlos is proud to be a volunteer at UHN and believes the Navigator Program is distinctive and beneficial to the patient experience. Many visitors are surprised and delighted when they realize there are volunteers to help guide them in this complex setting.

"If a patient, visitor or staff member is running late, it will cause a delay in the entire process – it affects the service being offered," said Carlos. "Therefore, navigating helps prevent disruptions and contributes to the quality of care."

Thank you Juan Carlos for being so dedicated to this role and mentoring new Navigators!

National Volunteer Week is April 6-12, 2014. Have you thanked a volunteer today? As part of this year's Volunteer Week, you can call the Volunt-Hear Hotline at 1-855-373-5077 between March 23 and April 12 to thank a volunteer. To learn more about National Volunteer Week, click here​.

Special thanks to Sara Ahmad, Volunteer Resources Intern, and Theresa Vallentin, Program Coordinator, Volunteer Resources at Toronto General Hospital for submitting this story.​

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