Volunteering to GIve Back and Make a Difference - One Nurse's Story

Colette Jappy, RN has worked on the adult Surgical / Oncology unit, called 5 North, located at Mount Zion, for over five years.

Born in England, she came to California in 1988 and received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree at San Francisco State University.  While she was a nursing student, a friend invited her to volunteer at Glide Memorial Church to help prepare / serve food, one of the many services they offer to their community. Colette found this experience rewarding and enjoyable, sparking her interest in volunteering, which would then become a passion.

Discovering an Opportunity To Give Back

Not long afterwards, Colette discovered an organization called HandsOn Bay Area (HOBA). This non-profit organization coordinates opportunities for people to volunteer for a multitude of other local non-profit organizations, schools and parks all over the Bay Area. It allows for individuals to volunteer despite busy schedules since they offer programs on evenings and weekends with flexible commitments. They even provide a way to sign up for projects and track service hours online. The HOBA website provides a calendar of events and information on joining. Colette has participated in numerous events through HOBA, including outside gardening for schools. In addition, she has become a project leader for Project Open Hand, an organization that provides meals to San Francisco and Alameda county seniors living with serious illnesses.

Inspiring and Mentoring Others to Volunteer

Colette extends UCSF Nursing’s mission of caring, healing, teaching and discovering into her personal life as she not only cares for the elderly stricken with illness, but also mentors others that are first time volunteers, providing guidance and support. Over the last 8 years, Colette has logged over five hundred hours of service to her community, a remarkable symbol of her commitment to her community and to serving others.

Volunteering has brought her the opportunity to create and build relationships and bring a sense of camaraderie, fellowship and community. She has also inspired her family to get involved. Her husband currently participates in LightHouse for the blind and visually impaired, while her sister enjoys activities related to dog walking. The key, Colette says, “is to find a field that you enjoy as there are many opportunities out there to become involved.”

Many other nurses at UCSF on Colette’s unit are aware of her commitment to volunteering. She enlisted some of them to join her and participate in a particularly special project with HOBA call “Be the Change Day” as it rounded out HOBA’s season of service 9/1/11 – 10/1/11 where approximately 3,000 people volunteered in their community, dedicated to the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

Make a Difference

There are many organizations looking for volunteers, like Colette, who with caring and nurturing in their hearts share their time enhancing the lives of others, while enriching their own lives at the same time.