LaVerne Hampton is Shriner’s Hospital’s for Children — Tampa’s Female Volunteer of the Year for 2017. Twenty years ago, Mrs. Hampton started volunteering at the Tampa hospital. A former bookbinder at the University of South Florida, she began serving in the hospital’s nutritional services department. Over the years, Mrs. Hampton worked tirelessly, helping to ensure inpatients enjoyed a good meal in a social setting. Friendly and kind, Mrs. Hampton spent time getting to know each patient individually. Mrs. Hampton says she was inspired to serve our hospital because “I love working with and being around children.”
Eventually, technological advances enabled the hospital to greatly improve patient care and shorten stays for patients. When that happened, inpatient meal services were largely phased out. However, Mrs. Hampton is so caring and dedicated to our patients, she was willing to grow and change with the needs of our hospital. Today Mrs. Hampton serves as a courier, traveling to various departments throughout the hospital, where she interacts with our doctors and staff regularly.
“LaVerne is so committed to helping Shriners Hospitals for Children — Tampa accomplish our mission to care for children with orthopaedic conditions regardless of their families’ ability to pay, that she is willing to do whatever it takes,” Volunteer Services Coordinator, Maria Bataclan said.
When she served in the nutritional services department, Mrs. Hampton helped provide inpatients with healthy meals. At the same time, she enlivened our patients’ days while they were recovering from surgery. With a smile on her face, Mrs. Hampton helped set up tables and chairs in the “fish bowl” recreation area to create a temporary dining room for inpatients. Often, she encouraged our patients to come share a meal rather than eating alone in their rooms. Then, Mrs. Hampton helped transport patients from their rooms to the improvised cafeteria. The program was so popular that patients were regularly lined up around the corner, waiting to receive their meals.
“I really enjoyed interacting with our patients and wonderful staff,” Mrs. Hampton recalls.
Because she interacted with patients so frequently, Mrs Hampton got to know many of them well. For instance, Mrs. Hampton regularly spoke with a young male patient that she is still in touch with today. As an international patient, he came from South America to receive care at our hospital.
“Meeting children from other countries and seeing them grow and overcome their adversities has had a powerful impact on my life,” Mrs. Hampton says. Additionally, Mrs. Hampton’s daughter, Kathy Evans, works at the hospital’s front desk and recalls her mother’s devotion to our patients vividly.
“Mom would talk about the kids like they were part of our family,” she said.
To learn more about opportunities to volunteer, click here.