Why I Volunteer

For Release: May 15, 2008
Media Contact: Liat Kobza, Media Relations Coordinator
Phone: (650) 723-1462

Bob Upman, Volunteer at Stanford HospitalBob Upham moved here from the East Coast two years ago for a position at Yahoo!, where he is the Director of Business Development for Yahoo Geo and Maps. He has been a volunteer at Stanford Hospital & Clinics for the past year and half. He currently serves as a lead volunteer in the Emergency Department. Upham is on the Board of the Yahoo Employee Foundation, chairs that Foundation's Fundraising Committee and serves on the Yahoo For Good Grants Committee.

After many years in philanthropy, I decided two years ago to begin a new kind of giving: hands-on. I wanted to do something that would make a difference on an individual level. I chose Stanford Hospital & Clinics because of its excellent reputation. Now I volunteer two evenings a week in the Emergency Department, doing whatever I can to free the nurses, doctors and staff so they can concentrate on patient care. During the day I have a demanding job at Yahoo!, but in the evenings I clean beds, move gurneys, make sure patients have warm blankets or a glass of water. A lot of people are alone and are in pain, or scared or lonely. I have the time to talk to them and try to make them feel more comfortable.

When you contribute money, you can’t always see quick results. As a volunteer, you are personally involved and the satisfaction is immediate. When I feel tired at the end of a work day, volunteering re-energizes me, even when I’ve had a long day at work. Even though I often work late and travel a good deal, I still find time to volunteer. It has improved my quality of life – it balances everything else. I look back on all of the years I was serving on boards, attending galas or writing checks, and I realize now that I could have been doing this all along as well. Some people think they don’t have the time. Others might be afraid to serve. Before I came to Stanford, it never would have occurred to me to volunteer cleaning beds. But this kind of service is in all of us. We just don’t recognize it.

And for me, the most powerful transformation was that moment when, without even thinking about it, I moved from volunteering to make myself feel good to volunteering because I’m needed. And I know that I’m needed.

Volunteering at Stanford Hospital, in whatever capacity; in the Emergency Department, gift shop, Cancer Center, spiritual care, Health Library, or one of the Clinics, provides the same palpable benefits. I feel lucky to be a volunteer here. It is an honor and a privilege to be a part of the Stanford Hospital team.

For information on volunteer opportunities at Stanford Hospital & Clinics, call (650) 723-7424.

About Stanford Hospital & Clinics
Stanford Hospital & Clinics is known worldwide for advanced treatment of complex disorders in areas such as cardiac care, cancer treatment, neurosciences, surgery, and organ transplants. Ranked #16 on the U.S. News and World Report annual list of “America’s Best Hospitals,” Stanford Hospital & Clinics is internationally recognized for translating medical breakthroughs into the care of patients. The Hospital is part of the Stanford University Medical Center, along with the Stanford University School of Medicine and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford. For more information, visit http://stanfordhospital.org/.

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