Maryville Student Wins Volunteer Award


Like many community organizations, Ranken Jordan Pediatric Specialty Hospital has come to expect great things from the Maryville University students who volunteer. For the second straight year, a University student has been named the hospital’s “Rookie Volunteer of the Year.” The latest award recipient is sophomore Stacy Straub of Staunton, Ill., who is majoring in physical therapy.

“Stacy has been with the hospital less than one year but has already shown an exemplary amount of commitment and dedication to the children and families at Ranken Jordan,” said Ashley Gross, the hospital’s volunteer coordinator. The Rookie Volunteer of the Year is selected by the hospital’s Pediatric Health Related Services staff, Gross noted. Staff members lauded Straub’s performance and commitment to her volunteer duties. “We value this volunteer for the help she provides us every week and for the high quality contribution she will one day make to the pediatric physical therapy world,” her nomination letter stated.

Based in Maryland Heights, Ranken Jordan is one of only five pediatric specialty hospitals nationwide that cares for both sick and seriously injured children between the ages of 2 weeks and 18 years, regardless of a family’s ability to pay. Patients are in transition from acute medical care facilities to going home. Straub began volunteering at the hospital in August 2006 to fulfill the community service requirement of her Maryville scholarship. Though obligation led her to Ranken Jordan, it was a love of her job that kept Straub at the hospital, long after her community service requirement had ended.

“It’s like a close-knit family, where the staff and volunteers strive to work together,” said Straub, who logged more than 100 volunteer hours at the hospital during the 2006-07 academic year. She worked primarily with patients ages 8 to 18 on activities of daily living. Straub said the older children began to regard her as a friend, given her closeness in age to them. “A lot of my job was to supplement what the therapist does,” she remarked.

Straub plans to return to Ranken Jordan as a volunteer in the fall. She sees her work as great practical experience for her planned career in physical therapy. “It’s so rewarding to see the kids’ faces light up. They almost forget the conditions they have,” Straub said.

Maryville University, founded in 1872, is a private, coeducational institution offering approximately 50 undergraduate, seven master’s and two doctoral degree programs to 3,300 students. Ranked by U.S. News and World Report as one of America’s Best Colleges in the Midwest, Maryville University prepares its students for successful and meaningful careers by offering programs that integrate liberal arts with professional studies.

Among Maryville’s most recent graduates, 94 percent are employed or attending graduate school. Approximately 15,000 alumni work and live in the St. Louis region.