Candy Stripers: When Volunteering is a Family Affair

One Family, and between the four of them they have completed over 1,200 hours of volunteer service. Some of you may be familiar with the Uzowihe family.

April 14, 2016

One family, and between the four of them they have completed over 1,200 hours of volunteer service. 

Some of you may be familiar with the Uzowihe family. Marcel, who works full-time as a pharmacist, says “This hospital has been so generous to my children and has given us a lot, so of course we want to give that right back and offer all that we can.” Volunteering and giving back to the community is something that’s rooted deep in the Uzowihe family. Marcel spent some time volunteering at his youngest son’s middle school. But when he started high school back in 2015, he decided to come over to the hospital, where he has since been volunteering in our ER department. Marcel helps the ER with registrations and guiding visitors back to their loved ones. 

Chinaemerenwa Uzowihe also known as Chi Chi, 22 years old, started her work here as a candy striper back in June of 2011 alongside her younger sister, Chidera. Chi Chi began volunteering in the Radiology department, performing a variety of tasks for them. She later received the award for Most Outstanding Youth Volunteer in 2012 for all of her great work the year before.  Chi Chi went off to college at Marymount University and later returned back to us as an adult volunteer in 2013. Upon her return, she was placed in the labor and delivery department, where she really enjoys her time assisting with the department and their needs. 

Then there is 20 year old Chidera Uzowihe. She spent her first few summers helping out on the nursing floors, doing everything from refilling water pitchers to making photocopies. Then she started working in the hospital’s marketing department and acting as a front desk runner, using her familiarity with the building to escort visitors where they needed to go. Back in 2013 she accepted the Youth Volunteer Scholarship, which is funded through efforts by the hospital’s adult volunteers, and is awarded to a college-bound senior who has completed 75 volunteer hours and met additional criteria. The scholarship granted her $1,000, which was used to help with her tuition at University of Pittsburgh. 

The third Uzowihe sibling we have had the opportunity to work with is Chinonso Uzowihe, also known as Chino. Chino, now 18 years old, started volunteering at MSMHC in 2013. He has assisted associates in the pharmacy and storeroom by making deliveries throughout the hospital, logging deliveries into the computer system, receiving packages, and restocking pharmacy supplies. When Joanne Johnson, Volunteer Coordinator, interviewed Chino for the program she cautioned him that if he was selected he’d have big shoes to fill, since his older sisters had set the bar high. “With great confidence, he promised me that he could fill those shoes. I’ve watched him do just that,” Joanne said. This was proven to be true when he won the $1,000 Candy Striper Volunteer Scholarship just last year. Now Chino is going to school at FAMU University in Flordia and is exploring his interest biology. 

On behalf of MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center, we want to thank the entire Uzowihe family for all of their amazing contributions to our organization!

Youth Volunteer Program

Candy Stripers, known for their red and white striped pinafores, have graced hospital halls and patient rooms for nearly 70 years. Most U.S. hospitals have abandoned this youth volunteer, yet MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center’s Candy Striper program is thriving. Learn More.

Marcel Uzowihe, pictured in front of his daughter Chidera Uzowihe, to the far left.
Marcel Uzowihe, pictured in front of his daughter Chidera Uzowihe, to the far left.
Chinaemerenwa Uzowihe and Chidera Uzowihe
Chinaemerenwa Uzowihe and Chidera Uzowihe
Chinoso Uzowihe
Chinoso Uzowihe

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