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Answering the Call to Care: My Volunteer Journey

Published on May 14, 2024

Having moved to Fresno in 2020, I was happy to discover that in the heart of Fresno, California, lies a sanctuary of hope and healing: Valley Children's Hospital.

There, dedicated healthcare professionals work tirelessly to provide exceptional care to the tiniest and most fragile members of our community - the infants in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). As a NICU Cuddler, I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to help these amazing people and support them in their mission to provide exceptional care to every baby. 

Being a NICU Cuddler has reminded me of the importance of being present. In a world where technology often dictates our interactions, there is something profoundly therapeutic about simply being there for these babies, offering them undivided attention and unconditional love. Just rocking or humming to them, every interaction is an opportunity to create a sense of security and stability in their journey towards health and wellness. 

Beyond the profound impact on the babies, volunteering in the NICU has also enriched my own life. It has provided me with a renewed sense of purpose and connection, allowing me to make tangible connections here in the Fresno area. It has connected me with a community of people who share a common passion for service. And perhaps most importantly, it has reminded me of the profound interconnectedness of all of us - that our capacity to love and care for one another knows no bounds. 

- Ruth Graczkowski, NICU Cuddler 


Heart of Healthcare Week

Heart of Healthcare Week is a time for Valley Children's to celebrate our valued team members who work hard to fulfill our mission every day and have an immense amount of heart for this work. We take this time each year to recognize the unwavering dedication of our staff, physicians and volunteers to our patients and families who depend on us. To learn more about Valley Children's and our mission, click here.