General News
Posted February 12, 2014
Jeanette DeYoung - All Children's Remembers a Special Volunteer

Jeanette DeYoungAll Children's Hospital lost a legendary volunteer when Jeanette DeYoung passed away on January 30 after serving the hospital in numerous roles for more than 45 years.

She first heard about All Children's Hospital as a volunteer with the Children's Home Society (an organization dedicated to serving abused and neglected children). "A lot of the women were coming down to the hospital when it was first built, so I just followed the crowd," Jeanette said during an interview in 2013.

"I started volunteering here in 1968. I did everything. I worked just about any place I was needed. Many years ago, the hospital had a snack bar run by volunteers. One time, I brought in 10 pounds of homemade chili and sold it for 10 cents a bowl as a fundraiser." She also worked in the surgery office, gift shop, the front desk, and assisted with the charity ball and telethon auction as well.

Because of a special family connection to Willard Scott of NBC's Today Show for many years, Jeanette was responsible for making sure Willard had a Taste of Pinellas T-shirt to hold up on the show to help plug the event.

"She was a gem of a volunteer," said Volunteer Coordinator Ranetta Sumner. "She would always brighten the room with her positive upbeat attitude. She never complained about anything. The staff and volunteers loved being around her.  We always looked forward to Friday mornings when Jeanette would come to the hospital."

Volunteer coordinator Brittany Circharo only worked with Jeanette for a short period of time, but loved hearing her amazing stories about her early years at All Children's.

When asked about her favorite volunteer job, Jeanette didn't hesitate for a moment. "It's the job I have now," she said. "I put charts together for surgery. I enjoy that. We have a team of volunteers to help compile all the forms that are inserted in hundreds of charts each week."

"The work she did for us was very much behind the scenes," said Bonnie Baker, RN, Clinical Manager of Perioperative Services. "She started out assisting our staff to organize surgical charts and it wasn't long before she had a team of volunteers who took over the project. She made a real impact at ACH. There was never a day that she wasn't smiling or laughing about something. She always made me feel proud to be part of this organization."

Another hat Jeanette wore proudly was serving on the ACH Teen Volunteer Scholarship Committee. The Frances Shoemaker Scholarship was established in 1993 in memory of the first ACH volunteer director, who had been a close friend of Jeanette's.

"I'll never forget the first meeting of the scholarship selection committee," said Roy Adams, ACH Public Information Officer, who served as volunteer director for 18 of Jeanette's 45-year volunteer career.

"We had about a dozen applications from our teen volunteers and they all had an outstanding record of academic achievement and community service. It was hard to choose just one teen that stood out among all the others. The goal was to award one $1,000 scholarship, which was being funded through the generosity of the ACH Foundation."

"Jeanette took her job on this committee very seriously. She spent hours carefully reviewing each application. By the time she finished stating her case, it was not unusual for the committee to award an additional 2-3 scholarships."

Jeanette witnessed many changes during her four decades of service. "It's amazing!" she said.  "Never in a million years did I expect a new hospital. I'm so happy about it. I think the community deserves this. I make sure that everyone who comes to see me gets a tour."

A Celebration of Life for Jeanette will take place at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 15 at the Freefall Theatre Company, located at 6099 Central Avenue in St. Petersburg.