Torrance Memorial's volunteer program celebrates its 70-year anniversary in 2021!
Written by Jill Biggins Gerbracht
Torrance Memorial volunteers play an integral role in providing compassionate
service to the hospital’s patients and visitors. The program started
from modest beginnings in 1951 when a group of six ladies met at the original
hospital on Cota Avenue for the purpose of organizing a Women’s
Auxiliary. With 59 active volunteers at the end of the first year, the
program has grown to more than 900 participants.
The program expanded to students in 1965 when teenage girls began their
volunteer service at Torrance Memorial as candy stripers. The group changed
its name to Student Volunteers when teenage boys began serving shortly
The hospital’s longest-running volunteer, Mimi Brody (at 52 years
and counting), began in 1969 when doctors and nurses smoked on campus
and the gift shop was on a rolling cart that traveled throughout patient
rooms. Today she still volunteers in the Gift Shop, serves on the Auxiliary
board of directors and has volunteered more than 30,000 hours! Mimi has
served in many roles, from greeting visitors to helping the pharmacy department
and a variety of other activities.
Volunteers and staff at Torrance Memorial agree that laughter is one of
their most important treatments. The hospital’s Clowns on Rounds
volunteers bring smiles to patients during vulnerable moments in their
lives. One of the hospital’s most memorable clowns was Pinkie, a
volunteer from 2000 to 2014, best known for her endearing charm and outfits
for every holiday (bottome left).
The hospital’s Pet Visitation Program, started in 1990 with four
dogs and their owners, brings smiles to patients from a cast of cute and
cuddly four-legged friends. Currently 16 dogs and their owners are in
the program. The dogs are “volunteers” too, complete with
bandana “uniform” and photo ID badge.
All adult volunteers are members of the Torrance Memorial Auxiliary, which
is proudly celebrating its 70th anniversary this year. In addition to
providing volunteer service, the Auxiliary also supports various patient
services and has raised more than $7 million over the years.
With more than 150,000 hours of service each year, Torrance Memorial volunteers
touch the lives of thousands of our community’s residents. Undoubtedly,
our volunteers make a world of difference in the lives of patients and
their loved ones.