Since July, Brian Scharfenberger has been “a bright spot” for both the public and fellow volunteers at Renown Regional Medical Center. Now his manager is inspired to hire more volunteers with disabilities due to Brian’s example and his personal, welcoming demeanor.
Brian Scharfenberger gave a simple reason why he wanted to volunteer at Renown Regional Medical Center: “To help the children.”
Brian, 31, has Down syndrome, but his position as volunteer allows him to focus on his abilities rather than any potential disability related to this condition. His helpful and kind work as a volunteer, notes his supervisor at Renown, has helped him thrive personally and professionally.
“Working here has really made a difference for Brian,” said Meghan Meager, Director of Volunteer Services for Renown. “It’s really helped him grow as a person and has boosted his confidence.”
Brian, who lives part-time in Reno and Auburn, Calif., started in July. He said his duties include delivering flowers and packages to patients. He also greets people at the Tahoe Tower ground floor information desk during his volunteer time, which takes place about four hours a day twice a week.
An Amazing Wayfinder
His peers note that Brian has become one of the best wayfinders in the hospital, frequently helping people who need to find a doctor’s office or area of the campus.
Brian is a familiar face to many employees at the hospital as well. He goes to Sierra Café for lunch on his shift days and also mentioned seeing several fellow volunteers as one of his favorite parts of the job.
But the work at Renown has helped him find his own way as he helps wayfind for hospital guests. Brian’s mom, Chris Marlo, works full-time for Renown as a childbirth education coordinator and meets with Brian during his shifts.
“He really feels now like he is part of the community here, like he’s a part of something and that he matters to people,” Chris said, close to crying while discussing Brian’s role at Renown. “This has just really opened a new door for him.”
Rolling Out The Red Carpet
Chris said that Meghan and her Renown team “rolled out the red carpet” for Brian and made it easy for him to succeed. “Everyone has been so welcoming,” she added. “I feel like he is treated like he has no disability, and I also needed that as a parent, to let go a little bit.”
Meghan added that she wants to hire more volunteers with disabilities to complement the diverse team the hospital uses to help patients, visitors and employees.
“Everybody really enjoys working with him,” Meghan said. “He’s a bright spot in our day.”