‘I Guess it’s Kind of in the Blood:’ UPMC Passavant Volunteers Span Three Generations

By: Taylor Andres

3 Generations of Volunteers at Passavant

When Marge Hammer first volunteered at UPMC Passavant 50 years ago, she likely had no idea she was starting a legacy for her family. Beginning as a volunteer in the coffee shop, Hammer has dedicated five decades of her life to helping Passavant patients and employees and setting an example for her daughter and granddaughters to follow.

“We’ve never had volunteers from three generations of the same family before,” said Diane Kolling, director of volunteer and guest services at UPMC Passavant. “I first met Marge about 40 years ago and it’s incredible to see how her work has made giving to the community part of this family’s identity.”
Hammer is one of this year’s Passavant Hospital Foundation Legacy of Caring Award winners and was honored at the annual Legacy of Caring Gala last week.

“It was a shock to get the award and a shock to think I’ve done this for 50 years,” said Hammer. “Volunteering is a wonderful thing to do, because you’re not only helping people but you’re getting benefits too.”

Hammer’s daughter, Nancy Babicka, sought volunteer opportunities at UPMC Passavant after seeing how much her mother enjoyed it. She helps with tasks like preparing patient education folders, packing candy bags for employees and doing clerical and computer work.

“I’m very thankful that here at Passavant they really show their appreciation. The volunteer services department is very supportive of anything we need,” said Babicka.

Seeing the charitable efforts of both Hammer and Babicka, granddaughters Laura Babicka-Volykin and Tracy Babicka decided to lend their hands to the hospital’s volunteer services. Laura helps in one of the medical labs, greeting patients as they come in and tidying the waiting room. She also makes copies of prescriptions and runs specimens down to the labs, if needed.

“We have had both our grandmother and grandfather volunteer here for a number of years, so we saw a lot about giving to the community — giving back to the medical field. It was a very big influence in our lives,” said Babicka-Volykin. “It sort-of guided us in our interests, whether taking a job in the medical field or extending our own services to the community by volunteering at a hospital.”

Tracy Babicka was a volunteer in 2005 and now serves UPMC Passavant as a nurse. She enjoyed her time working as a resource aide at the hospital during nursing school and was able to secure full-time employment after graduation.

“On Tuesdays, my grandma always volunteers and will give a call up to the floor to see if I’m there to visit,” said Babicka. “Sometimes my mother and sister will come up, too, if they’re here. Seeing the three of them roll up on my floor — it’s something to look forward to on a work day, for sure.”

UPMC Passavant is always looking for adult volunteers who desire to be of service, have compassionate hearts and who will support the hospital’s mission of caring. Student volunteer opportunities are also available periodically throughout year.

Further information on UPMC Passavant’s volunteer services and opportunities can be found on the UPMC Passavant website.