GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — It might be some of the best volunteer work imaginable: getting to spend free time cuddling babies.
Spectrum Health has hundreds of volunteers in the Child Life Volunteer program who get to do just that, spending countless hours putting smiles on the faces of children.
But it's not just fun, it's actually integral to a newborn's development.
They do everything from cuddling newborns to playing games with teenagers. Parents can't always be at the hospital with their child — many have jobs or have to go home and take care of other kids, so the volunteers play a crucial role.
Medical experts say eye contact and TLC are essential for a baby's development.
“Some hospitals call them cuddlers or baby holders. And we do have some babies who can use the extra attention and positive development by being held more often," says Kim Francis, Volunteers Services Manager for Spectrum Health.
Every week for the last 10 years, Jean Kraai has volunteered three hours of her time to help brighten the day for children.
“I love coming here it’s my favorite day of the week. They do like eye contact, yeah. And just rocking them and making them feel secure and making them feel like everything will be ok,” said Kraai.
Spectrum has more than 200 Child Life Volunteers that work at hospitals and outpatient clinics, but they're always looking for more.
Anyone interested can sign up on Spectrum's website.