Olga's Story

Giving back is so important.

Family means everything to me. So, when I saw that my mother was treated like a precious family member by the staff at what is now Monmouth Medical Center, Southern Campus, it truly made an impression on me.

My mother always suffered from heart problems and toward the end of her life, she was sick often and hospitalized on several occasions. Every member of the hospital staff that we came in contact with was patient, sweet and understanding. My mother was very reserved, so they went out of their way to always ask her if she needed anything.

I just knew that I had to give back in some way for the compassionate care mom received and years later, I fulfilled that promise.

Time is a precious commodity for a parent who works full-time. As a school psychologist for the past 47 years and mother to two wonderful, grown children, it took some time for the right opportunity to present itself. But, when it did, I was ready to donate my time to Monmouth Medical Center, Southern Campus.

I visited the Lots for Little Thrift Shop in Lakewood with a friend over a decade ago and was able to use my Spanish language skills to help a customer make a purchase. The supervisor at the shop asked me to volunteer on the spot and I was excited for the opportunity to help the hospital that helped someone I love.

More than 12 years later, I am still volunteering every Saturday, raising funds to support the outstanding programs at Monmouth South in Lakewood. I think my mother would be proud. I am honoring those who lovingly cared for her while helping the whole community. I am so thankful for this wonderful experience. Volunteering for the hospital reinforces the notion for me that you don’t truly feel good until you give just for the sake of giving.

~ Olga Zayas-Ortiz, Howell

Learn more about the thrift shops at Monmouth South.