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International Volunteer Day profile: Charlie Liu

In honour of International Volunteer Day, we're putting the spotlight on BC Women's and BC Children's volunteer Charlie Liu.
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With more than 1,000 volunteers at any given time, there are as many motivations which inspire people to volunteer. Some volunteers are students who want to get a feel for what it is like to be at the hospital while others may be retired professionals who want to give back. As a navigation volunteer, Charlie Liu, has the opportunity to meet new people and improve her English. 

Prior to moving to Vancouver in 2013, Charlie was an obstetrician in Shenzhen, China. For 15 years, she cared for women in a hospital setting before she transitioned into teaching. Charlie then spent five years as an associate professor at Shenzhan Polytechnic, instructing nurses and midwives, which she reports was the highlight of her career.

 “When I first came to BC Children’s and BC Women’s hospitals, I thought I would volunteer at BC Women’s because I thought I could help pregnant patients but there was not a volunteer position like that.”  

As a navigation and wayfinding volunteer since April 2018, Charlie says she “is familiar with the environment and understands patients' needs.”  She is always greeting patients and their families with a smile and is quick to offer assistance with finding their way at our busy campus.  

“I don’t have a job here in Vancouver and I wanted to do something meaningful. In China, I didn’t have the time to volunteer. For me, volunteering is the best way to contribute to society.”  

Not only does Charlie volunteer, but she has taught her son the importance of giving back. Charlie’s son, Ryan, is in grade 10 and he has been volunteering at a local senior centre for over two years. Outside of volunteering, Charlie enjoys reading novels, both in Chinese and English, doing yoga and walking the beautiful trails here in Vancouver.

Navigation and wayfinding volunteers are a huge part of the hospital. Often, they are the first point of contact – a person to greet patients and help them find their way.

A lot of patients, families and visitors to BC Women’s and BC Children’s hospitals are native Chinese speakers. Charlie, along with many other volunteers at the hospitals, is also fluent in Cantonese and Mandarin. Charlie says: 

“When I see patients and their families release worry when I can help them, that is the most rewarding part of volunteering.”
Learn how you can volunteer.
BC Women's Hospital + Health Centre; BC Children's Hospital; Volunteers; People in Profile
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