Galatas finds hospital work fun, motivating

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 7, 2004

By SUE ELLEN ROSS Staff Reporter

LAPLACE – Jessica Galatas loves working on the computer. As a student at Destrehan High School, she enjoyed many hours at the keyboard.

After graduation, she wanted to branch out to gain more business experience before trying for a job.

Her mom, Jodi Bleakley, suggested volunteer work at River Parishes Hospital.

Galatas applied last fall, and now comes to the hospital four days a week.

“Everyone here is great,” she said. “I love visiting around and meeting new people.”

Her daughter fits right in, according to Bleakley. Her sunny disposition works well with her volunteer time.

“No one is a stranger to Jessica,” she said. “She is a people person.”

Due to her limited capabilities, a tailor-made program was designed for the motivated young woman.

Galatas now alternates between the hospital business office and the cafeteria. “I do like the cafeteria work, but I love the computer,” she said. While in the business office, she works with data imput.

Bleakley said the hospital staff has been wonderful working with her daughter. “Sometimes you see the disability before you see the person,” she said. “That’s not true at this hospital.”

She cited the atmosphere at last year’s hospital Christmas party. Galatas was right up there on the dance floor with everyone, having a lot of fun, according to the proud mom.

The inspired volunteer looks forward to each day, always coming to work with a smile on her face, according to her personal care attendant Ella Wallent.

Wallent is also a volunteer at the hospital, and accompanies the young woman during her daily duties.

The volunteer work is, and continues to be, a positive experience for Galatas. The benefits are mutual, for both the hospital and the friendly volunteer. She plans to stay for an undetermined amount of time. “This is my job,” she said. “I love it here.”