WAVE (Wisconsin Award for Volunteer Excellence) Award
The Wisconsin Awards for Volunteer Excellence (WAVE) program was established by Partners of WHA, Inc. to recognize outstanding contributions of organized volunteer programs, and is patterned after the AHA (American Hospital Association) HAVE (Hospital Award for Volunteer Excellence) Awards program.
The WAVE Award recognizes volunteer programs whose work directly furthers the mission of the institution they serve. One WAVE Award may be given to a program in each of the five categories:
Community Outreach and/or Collaboration
Public Policy and Advocacy
2023 WAVE Committee
Chair - Pat Freeders
The original application and four complete copies must be submitted to the WHA office and postmarked
on or before: Friday, June 9, 2023
2022 Wave Award Winners
Category: Community Service Programs
Winning Program: “Leaving a Legacy Memory Huggables”
Winning Organization: Partners of Crossing Rivers Health, Prairie du Chien
This program was developed to support family and friends who are coping with the loss of a loved one. The Partners of Crossing Rivers Health (CRH) transform a piece of clothing into a huggable memory bear or pillow. This compassionate response to people who are grieving supports the organization’s overall goals of caring for the community, positively impacting mental health and supporting health and wellness. A volunteer writes, “These special pillows and bears help ease the pain for when someone is missing a loved one, holds silent witness to the one’s sorrow and also serves as a cuddly reminder of the one who has passed.”
Category: In-service Hospital Volunteer Programs
Winning Program: “Blue Tote Bags”
Winning Organization: SSM Health St. Mary’s Madison Volunteers, Madison
The Blue Tote Bag program is a volunteer sewing program that provides patients and hospital staff reusable tote bags from leftover medical sterilization wrap material. The benefits of the program include saving the hospital money by sending patients home with a reusable bag, as opposed to a disposable one, as well as providing staff with a recycled reusable bag. This innovative and environmentally friendly program is a forward-thinking approach to an age-old issue of overloading our landfills with materials that will take hundreds of years to degrade. This, coupled with the cost saving benefits to the hospital, make this program a practical and enduring practice that can be maintained at SSM Health St. Mary’s Madison for years to come, but can also be duplicated easily at other hospitals.
Category: Fundraising Programs
Winning Program: “Bakeless Bake Sale"
Winning Organization: Mercy Hospital Volunteers at Ascension Mercy Hospital, Oshkosh
During COVID, it was not possible to hold the normal in-person bake sales that Mercy Hospital Volunteers typically held twice a year. The “bakeless” concept involved asking volunteers to provide monetary donations, as opposed to baked goods. Each year, a program is selected to receive the proceeds from this event. The result has been an event that not only takes significantly less effort to coordinate and complete, but also has raised two and a half times the amount of money that the traditional bake sales raised. While we hope COVID is mostly behind us, this is a program that can endure whether a pandemic is upon us or not. The programs receiving the proceeds from this event are able to continue their mission of supporting the community, which in turn means a healthier community.
Category: Community Outreach and/or Collaboration Programs
Winning Program: "Rainbow’s End Camp"
Winning Organization: Aspirus Wausau Hospital Volunteers, Wausau
Rainbow’s End is a summer day camp for children ages 5-21. This camp provides children with physical, cognitive and/or emotional challenges the opportunity to interact with their peers in a safe and competition-free environment that is fun and inspires creativity and self-confidence. A mother of a camper writes, “The Aspirus Rainbow’s End Camp for our family means that our child is able to be a part of typical summer activities that children enjoy with their peers. The focus is not his disability, but rather celebrating the unique and sweet little boy that he is.” The camp benefits Aspirus Wausau Hospital by connecting some of the patients who were born in the NICU or cared for in the Outpatient Therapy Clinic with this unique opportunity to support them as they grow and integrate into the community.
Community Service Programs: “First Breath Gift Basket”, Friends of Vernon Memorial Healthcare, Viroqua
In-service Hospital Volunteer Programs: “Switch’n It Up” Aspirus Volunteers of Medford, Medford
Fundraising Programs: “RE TAG IT", Mercyhealth Association of Volunteers, Janesville
Community Outreach and/or Collaboration Programs: "Hunger Care Program", Volunteers of Prairie Ridge Health, Columbus
No awards given for 2020 because of the pandemic.
Community Service Program: “Partners Emergency Department Service Project”, Partners of Beaver Dam Community Hospital, Beaver In-service Hospital Volunteer Program: “Hospital Elder Life Program”, Auxiliary of Howard Young Medical Center, Woodruff
Fundraising Program: “Volunteer Community Brat Fry" , Aspirus Medford Hospital & Clinics, Aspirus Volunteers, Medford
Community Outreach and/or Collaboration Program: "First Aid & Trauma Kits", Partners of Marshfield Medical Center - Ladysmith, Ladysmith
Community Service Program: “Babysitting Clinic”, Partners of HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital, Chippewa Falls
In-service Hospital Volunteer Program: “Patient Comfort Hand Massage” , SSM Health-St. Mary’s Hospital Auxiliary, Madison
Fundraising Program: “Snowflake Bazaar", Aurora West Allis Medical Center Women's Auxiliary
Community Outreach and/or Collaboration Program: "Healthy Kids Club", Aurora Memorial Hospital of Burlington Volunteers
Community Service Program: “Dignity Quilts”, River Falls Area Hospital Auxiliary, River Falls
In-service Hospital Volunteer Program: “Discharge with Dignity”, Ascension Good Samaritan Volunteers, Merrill
Fundraising Program: “Rag Cutters", Flambeau Hospital Auxiliary, Park Falls
Community Outreach and/or Collaboration Program: "Santa’s Workshop-Enchantment in the Park", Partners of St. Joseph’s Hospital, West Bend
St. Croix Regional Medical Center Volunteer Partners, St. Croix Falls - Little Free Library
St. Mary’s Hospital Auxiliary, Madison - No One Dies Alone
Volunteers in Partnership with Community Memorial Hospital, Menomonee Falls - Weekly Cookie Sale
Partners of HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital, Chippewa Falls - Community Garden
Aspirus - Wausau - We Honor Veterans
Mercy Health System - Janesville - Emergency Department Volunteers
HSHS St. Vincent Hospital - Green Bay - Fashions from the Heart
HSHS St. Joseph's Hospital - Chippewa Falls - Dementia Friendly Business Initiative
2014 WAVE WINNERS
Beaver Dam - Craft Fair
Menominee Falls - Community Garden
Janesville, Mercy Hospital Volunteers - Onocology Volunteer Program
La Crosse, Gundersen Partners - Alzheimer's Care Givers Kit
On April 29, 2019 at noon, Partners hosted an informational call regarding the WAVE and the Best of the Best Award nominations. Unfortunately, due to a technical error, the call was cut off.
To hear the recording, click here.
The remainder of the answer that was cut off was to list organizations that were included in the collaboration.
Thank you to Joyce Breen, WAVE Chair, and Arletta Trejo, Best of the Best Chair, for sharing their expertise.