For almost 30 years Manuela Solis was a teacher at Gabe P. Allen Elementary School in West Dallas. When she retired from DISD she continued her love for children by being an expert cuddler at Methodist Dallas Medical Center in Oak Cliff.
Being a cuddler isn't about just sitting in a rocking chair with a newborn. The neo natal intensive care unit is a high risk area, premature babies are in a fragile condition and there can be other dire conditions that require wires and feeding tubes attached to these tiny, precious bodies.
Manuela Solis has volunteered every Wednesday for 18 months. She calls the hospital her "home away from home" and says the NICU is "a slice of heaven."
A cuddler must be trusted by the parents and the nursing staff to properly care for these preemies. Human touch is essential for these babies. It helps them stay calm, sleep and eat better and gives them a sense of connection. The nurses are busy with work they must do and due to work or caring for other children; the parents aren't always able to spend lots of time with their premies...that's where Manuela and other expert cuddlers make a difference.
Methodist Dallas Medical Center has 335 volunteers in 60 departments. If you'd like to join the team of volunteers...log on to www.methodisthealthysystems.org under Ways to Give-Volunteers-Methodist Dallas Volunteer Services.