JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - St. Bernards began a program to comfort little ones in the NICU while the parents are away.
The NICU Cuddlers Program brings in volunteers to hold the babies and give them undivided attention during their stay.
NICU Manager Jill McBride said the volunteers enjoy their time in the NICU.
“They love coming in and holding the babies, talking to them,” McBride said. “A lot of our volunteers are grandparents, or who would love to be grandparents, and they get to practice.”
Studies prove if a baby is held with skin to skin contact, it shortens their length of stay.
Volunteer in the NICU Cuddlers Program Billie Henley said she’s been a volunteer at St. Bernards for quite some time.
“I was in the gift shop and I wanted to do something more personal with the patients and give back to the community,” Henley said. “I mean, what’s not to love about holding a baby? It’s the best job in the world.”
Volunteers have been welcomed into the NICU by the nurses and staff on the floor.
“We love having them here,” McBride said. “They’re happy to be here and we’re so thankful they have volunteered to come help us out.”
Henley said she enjoyed seeing the progress the babies in the NICU make.
“The best part would be the journey you have of holding a baby," Henley said. "Knowing that you might make a little bit of difference in the development in the early stages of their life.”
To get involved in the NICU Cuddlers program, a completed application and background check are required.
For more information, contact the St. Bernards Foundation at 870-207-2500.