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How to Be a Candystriper (or Candy Striper)

Updated on August 14, 2014
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Laura has been interested in ideas for small business from her own childhood. Small businesses run in her family.


It seems a very long time ago but, I was a candystriper at the local hospital. If you consider volunteering a job, candystriping was my first job. I had done other things to make money before that, but not in that day to day reporting for a job kind of way.

My favourite candystriping job was working on the main information and greeting desk at the hospital entrance. We were asked for change for the parking meters and phones more than anything else. But we also directed traffic to the right floor, looked up patient room numbers, took phone calls that the switchboard couldn't immediately direct to the right room.

I also worked as an escort, taking people from their room out to the front door where people were picking them up to take them home. I also took a library cart around to the patient rooms. I delivered and set up the little televisions in the rooms too. I never liked having to collect the money when people forgot or just didn't want to pay for it.

There were other jobs the candystripers did. I forget most of them now. We had the run of the hospital and could go almost anywhere. The place I most liked to go was the very top floor of the hospital. Not the roof, but the floor just one under it. It was never finished being built and didn't even have glass in the windows. Being so high up we could look out over the whole area. I was sure I could see my intersection at the highway. Mostly it was a sea of trees and forest.


Later I went on to volunteer in other types of businesses and charities. I currently volunteer at a medical charity (again). No uniform this time around, just a lanyard and a name card.

I still have my old candystriping uniform around somewhere. All my badges for volunteer hours are still pinned to the shoulder strap. After 100 hours we got a red bar to pin on our uniforms. I had three of them and then they changed the rewards to something else. I forget what it was now. Not something we could pin on anyway.

My Mother had hopes I would become a nurse after my candystriping days. But, I never wanted to be in the medical field.

Candystriper Paper Doll, 1965

Candy Stripers Book by Lee Wyndham, 1958



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