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As an instructor who has the privilege of working with my students at Community Regional in the Volunteer Services department, I get to witness a tremendous number of extraordinary events, experiences and growth relative to these young adults.
While in many ways, these are very special young people – having made a choice to become student volunteers at a major healthcare facility, they are also young and full of enthusiasm for their potential futures in healthcare. After all, while their friends are out doing high school things, these young people are working in responsible positions at a hospital.
In our program, ROP students are selected by their interest in the subject matter. They may be referred by a science or English teacher, or perhaps a counselor. Often, a kid just has a burning desire to become a health care provider. It might not be too much of a surprise that most are interested in the field of nursing, and a corollary statement would probably be that there is a family member somewhere who is a nurse. Those of our students interested in medical school fall into two categories, the first being those who are dreamers and who, in spite of poor family circumstances and perhaps even problems with academics at school, want to do something of value with their lives.
The other subset are those elite academic students who have a firm eye on the exact way in which they choose to serve. CRM has a pediatric heart surgeon out in Clovis who came from our program, probably best described by that latter classification.
In order to best communicate the energy and positivity of Community Regional, and the amazing impact on my students, I decided to have them write a sentence or two — quoted below — in an effort to share just a glimpse of their feelings:
“Community Regional Medical Center has helped me realize that more than ever, I want to be involved in the medical field,” said Arianna, age 17.
“I feel comfortable with everyone I meet at Community Regional Medical Center – it is such a friendly place,” said Lizeth, age 17.
“It is an amazing experience to volunteer at Community Regional Medical Center. The ED is a real education,” said Rita, age 17.
“Working at the hospital is like nothing else I have ever done. Terrific!” said Ian, age 18.
The energy, dedication and purpose which develop in each of my students is of rapid onset. It is contagious, and very self-actualizing. These are young people who feel “at home” in a hospital setting. They feel appreciated and welcomed by the staff here, and, in large part, develop the “ownership” concept relative to the organization-at-large. It becomes “their” hospital and it’s nice to get their feedback on how what they think about volunteering their time here:
“Volunteering is a great way for me to help my community,” said Andrea, age 17.
“I get to work with doctors, nurses and patients,” said Sonia, age 17.
“Volunteering at Community Regional is like being a part of an amazing world full of intelligence,” said Corrie, age 17.
“Becoming a volunteer changed my whole view of the medical field,” said Ana, age 18.
“Community Regional has allowed me to become a good leader,” said Karla, age 18.
If there is one unifying characteristic which could be observed in our young volunteers, it is the concept of the “team”. Being in the presence of the professional staff at Community Regional Medical Center is a positive influence in this regard. Healthcare, after all, is at every level a team effort. What focused young people seek today is, at least partly, validation and acceptance by their mentors and Nestor, Val and Cathy say their experiences are welcoming, life-changing and a great learning environment:
“I have met and interacted with a great number of Community Regional employees who have welcomed me with open arms,” said Nestor, age18.
“Being a volunteer is a life-changing experience. We encounter new ideas and experiences every day,” said Val, age 18.
“I have a chance to learn and experience things that I wouldn’t be able to in school,” said Cathy, age 18.
Student volunteers at Community Regional have a window of opportunity to experience personally the workings of a remarkable institution. If it could be said that they have a dream, then volunteering allows them to extrapolate into a future which is made even more real because of it.
This is a confluence of missions, the hospital and the academy, working in concert for a better community and I’m so proud to be a part of it. And because it’s National Volunteer Week, I want to say thank you to all student volunteers for dedicating their time to us.
In my position, I have a purview which is somewhere between…I am an educator, and I am a volunteer facilitator/trainer. This is a good opportunity for me to acknowledge my personal respect and admiration, my “thanks” to all of our wonderful hardworking volunteers of all categories. You are the best!
Dr. Gene Poole, Instructor
Roosevelt Health Academy, FUSD
Volunteer Services Program – Community Regional Medical Center