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The Heart of BIDMC

Young Volunteers Make A Difference

For many teenagers, summer is about hanging out with old friends, catching up on sleep and visiting with family. But that's not the case for 30 local students who opted to spend many sunny days inside, learning how to care for the sick.

2010 Summer Health Corps Volunteers

"I know that I'm making a difference in a patient's life in some way," says Hannah Zack, Summer Health Corps volunteer in Hematology/Oncology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.

Summer Health Corps Volunteer Hannah Zack works with Administrative Assistant Sandra Valentin-Brown in Hematology/Oncology

BIDMC's Summer Health Corps program gives young people ages 14-17 who are interested in the medical field the opportunity to volunteer inside a hospital. Students are placed in various departments, from Cardiology to Social Work to Public Safety, and are all given tasks within their departments.

"Over 70 students applied this year," said Terry Morgan, Volunteer Services Program Coordinator. "We wish we could take them all."

The lucky students who were accepted this year volunteered for more than 100 hours this past summer. Throughout the program the students tour different areas of the medical center, and gain greater insights into hospital workings.

Lindsey Shanck, a student at Hingham High School, said the Emergency Department was her favorite tour. "It was so fast paced!"

Other tours include Radiology, where some excited students were subjected to an ultrasound for the first time. Students also tour the Spine Center, and participated in an emergency evacuation drill-helping to relocate 34 mannequin baby dolls from the neonatal intensive care unit.

"The program is a great learning opportunity for the students," said Amanda Iwunze, Program Mentor, Volunteer Services. Students do administrative work, assist nurses, make phone calls and act as patient greeters. "I've seen them grow as a group, work well together and solidify their goals," she said.

And solidify their goals they do. After the Emergency Department tour, Nick Bolden, a student at Boston College High School, knew he wanted to become a trauma surgeon. "I love the patient contact," he said.

Jane Richardson, a volunteer in nursing, knew she wanted a job in the medical field, but now wants to be an immunologist. "I've learned a lot."

The program enables high school students to ignite their interest in the medical field. Students say they love the patient contact and the hospital experience. Daniel Genkin, volunteer in Cardiology, said, "The best part is really just being inside the hospital."

Above content provided by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. For advice about your medical care, consult your doctor.

Posted July 2010

Contact Information

Terry Morgan, Program Coordinator
Volunteer Services
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Gryzmish 210
330 Brookline Avenue
Boston, MA 02215