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NEWS | Sept. 23, 2014

MCAHC Youth Volunteer Program inspires youth to follow dreams

By Andrew J. Brown Jr. McDonald Army Health Center Public Affairs

McDonald Army Health Center's youth volunteer program is designed to recruit local high school students with the opportunity to learn and serve.

The health center's goal is to provide youth with meaningful opportunities for training, leadership and community service, as well as supplement the permanent staff at the health center. 

In 2004, a proposal to develop a youth volunteer program was approved at MCAHC. The program has continued to grow and currently averages 20 student volunteers from June to August each summer. 

"For the youths that are interested in learning more about the medical field, this program gives them an opportunity to learn different disciplines in the medical field," Albert Durant Jr., MCAHC Red Cross youth volunteer coordinator.

The program fosters a way for students to develop skills, learn about career options and garner new professional contacts.

"I like the idea of getting a feel for different medical careers," said Olivia Snipes, Pharmacy, same-day surgery and Gastroenterology volunteer,. "I can get a good idea of a job that I can be happy with my whole life."

At the end of the each year's summer youth volunteer program, U.S. Army Col. Glenda J. Lock, MCAHC commander, Pittman and Durant recognize the hard work and dedication of the volunteers.

Recognizing youth volunteers can give them a sense of accomplishment, but more so, it allows them to use the acknowledgment for future endeavors if they choose to pursue careers in the medical field, said U.S. Army Col. Glenda Lock, MCAHC commander.

"This program is the key to the future of our youth," said Lock. "Exposure to various opportunities in health care provided the volunteers with hours needed for the high school credit, meets the requirement for college admission, and most of all an experience of a life time. I look forward to continued partnership with the Red Cross to provide this opportunity for even more of our youth".

The youth volunteers who participated in the 2014 Summer Youth Volunteer program at MCAHC contributed 1,667 hours rated at $18.50 an hour, which equates to a $30,839.50 cost-saving benefit to the organization.