Sharing Our 'Thanks' with Strong's Newest Crop of Summer Youth Volunteers
From as far away as Caledonia, Penfield and Mt. Morris, nearly 300 motivated area high school students are joining the ranks of the Friends of Strong volunteer program this summer.
You’ll see them helping out in a number of areas around the Medical Center and at some off-site clinics over the next eight weeks. Throughout the summer program, students ranging in age from 14 to 18 will spend a minimum of 30 hours serving in support of our Patient- and Family-Centered Care (PFCC) initiatives.
Driven To Succeed
These ambitious young men and women from more than 50 high schools throughout our community provide support such as delivering flowers, helping at the Information Desk, and assisting in ambulatory clinic waiting rooms. Those we’ve talked to express an interest in helping serve and improve our community—many with a desire to pursue a career in health care.
Olivia Herford, an avid soccer, basketball and softball player who attends the Charles Finney School, is eager to create a positive impact as she volunteers in the Cancer Center this summer. “I want to contribute to the community because there has to be a circle of contribution between caregivers and patients and community,” she says. “By being there for someone when they’re in a hard situation, you can really brighten their day.” She is interested in becoming an Occupational Therapist.
Joseph Alaimo, a Webster sophomore who enjoys biking and spending time with family and friends, is volunteering in oral surgery this summer. “Volunteering helps students and kids my age see how important it is to help people,” he says. “We also get to learn about careers while interacting with and building people skills.”
“These volunteers fit in perfectly with our PFCC initiatives,” says Sandy Arbasak, director of Friends of Strong. “They're friendly, they have time to spend with patients and families, and they care deeply about helping in the community.”
Makayla Cappon is a junior at Allendale Columbia School who enjoys playing varsity soccer, and wants to one day attend the University of Rochester to pursue a career in medicine. “I’m really interested in going into the medical field and wanted a taste of the different aspects of the health care environment,” she says. “I’ve always loved helping people and I thought this would be a good way to do that.”
East Irondequoit freshman Julia Kerbs also hopes to study at Rochester, with a focus on dentistry and becoming an orthodontist so that she can one day help people feel more confident in their smile. She’s looking forward to making a difference this summer by helping our patients feel better if they’re feeling down or just want someone to talk to while awaiting their appointment at our Ambulatory Care facility. “Volunteering here really lets us make a difference in people’s day,” she says.
Another of this summer’s student volunteers is Penfield sophomore Nicole Catalfo, who hopes to draw from her experiences as an athlete while she volunteers at our Penfield Orthopedics and Rehabilitation Center. “It’s a great opportunity for high school students to reach out in the community,” she adds. “We can help others, and get to experience what the real world is like.”
Prior to beginning their assignments, each volunteer completes all hospital-mandated training, including HIPAA training, meeting all hospital requirements for working with patients, UR Medicine’s Staying Safe: Education for Minors Who Volunteer at SMH, and the Mandatory In-service Education Manual, as well as all proper health screenings. Each student also dons a University volunteer ID badge to identify themselves to visitors and patients.
Department Participation Makes It Possible
“We're very appreciative of all the departments—both long-standing and new—which have stepped up to design and offer activity descriptions and placements for this year's group of ambitious students," says Joyce Stadtmiller, volunteer program manager.
“It truly helps us makes a difference for those we serve,” Sandy adds. “Our patients and families consistently tell us how wonderful it is to interact with them.”
When you spot one of our student volunteers wearing a burgundy-colored Friends of Strong polo shirt this summer, please offer them a welcoming “hello” and thank them for volunteering with us.
For more information on volunteer opportunities at Strong Memorial Hospital, visit the Friends of Strong website, or call the Friends of Strong Office at (585) 275-2420.
Matt Ulakovic |