Would You Like a Side of Education with That?

May 16th, 2018

Teenagers participating in the Summer Junior Volunteer Program at JPS will be served a heaping helping of knowledge during meal breaks.

JPS Junior Volunteer Sergio Alonzo Works in the Pharmacy

JPS Junior Volunteer Sergio Alonzo Works in the Pharmacy.

Called Lunches for Learning, Manager of Volunteer Services Kim Pinter said the new program has been arranged to allow a variety of JPS professionals to speak with student volunteers during their lunch period. The sessions will happen six times over the course of the students’ two-month-long summer stint at the health network.

“Our juniors are 15-16 years old and have an interest in working in healthcare,” Pinter said. “This is an opportunity for them to hear from professionals from all over JPS. It’s a benefit in return for their work as volunteers.”

The speakers, who will talk for 20-25 minutes before fielding questions from the Junior Volunteers, will include not only clinical medical professionals but also folks from Security, Transportation and other departments people might not consider when they think about healthcare careers.

Mitzi VanderArk, Community Engagement and Volunteer Coordinator at JPS, said many student volunteers arrive to begin their service convinced that there are only two professions in the healthcare field: doctors and nurses.

“We want them to realize that there are vast opportunities in the medical field, not just one or two,” VanderArk said. “There are so many opportunities out there that they might not even know about yet. Maybe we can help them find their true calling.”

In addition to describing their job responsibilities and what a day in their work life is like to students, the speakers will tell the teens about what sort of education is needed to land a job like theirs. They’ll also share other tips that could help student volunteers to navigate the path from having a career dream to making that goal a reality.

The choice of speakers was made with information picked up from volunteers’ applications and the screenings they go through before they’re selected to join the summer program, according to Pinter.

“We tried to focus on things that they are interested in,” Pinter said. “We want to give them the information they want to know.”

VanderArk said the Junior Volunteer program and the Lunches for Learning meetings will benefit both JPS and the teenagers.

“We want to share with them not only what the jobs are all about – but also what it’s like to serve at the county hospital,” VanderArk said. “Hopefully, once they’ve served as volunteers here, they’ll decide they want to come back as adults to volunteer – or to work here.”


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