MOUNT AIRY, NC – Some area teenagers were busy this summer. For the first time since 2019, due to Covid-19, rising high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors from across the county dedicated their summer break to volunteering at Northern Regional Hospital. Twenty-five Junior Volunteers filled the Hospital hallways throughout June, July, and August logging in 1,353 volunteer hours.
More than 50 applications were received this year for the annual program. Unfortunately, the hospital cannot accommodate an unlimited number of students in the program so Tina Beasley, Manager of Volunteer Services, was tasked with combing through the applications, essays, recommendation letters, and interviews to narrow the pool.
“Beginning in January, we send out applications to all area high schools seeking junior volunteers,” said Beasley. “After applications are received, we begin working with all the hospital departments to determine opportunities available. We want our juniors to have a truly worthwhile experience. This program is such a wonderful opportunity for our local high school students to pursue. Not only do the junior volunteers help our staff by assisting with many tasks during their time here, but we also try to help the junior volunteers by exposing them to different careers within our organization. There are so many careers, both clinical and non-clinical, at Northern Regional Hospital that many students aren’t even aware of. This program allows them to see those careers first-hand in a real-world environment. Our hope is that we can provide experiences to help set them on their desired career path.”
The Junior Volunteers in this summer program included Olivia Combs of Carroll County High School, Virginia; Chloe Koons and Hailey Penn of East Surry High School; Cheyenne Rogers of Millennium Charter Academy; Emilee Corn, Abby Epperson, Emily Gutierrez, Hannah Khuri, Morgan Mayfield, Bill Rierson, and Niya Smith of Mount Airy High School; Natalee Frazier, Jessica Flores-Martinez, Nadia Hernandez, Meredith Hicks, Sarah Jane Lawson, Erin Moore, Sadie Moore, and Ella Riggs of North Surry High School; Madison Spencer, Ivy Toney, Brianna Wilmoth, and Payton Wood of Surry Central High School; and Kayla Easter and Shayna Hicks of Surry Early College High School.
Junior Volunteers work in almost every area of the hospital including surgery, emergency, security, skilled nursing, birthing center, intensive care, med/surg, and hospital-owned physician practices.
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“Over the course of my time as a Junior Volunteer, I have experienced many things, such as colonoscopies, strokes, and kids with broken bones,” said Junior Volunteer Cheyenne Rogers of Millennium Charter Academy. “Experiencing a busy Emergency Department amazed me by the variety of what comes in the door. One thing that stuck with me was when I got to see many victims of a car accident come in, many of whom were almost near death. The quickness of everyone to act to save these lives was amazing. They all needed different care, as some were bleeding heavily, and others had minor injuries. Whatever the case, getting to talk to the patients and their families made me feel like I was making a difference. Whether I was holding someone’s hand during childbirth, or cleaning a patient room, this program has had an outstanding impact on me. The experience confirmed that I am definitely pursuing the right field. I’m very grateful for this experience and the entire staff at Northern Regional Hospital.”
“We are so blessed to have Northern Regional Hospital in this community,” said Jennifer Epperson, Executive Director for NC HOSA and mother of current junior volunteer, Abby Epperson. “The real-world experiences they provide are so valuable in helping students make important decisions regarding their futures. Junior Volunteer Program participants have told me how wonderful the staff is. They explain everything to them and make them feel welcome. Most students across our state are not getting these valuable experiences that Northern Regional Hospital has to offer. Their dedication to our students is amazing.”
The Junior Volunteers closed out their summer program with an appreciation banquet held for them at Surry Community College on August 11, 2022.
Applications for the next Summer Junior Volunteer program at Northern Regional Hospital will be accepted beginning in January 2023 via their website at choosenorthern.org. For other volunteer opportunities for youth and adults, contact Tina Beasley, Manager, Volunteer Services, at firstname.lastname@example.org.