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July 24, 2014
Doretta Royer 315 464-4833

Teens learn about health care through Upstate’s Summer Teen Volunteer Program

SYRACUSE, N.Y.— Upstate University Hospital’s Downtown and Community campuses are giving 120 teens the opportunity to learn more about the field of health care through Upstate’s Summer Teen Volunteer Program. For teens who are undecided about their career paths, volunteering helps to broaden their field of education and their perspectives on health care career opportunities.

According to Rhonda Butler, manager of Upstate’s Volunteer Initiatives, this year’s Downtown Campus Summer Teen Volunteer program is holding two three-week sessions for a total of 80 teen volunteers. The Community Campus has 40 teens who are volunteering all summer.

The teens attended an orientation in early summer where they learned proper hand washing techniques, proper wheelchair guidelines, patient confidentiality, Upstate’s Patient Experience initiative and enforcing good customer service skills.

“The teen volunteers have been a big part of our volunteer program every summer,” said Butler. “I really enjoy watching them learn the hospital environment and to better understand how important it is to take care of others. I think their volunteer time not only makes an impact in patient satisfaction, but also in the lives of the teen volunteers themselves.”

Sandra Delaney, director of Payroll Services at Upstate recounted the experience her daughter had as in Teen Volunteer Program last summer. “She was able to experience a broad range of real life situations, instead of what she might imagine from a classroom or textboook,” Delaney said. “She gained a much better appreciation for all of the facets and faces of healthcare that support their healing process. The experience took her from a dreamy 14-year-old to a more open minded and compassionate, focused young adult.”

Teen volunteers at the Downtown Campus are required to complete a minimum of 40 hours within a single three-week session. Community Campus requires the teens to volunteer for 50 hours throughout summer. The teens are responsible for assisting staff and patients in more than 20 inpatient and outpatient departments, escorting discharged patients to their cars and providing comfort care at the bedside. While three of the teens come to Upstate from Texas, Connecticut and New York City, the majority of the teens are local residents.

Caption: Rhonda Butler, center, tours teen volunteers Baylee Casper and Andrew Sopchak through Upstate University Hospital. Casper is a senior in the Auburn School District. Sopchak is a junior at Fayetteville-Manlius High School.

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