[Skip to Content]

Summer volunteer program gives teens insight into the delivery of health care

SYRACUSE, N.Y.-- More than 100 high school students will spend their summer exploring the medical field and learning the value of caring for others through Upstate Medical University’s Teen Volunteer Program.

According to Kristin Bruce, director of volunteer services, the Teen Volunteer Program helps teens develop personally and professionally, while generating interest in the health care industry by providing hands-on experience and educational opportunities in a hospital setting.

“Our Teen Volunteer Program offers insight into a wide variety of career options in more than 20 Upstate departments where teens can get to know trained professionals,” said Bruce. “We believe that introducing students to a health care environment is vital to the success and continued growth of the medical field.”

Teens selected for volunteer roles will assist inpatient and outpatient departments by performing tasks, such as providing comfort care at the bedside and escorting discharged patients. Teens also learn wheelchair guidelines, patient confidentiality policies, customer service skills and more.

For William Colón, a 17 year-old high school student, the 10-hour ride from his home in West Virginia to Syracuse, N.Y., this summer was a small price to pay to participate in a program that he feels will be a stepping stone to a successful future in health care.

“I heard about Upstate’s Teen Volunteer Program through family members in the area and thought the program would be a great fit for me,” said Colón. “I know participating will not only prepare me for medical school, but will open my eyes to how a hospital operates and allow me to help people. I feel like I am gaining a sense of responsibility and am looking forward to what this summer will bring.”

Colón will volunteer at Upstate’s Downtown Campus, which features two, three-week sessions of the Teen Volunteer Program. First session teens will volunteer from July 9 to 29. Teens participating in the second session will volunteer from Aug. 6 to 26. Upstate’s Community Campus Teen Volunteer Program will take place July 6 to Aug. 21.

Participating teens represent the following high schools: Baldwinsville, Blessed Virgin Mary Academy, Central Square (Paul V. Moore), Christian Brothers Academy, Cicero North Syracuse, Cortland, East Syracuse-Minoa, Fayetteville- Manlius, Hastings (Paul V. Moore), Henninger, the Institute of Technology in Syracuse, Jamesville-DeWitt, LaFayette, Liverpool, Living Word Academy, Manlius Pebble Hill, Nottingham, Phoenix, Rome Free Academy, Skaneateles, and West Hill.

Upstate also offers many other programs to attract high school and college students to medical and health care professions. These programs include the Teen Volunteer Program at Upstate’s Community Campus, the College of Health Professions’ MedQuest and Health Careers Shadow Day, Project SEARCH, Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection, the Presidential Scholars Summer Internship Program, Mercy Works Inc. SYNERGY program, SURF program, as well as open houses for Upstate’s four colleges.

Volunteer Services also offers opportunities for adults. To learn more, visit Volunteer.

Caption: West Virginia native William Colón, has traveled to Syracuse to participate in Upstate University Hospital’s Summer Teen Volunteer Program.