Published September 18, 2014
ATLANTA—Sixty-two high schoolers committed a minimum of 40 hours during the summer to changing lives with the VolunTeen program at Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital.
Students from Alpharetta, Dunwoody, Johns Creek, Lithonia, Cobb and other areas of Atlanta traveled weekly to Emory Saint Joseph’s to participate.
The young men and women got a chance to dress in scrubs to learn about health care.
“This year, we had extraordinary students in our eight-week program,” says Allison Hager, director of guest and volunteer services at Emory Saint Joseph’s.
Students updated information on the white boards in patient rooms, transported patients and assisted with the delivery of supplies all around the hospital.
The program began more than 35 years ago by the Saint Joseph’s Hospital Auxiliary volunteers. It’s a chance for students to interact with a variety of people, from nurses and physicians to patients.
One student, Niyi Gleason, has a heart for volunteering. “I lived most of my life in orphanages,” said the South America native, who was adopted by a Dunwoody family, “and I didn’t always have people around to care for me and make me feel safe.”
“I know that patients who are in the hospital may be scared if they are very sick or don’t know what is wrong with them. It is important for me to give them the care and attention they need,” she added.
Blessed Trinity High School students Nate and Kai Karamarkovich were first introduced to volunteerism by their grandmother, Alice Malone, a dedicated volunteer with the Saint Joseph’s Hospital Auxiliary for the past 33 years. “My grandmother influenced me to volunteer,” said Nate, a BT senior, who worked in admissions. Nate organized charts, greeted patients and transported them around the hospital for procedures. His brother Kai, a 10th-grader, worked in materials management, picking up supplies for nurses, answering patient calls and delivering meals to patients in several of the hospital’s units.