The 2018 graduates of our Summer Youth Academy stood as a reminder of a bright future as Shriners Hospitals for Children ─ Northern California honored the contributions of an outstanding group of volunteers. 31 high school students from 21 different schools came from near and far to spend six weeks immersed in departments throughout our Shriners Hospital. Research, therapy, orthotics and prosthetics, pharmacy and hospital administration were among the many areas benefiting from an infusion of youthful enthusiasm.
With a limited number of spots in the Academy, the selection process is competitive. Academy applicants must submit a written essay and commit to a minimum of 8 hours a week for 6 weeks. Finalists participate in a panel interview to complete the placement process. In addition to their volunteer placement, all Youth Academy participants attended two lectures by Shriners Hospital staff.
Lillian Nelson, volunteer services manager, shared, “Each year the selection process becomes more difficult due to the high caliber of students applying. These are bright, passionate young people that want to learn all they can about careers in health care. Volunteer Services is deeply grateful to the departments and staff that mentored these outstanding youth. Their experience is only as good as the staff that take the time to share their experience and allow the students to see working professionals in action.”
Clinical Lab manager Lin Kassouni discovered just how meaningful the experience is to the summer youth. Lin received a note from the mother of one of the Academy volunteers who worked with Erick Sencil in Diagnostic Imaging. The mother wrote: “The radiologist (Erick) took her under his wing and really encouraged her to pursue an M.D. I think Shriners just changed her life trajectory!”