Youth volunteer program sees record enrollment
Story by Rebekah Almquist, BAMC Public Affairs
Published June 25, 2013
Alexander Font, 15, meets his supervisor Barbara Osorio during the Youth Volunteer Program orientation June 18 in San Antonio Military Medical Center. Font is working for Brooke Army Medical Center’s Tumor Registry Service throughout the summer. U.S. Army photo by Robert Shields
JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- More than 80 San Antonio area youth are dedicating their summer to Brooke Army Medical Center as Red Cross volunteers this year.
On June 18, the high school students attended a volunteer orientation in San Antonio Military Medical Center, giving them an opportunity to meet their supervisors and to visit their new work areas.
Michael Dulevitz, chief of BAMC Volunteer Services, said the program grew this year by 30 percent.
“This is the largest enrollment we've ever had in the history of BAMC,” Dulevitz said. “The staff created 94 positions. The previous largest enrollment was last year with 64 positions. The growth is amazing.”
Volunteers have the opportunity to shadow a number of professionals at BAMC from pediatric nurses to pharmacists. While positions in nursing, orthopedics and emergency care fill up first, Dulevitz said the program allows youth to gain valuable experience - regardless of their department.
“You can read things in books, you can hear teachers talk about things, or hear things on the news,” Dulevitz said, “but until you come and do it, you don't know what it's really like. This is real world.”
Alexander Font, a 15-year-old youth volunteer, is working for BAMC's Tumor Registry Service this summer. Font said he is surprised by the real-world experience given to students and plans on signing up again next year.
“When they gave the presentation I realized it's more than just filing paperwork,” Font said. “They are teaching us about integrity and honesty. They really put a lot of trust in us to take care of other people.”
The program also acts as community outreach to thank San Antonio for its ongoing support. BAMC is the only hospital in the area that offers summer internships to students.
The Summer Youth Program is made possible by a partnership with BAMC and the San Antonio American Red Cross. Parents may sign up their youth in the Office of Volunteer Services each year starting on a designated day in May. The program concludes Aug. 6 with a BAMC Youth Recognition Ceremony.