High school students are spending the month of July serving Cone Health and the community.
Greensboro – A group of high school students is taking time over the summer to make a difference in the lives of their neighbors.
The 32 students in Cone Health’s Summer Teen Volunteer program have spent the month of July serving patients in a variety of roles at The Moses H. Memorial Hospital and Wesley Long Hospital. The cohort is the first to take part in the program since the start of the pandemic in 2020.
The chance to volunteer at the health system was the perfect opportunity for Hunter Metzloff, a rising senior at Guilford Early College. Metzloff spent the month transporting patients around the Moses Cone Hospital campus and learning about the needs of the community.
“I thought this was a good place to help [people],” said Metzloff, who plans to one day pursue a career in biomedical engineering. “I think this is something more people should do. Volunteering is a great way for young people to help out.”
The Summer Teen Volunteer Program is for high school students, ages 15 and older, looking to make a difference in the daily lives of patients, visitors and staff at Cone Health. The application process includes recommendation letters, a minimum grade point average, and up-to-date immunizations. Once accepted, teen volunteers take on a wide range of roles supporting Cone Health and the communities it serves.
For Andrea Tapia-Diaz, a rising senior at Western Guilford High School, helping means staffing the surgical service desk at Moses Cone Hospital. Tapia-Diaz wants to be a nurse someday and says her interactions with patients and families have helped her learn a great deal about others. A fluent Spanish speaker, she has also enjoyed the opportunity to make the hospital experience more pleasant for those who don’t speak English.
“It’s very special to me,” she said. “Helping people be more comfortable in their environment when they don’t know how to speak a language fluently is just happiness for me.”
And the students haven’t only made an impact on patients – they’ve also brought joy to the lives of some of Cone Health’s full-time volunteers. “They are such a bright light,” said Frances Whitman, an 18-year volunteer with Guest Services. “It’s encouraging to know that the next generation has some wonderful young people who care about others.”
Beyond helping others, the volunteer program teaches students about how a health system operates and gives them helpful knowledge they can use in future careers in medicine. Misa Brumby, a rising sophomore at Dudley High School, wants to one day become a surgeon or pharmacist and knows her time volunteering at Wesley Long’s surgical service desk gives her a strong start on that journey.
“Being so young, you can’t really do much,” she said. “You can’t have a job, or do other things, so getting to help the hospital is such a great experience. I value this a lot.”
Duncan Moore is a junior at Northern Guilford High School and wants to one day practice sports medicine. As he helps tend to the Healing Gardens at Wesley Long and sanitizes the children’s playroom at the hospital, he’s happy to know he’s putting his free time over the summer to good use.
“It’s great to be out of the house knowing I’m making a difference and not just sitting and watching TV all day,” he said. “I think it’s really cool that I’ve had the chance to do this.”
After a two-year hiatus, the Summer Teen Volunteer Program’s organizers are excited to once again work with and mentor the next generation of medical professionals.
“Cone Health is very committed to the community, and the youth are an important part of the community,” said Holly Beck, assistant director of volunteer services at Cone Health. “They’re the up-and-coming physicians, nurses and professionals that are hopefully going to come back and work and volunteer at Cone Health someday.”
For more information about the Summer Teen Volunteer Program, please email email@example.com.