The Volunteen program is an initiative organized by Augusta University Volunteer Services. The program aims to utilize Augusta high school students in a meaningful way by providing them with opportunities to assist in activities that benefit patients, families and communities served by Augusta University Health and the Children’s Hospital of Georgia. Participants develop new skills and acquire knowledge to work in a professional environment.
The program runs from August to May, and in the past, students were required to volunteer for the full term. However, this requirement will change for the next school year.
“We know that students have different activities, events and functions,” said Vanessa White, coordinator with Volunteer Services. “In order to compensate for this, we decided to divide the program into two terms.”
White and her team are now accepting applications for Term I, which will run from Sept. 5 to Dec. 16, 2016. If Volunteens are interested in Term II, they do have the option of staying in their placement for the full year or receiving a new assignment.
Program participants have the opportunity to volunteer in any unit in the hospital, as well as the Augusta University Health medical offices and clinics.
Volunteens may find themselves answering phones, passing out meal trays, blankets and other comfort items for patients. There will be opportunities to assist with patient intake, clerical filing and other administrative responsibilities.
“The departments enjoy working with our teens,” White said. “They enjoy being able to provide them with a volunteer experience and helping students decide if they’re interested in pursuing a career in health care. It’s also a great way for the students to network and get references for scholarships and other programs they’re applying for. Many students use this experience for college applications.”
Volunteens are asked to give a minimum of three hours of their time at least once a week. Upon completion of the program, students will receive a certificate of completion.
“The program provides a good balance of community service and job experience,” White said. “I think it gives high school students an opportunity to see what it’s like to be in a professional environment. A lot of our former Volunteens are now working and are able to apply the skills they learned in their jobs. This program also provides great staff support. We have a lot of tasks and responsibilities we’re able to accomplish due to the support of the Volunteen program as a whole.”
Interested students can submit an application and will then go through an interview process.
“I would encourage any student that’s on the fence to give the program a try,” White said. “During the interview process, we have a conversation to see what you’re interested in. The purpose of the interview is to see where you would fit best. We want to see how we can use a student’s strength and help build their weaknesses.”