New Brunswick hospital relaunches NJ high school volunteer program
🏥 RWJUH has re-launched its high school volunteer program following COVID-19
🏥 Volunteers must be a sophomore and at least 15 years old
🏥 Afternoon and weekend shifts are available
NEW BRUNSWICK — If you’re a high school student who is interested in a career in health care, this volunteer program is for you.
Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) in New Brunswick has announced the re-launch of its high school volunteer program to support a wide range of functions throughout the hospital.
Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the hospital’s volunteers were among the first individuals asked to depart the organization, and they were among the last to return, said RWJUH Volunteer Services Director, Jacob Persily.
“We are so glad that this last piece of our program is to allow our high school students back into the facility to gain the experience they’re looking for in the healthcare space,” Persily said.
What is the high school volunteer program about?
Volunteers support about 35 different departments around the hospital, both assisting staff with needs on the units, as well as helping the patients with basic needs like blankets, pillows, filling water pitchers and just talking to them, having conversations, he said.
“They say the best non-clinical medicine is good conversation and keeping your mind sharp. We have some patients who spend a lot of time here at Robert Wood Johnson as we try to provide the best care we possibly can. Many of them don’t get visitors as frequently as we’d like them to,” Persily said.
So, having volunteers in the building is an incredible resource to the team and to the patients, he added.
What is the criteria?
High school volunteers must be at least 15 years old and a sophomore in high school. Shifts are available in the afternoons and on weekends. It is the hope that students will give three to four hours a week over the course of at least a year, Persily said.
Adult volunteers are always needed, too. Adults, including college students, of all ages are welcome to join the adult volunteer program.
Currently, there are 150 active volunteers at the facility, Persily said. However, there is no limit. They hope to as many volunteers as possible at the hospital.
What is the benefit of volunteering?
Persily said the high school volunteer program provides students the opportunity to dip their toe into the healthcare space, to learn about potential career opportunities in healthcare, whether that may be toward a clinical or non-clinical goal, and it provides great opportunities for those in the community to give back to people in need.
While this volunteer opportunity may be a rewarding way for kids to get a jump start on a medical career they want to pursue, this first experience in healthcare may also point out to some, that this is not the right path for them.
When Persily is done conducting an interview, he said he always says “Thank you for wanting to make a difference in the lives of people in our community.”
That’s exactly what they do at RWJUH, he added.
For information or to apply for the high school volunteer program at RWJUH, please visit here.
Jen Ursillo is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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