Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Teens Spend the Summer Volunteering With the Piedmont Fayette Hospital Auxiliary

As the bell rang on the last day of school, many students ran off to spend their summer tanning by the pool, playing video games or watching TV. Lenox Tillman and Jay Wormer, however, chose to spend their summer vacation learning the ins and outs of medicine and healthcare volunteering at Piedmont Fayette Hospital through the hospital auxiliary’s youth volunteer program.

“I volunteer every Friday from noon to 4 p.m. and it’s really helped me overcome being shy,” said Tillman. “Everyone is really nice. One person gave me a silver angel pin to say thank you, and said that I deserved angel wings because I was an angel! Now I wear it every day I volunteer.”

This is Tillman’s first year volunteering and she works in the West Outpatient Lobby, escorting patients and families to help make sure they are comfortable. At 14 years old, Tillman will be a freshman in high school this fall. Her grandmother, Gayel Tillman, helped create the PFHA Youth Program more than ten years ago.

“The pool of applicants for our program grows each year,” said Alan Koth, president of the Piedmont Fayette Hospital Auxiliary. “You can’t help but be impressed by the exceptional quality of these young people, and their commitment to contributing to the community, whether through volunteering, church activities, or school leadership roles. They certainly represent the very best of today’s youth, which in turn is an investment in our future.”

Wormer, 17 years old, is going into his senior year of high school. This is his third year volunteering with the program, spending most of his time in surgical services.

“I think it’s good to help people,” said Wormer. “I feel like I’m putting these family members’ minds at ease.”

Wormer wants to continue with a career in sports medicine. After high school he hopes to attend the University of Georgia and then one day return to Fayette County, perhaps even to work at Piedmont Fayette Hospital.

Tillman and Wormer are among the 160 teenagers who committed their time to Piedmont Fayette Hospital Auxiliary’s Youth Volunteer Program this summer. More than 30 percent of these youth volunteers returned from last year.

The program provides volunteer opportunities in nearly 20 service areas at Piedmont Fayette Hospital allowing each participant to have a unique experience and explore the various aspects of the healthcare field.

The eight-week program included a hospital orientation, CPR training, an opportunity to attend a state youth volunteer conference and day-to-day shadowing experiences with PFH employees and volunteers. In its eleventh year, the number of applicants and excitement for the program is as strong as ever.

Students in the PFHA Youth Volunteer Program must be between 14 and 18 years of age, submit an application and essay on why they want to volunteer, provide a letter of reference and be able to commit a minimum of 25 hours over the summer. These students from Fayette, Coweta, Clayton, Fulton and Spalding counties attend public and private schools as well as attend home school.

The Piedmont Fayette Hospital Auxiliary is a 270-member team that provides volunteer services to the hospital. If you would like more information regarding volunteer opportunities, please call 770-719-7098.
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