Two teen volunteers from Floyd Medical Center, Taylor Carles and Rupal Patel, have been awarded the Jean Cory Youth Scholarship from the Georgia Hospital Association (GHA).
The Jean Cory Scholarship is awarded to high school seniors who have been active youth volunteers at a local hospital and who provided 80 or more hours of volunteer service. The scholarship helps students continue their education at a technical college, or state college or university in Georgia.
Patel and Carles were two of 12 teen volunteers chosen for this scholarship in the state of Georgia. The GHA Council on Volunteer Services, which awards the scholarship, is divided into six districts with two teens selected from each district. There are currently 70 hospital member volunteer groups that are eligible to compete for the scholarship.
Patel graduated from Rome High School and will attend Shorter University in the fall with plans to transfer to the University of Georgia to earn her undergraduate degree. She plans to work with children either as a pediatric dentist or physician.
Patel volunteered two summers, working in ICU and preop where she filed paperwork and put away supplies. During part of her second summer, she worked the magazine cart. This involved taking a cart of donated books and magazines to each patient room and asking patients if they would like something to read. “I liked the magazine cart the most because I got to interact with patients and visit them in their rooms, and also got to meet many nurses and doctors,” said Patel.
Carles graduated from Pepperell High School and will attend Berry College for one year and then transfer to Georgia Tech to complete her college degree. After earning her undergraduate degree, she plans to attend Emory University School of Medicine and specialize in surgery.
Carles was a teen volunteer for two summers. During her second year, she served as an ambassador for the Volunteen program, helping recruit new students, assisting with orientation and giving tours. Carles also worked at the front desk. “Aside from being in a hospital environment, since that’s where I want to work as a career, I enjoyed being able to talk to and interact with people who came in,” she said.
To be part of the Volunteen program, students must be 16 or 17 years old, complete an application, write an essay, and provide references, their GPA and a list of extracurricular activities. Students must give at least 40 hours of time and attend two lunch and learns to successfully complete the program.
In 2018, teen volunteers contributed nearly 1,500 hours of service over a two-month period. “We have teens assigned to Surgery, Outpatient Services, the magazine cart, Public Relations, Guest Relations, Hyperbarics and Wound Care, Infection Prevention, and many other departments,” said Carolyn Falcitelli, Director of Volunteer Services at Floyd.
“Our Volunteen program is a unique opportunity for these high school students to experience the internal workings of a hospital. For many, it is the deciding factor regarding what career they will pursue. For Floyd, the benefit is providing potential health care workers with an experience that will hopefully shape their future and make them want to return to Floyd, not as a volunteer, but as a paid health care provider,” said Falcitelli.