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Summer youth program off and running

Summer youth program off and running

Source: Paul Bello, Fort Belvoir Eagle

Red Cross Teen Volunteer

Fort Belvoir Eagle

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Summer youth program off and running

By Paul Bello
Staff writer

Summer vacations are usually linked to beaches, pool parties and cookouts. However, for several area high school students, this summer includes traveling for another reason.

In conjunction with the American Red Cross, the DeWitt Health Care Network launched its annual summer youth program June 26, which saw more than 20 high school students from around Fairfax County sign up as volunteers at the hospital.

According to Col. Kimberly Armstrong, deputy commander of nursing, young men and women are realizing the importance of volunteering, which garners not only hands-on experience, but personal growth, as well. 

“It’s a wonderful opportunity to support the patients here, but also to learn something about themselves,” Armstrong said. “Everyone walks away with a lot more than they realize. Volunteers learn what it’s like to work with others, in addition to the ins and outs of hospital life.”

After a presentation on health and safety, patient privacy and customer service, all things every volunteer should remember, according to Armstrong, this year’s group was fingerprinted and photographed for their personalized identification badges.

Gail Later, who is chairman for this year’s summer youth program, said volunteers will work anywhere from 4-16 hours per week in a designated clinic at the hospital.

“I’m interested in becoming a nurse and thought this would be a great way to get some experience,” remarked Carla Gotay, a sophomore at Springfield High
. “It’s also a great way to build up your resume and make yourself more attractive when applying to colleges.”

Brad Murray, another high school sophomore, also sees the advantages of volunteering at DeWitt. 

“It’s a win-win situation,” he said. “We’re getting experience while lending a hand here. Even if we help in a small way, that’s still considered a contribution.”
DeWitt is still accepting applications for its summer youth program. Anyone interested can call 805-0043 or email

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