Teen volunteers gain experience, benefit hospital

By Katie Demeria

FRONT ROYAL — Kellie Schartow, 16, of Winchester, has made friends since she started volunteering at Warren Memorial Hospital — she is especially close with the senior citizen residents she works with in the Lynn Care Center.

“It’s really fun, I like them a lot,” Kellie said.

Kellie started volunteering when she was 14, choosing Warren Memorial because her mother is employed there as well. Kellie wanted to volunteer because she is hoping to become either a pediatrician or gynecologist.

According to Melissa Boies, director of volunteer services, many students become volunteers because they are interested in pursuing future careers in a medical field.

Only Warren Memorial and Winchester Medical Center offer volunteer programs for teenagers, Boies said.

“It’s a great service for our hospitals and it gives the teens the opportunity to learn more about them,” she said.

Warren Memorial currently has its “VolunTeen” applications open. Teenagers between 14 and 17 are welcome to apply. The process includes an interview and, if accepted, a half day of orientation training.

Kellie has worked in various departments of the hospital, she said. Her favorite is the Lynn Care Center because of the relationships she’s gained with those living there, but she has also worked in the emergency department and women’s care department.

She said she enjoyed the excitement of the emergency department — it actually made her want to become an emergency room physician.

“I just like the variety that comes through the doors,” she said.

One of the added benefits of volunteering, Kellie said, is getting credit through the National Honors Society chapter at Millbrook High School, where she is a sophomore. It may also help her get into one of her chosen colleges.

Kellie’s jobs vary depending on which department she was working in. While in the Lynn Care Center she played games with the residents and called bingo.

In the emergency department she worked in the registration area, where she helped prepare files and bring them into the back for patients.

With the summer approaching, Boies said the hospital staff is looking forward to the teenagers coming in to volunteer.

“The staff really appreciates it every year,” she said “They get excited this time of year because they know the teens are coming. It’s a great added help. And people love seeing the teens out in the community volunteering at our hospital.”

“Warren County and the surrounding areas are very community oriented so it’s great to have the teens come in,” she continued.

Around 30 to 35 volunteens will be selected this year, Boies said. They try to select the number depending on what each department needs.

The work, Kellie said, is great preparation for future medical careers.

“It’s fun, and it’s something new and different,” Schartow said. “And you also get to bring joy to other people and you’re having fun all at the same time.”

Applications are available in the guidance offices of Skyline High School and Warren County High School. Completed applications should be returned to Boies no later than May 16. Those with questions can email Boies at mboies@valleyhealthlink.com.

Contact staff writer Katie Demeria at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or kdemeria@nvdaily.com