PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Propelled by a desire to encourage youth to volunteer while also introducing them to the health care field, The Aroostook Medical Center has instituted a new program to encourage teens to give to others.
The Presque Isle hospital created the TAMC Teens Paying It Forward Program in response to the number of high schools in the area that are requiring that students perform volunteer work each year in order to graduate. Presque Isle and Caribou High Schools are two institutions that have such requirements.
Sherry Beaulieu, manager of volunteer services at the hospital, said recently that she believes that encouraging teenage students to get involved with volunteering at TAMC at a young age “is a great way to inspire service to others, community connectivity and encourage career goals towards health care.”
The new program requires volunteers to be at least 14 years of age. They also must have a recommendation from a teacher, school leader or representative, civic organization, or other community business leader. Beaulieu said that TAMC has been accepting teen volunteers for several years, but she believes that the new volunteer program will motivate more students to sign up.
Katelyn Hewitt, a senior at Caribou High School, has been volunteering since June 2011.
“Volunteering is a great opportunity to give back to the community,” she said.
Hewitt has assisted at events and worked on special projects.
Jaylyn Levasseur, a junior at Presque Isle High School, volunteers in social services and orthopedics at the hospital. She also works on special projects for other departments. After initially being interested in orthopedics when she first started her volunteer work, her interest has shifted into the occupational therapy field.
“Our volunteers bring so much heart and enthusiasm to this organization; however, if you ask a few of them, they will probably tell you that volunteering is a two-way street and that they think that they get the better end of the deal,” Beaulieu explained. “Folks of all ages volunteer at TAMC for a variety of reasons, and we work together to find the best fit for anyone looking to volunteer at TAMC,”
Teens are encouraged to contact TAMC Volunteers Services at 768-4032 for more information about volunteering with TAMC.