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Morning Sun
  • TROJAN TRIBUNE: GHS students participate in GMC Foundation Youth Leadership Program

  • This year eight GHS students are participating in the Girard Medical Center Foundation Youth Leadership Program.

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  • This year eight GHS students are participating in the Girard Medical Center Foundation Youth Leadership Program.
    The program began three years ago when foundation Vice President Natalie Battitori and former foundation director Melanie Cumoletti came up with the idea to provide area youth with insight into the health care field as well as experiences in philanthropy and volunteerism.
    Mrs. Battitori said, “This program was started by the GMC Foundation as a way to ‘give back’ to the communities served by Girard Medical Center. Our goal is to help students make educated decisions about their future career as well as improve their leadership skills through curriculum and various activities.”
    The leadership program is currently directed by Mrs. Battitori with assistance from foundation board member and education coordinator Pat Hudson, who is in charge of the program’s curriculum and activities.
    Each month, members of the program gather at Girard Medical Center for a meeting that may involve guest speakers, departmental tours or leadership skills practice. After the meetings, students volunteer in various capacities across the hospital.
    Mrs. Hudson said, “I am excited about having youth from all of the GMC communities this year in our program. Currently, we have 17 high school students from Frontenac, Arma, Southeast and Girard who participate.”
    Girard students in the program include seniors Stephanie Moutz, Austin Parker and Madison Smith and juniors Alex Battitori, Tabitha Harris, John Hey, Bethany Schifferdecker and Sierra Schupbach.
    Students in the program from surrounding schools include Drew Martin from Frontenac; Hope Cole, Shelby McCarley and Laci Scholes from Arma; and Alex Andrews, Kelsie Coltrane, Alexandrea Craddock, Vincent Geier and Jake Zortz from Southeast.
    Students began the year by participating in a September orientation meeting and in October discussed the leadership skill “Trust” followed by hospital volunteering.
    During the November meeting, Nurse Practitioner Cheryl Giefer, Ph.D., spoke to students about her experience in the medical field and the students volunteered afterward.
    In January, Denny Gillard, who has a doctorate in physical therapy, discussed physical and occupational therapy with the students which was followed by a lesson from Mrs. Hudson about the leadership skill “Teamwork.” After the meeting, students decorated cookies to distribute along with the beverage cart to various hospital departments.
    With regard to the program, junior Sierra Schupbach said, “It is a great program, and I enjoy getting to listen to a variety of professionals talk about their interesting careers. Overall, it has been a great experience for me.”
    To gain additional insight into the medical field, students also have the opportunity to volunteer on a weekly basis at Outpatient Senior Behavioral Health or Physical/Occupational Therapy.
    Junior Tabitha Harris said, “In addition to providing various volunteer opportunities at the hospital, the leadership program has helped reassure my interest in a future medical career.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Throughout the year, students must meet certain requirements to remain in the program, such as participating in seven of the nine meetings and assisting with the Foundation’s Valentine’s Dance.
    In February, the youth leaders helped set up the Girard Medical Center Foundation’s Valentine’s Dance held Feb. 2.
    At the last meeting, students signed up to either help with decoration and silent auction preparations before the dance or set up the day of the dance. The Valentine’s Dance is held every year as a fundraiser for the foundation. This year’s proceeds will go toward a digital mammography machine.
    Apart from helping out with fundraisers put on by the foundation, students in previous years of the program have helped with blood drives and participated in community service days where they visited local police stations, fire stations, GMC Clinics and nursing homes with plates of cookies and thank-you cards.
    Participants have also had the opportunity to hear from GMC professionals who work in Senior Behavioral Health, nursing, family practice and hospital administration.
    In addition to exploring careers at GMC, youth leadership students have toured the Community Health Center of SEK where they listened to pediatrician Dr. Susan Pence speak about her experiences in the medical field.
    Students also listened to American Red Cross representative Deborah Cox talk about her experiences with the organization.
    Students interested in this program must be in high school, in good standing academically and personally, and must also submit an application and two nomination forms to the GMC Foundation by June 1 to be considered.

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