As the leaves turn and school is in full swing, we’d like to take the time to reflect on the contributions of our youth volunteers. We were lucky enough to have more than 40 high school students who volunteered with the Red Cross at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. The VolunTeens spent 6 weeks of their summer vacation sharing their time and talents with more than 20 departments throughout the hospital.
So what exactly did these VolunTeens do during their time here? I think it’s best to let these amazing students speak for themselves…
I volunteered at the 3D Medical Applications Center, or 3D MAC for short. 3D MAC utilizes advanced 3D manipulation software and additive manufacturing techniques to produce models to help doctors plan an operation or gauge the success of an operation afterwards. They can also create custom parts for amputees. 3D MAC is one of the only resources of its kind that is part of a hospital, which makes it very accessible to the doctors as well as dramatically lower the cost of implants such as cranial plates. I volunteered here because I knew I could apply my interests in engineering to help provide a great service to the hospital. While I was working there, I learned a lot about the lives of the wounded warriors and how much they relied on the hospital, which can be greatly augmented by volunteer programs such as the Red Cross Volunteer Program. -Samuel B
I have had an amazing time volunteering in Cardiac Rehab and Occupational Therapy clinics at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.Cardiac Rehab is a clinic that specializes in exercising patients who have undergone surgeries on their heart and are scared of exercising. Occupational Therapy is a clinic that specializes in the movement of the hand, wrist, and elbow. Did you know that WRNMMC has over 100 clinics? I wanted to volunteer to learn about these different clinics and about the different fields of medicine. Being exposed to the different branches of medicine will help me decide if I want to go to medical school or not. My favorite part of volunteering was helping people get back on their feet and exercising in Cardiac Rehab. Patients who work hard and train hard had the best results. Pushing people to try their best has taught me a valuable lesson that hard work and effort always pay off. I was also pushing a cart of necessities to wounded soldiers. Some of the service members had pretty bad wounds: and it made me realize that I should appreciate that I am healthy every day, because some people are in a very worse shape. Every teenager should volunteer at WRNMMC because it can be a very rewarding experience. I met a 19-year-old leukemia patient and we became great friends. This occurrence showed me that they are normal people just like us and they are very nice people. Overall I had a great time at WRNMMC and I hope to volunteer there again. -Darren D
This summer at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC) has been one of the best and most meaningful of my life. I have long been interested in science and wanted to get a taste of the medical field. I was assigned to work in Obstetrics, specifically, the Acute Care Clinic (ACC), essentially the emergency room for pregnant ladies. One of the corpsmen working there took me under her wing, showing me how to interact with the patients. I witnessed some women who, after suffering through as many as 8 miscarriages, heard their baby’s heartbeat for the first time. I also saw some women tragically lose their babies. I developed a new appreciation and respect for women who are willing to endure the pain and difficulty of pregnancy. I came away greatly impressed with the medical staff. This experience has made me sure that someday I would like to enter a healing profession. -Leora T
My motivation for volunteering was to get the experience to work with people and help them with completing all different tasks. The clinic I assisted was the Ophthalmology Clinic. During the time I was there I learned that ophthalmology deals with your eyes. I also learned how to check in patients and book appointments for patients. I really enjoyed being there and the environment I was put in. Everyone was so helpful and nice and even treated me like I worked there, not like I was a volunteer. -Kymesha C
This summer I had the extraordinary opportunity to volunteer at the General Surgery Clinic at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda. As I initially thought, the experience was a once in a lifetime opportunity! Witnessing and taking part in the work that goes on in a medical clinic gave me a deep appreciation for the fact that any hospital would not function without a productive administrative staff. Also, I now have a better understanding of the concept of “bedside manner.” While working at the front desk in the clinic, I found numerous occasions in which I interacted with patients and I learned that a smile and kind gesture goes a long way. The patients, who saw that I was a volunteer, would stop me in the halls to thank me for volunteering my time and that made the experience all the more worth it. I really appreciated the doctors and residents taking time to talk with me about what it is like being a doctor in the military and the rigors of medical school. Overall, volunteering at Walter Reed was an experience that I will never forget because it confirmed my dream of becoming a doctor. -Sarah E
We would like to thank all of the participants in the 2013 VolunTeen program. You all did a wonderful job! Each of you has made a positive impact on your community and we applaud you for giving back. We are lucky to have had you in the program!
SAF Volunteer Program at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, MD: We currently have more than 375 volunteers contributing over 4,000 hours monthly supporting a variety of activities specifically for patients, family members and care providers. Our volunteers range from civilian to active duty, from administrative up to PhD who practice to the full extent of their credentials and support activities across the Post to include volunteering at the Fisher House and greeting every wounded, ill and injured service member who arrives via MEDEVAC. During the summer we add up to 50 youth volunteers serving throughout the medical center.