JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas –
Brooke Army Medical Center partnered with the American Red Cross to hold the BAMC Summer Youth Program, which began June 13 and concluded with a ceremony of appreciation July 29.
A group of 37 teens between the ages of 14-18 took part of their summer vacation to participate, logging a combined 2,992 hours to work in clinics and sections throughout the organization including the Medical Library, Radiology, Infectious Disease Clinic, Pathology, Pharmacy and many others.
The Summer Youth Program had been suspended for two years due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
U.S. Army Col. Steven Richter, BAMC deputy commander for administration, thanked the youth for their hard work and commitment. He also thanked the staff for their mentorship and the parents for allowing their children to participate in the program.
Richter noted that many people are leaving the health care industry after the stress of the pandemic.
“We hope that by exposing these students to health care, maybe they will consider the options,” he said. “This experience gives them more perspective on if they want to pursue a career in health care.”
Cayana Louis, 15, volunteered in the Department of Pathology and the Intensive Care Unit.
“I liked working in the ICU and seeing all the patients; watching how the doctors and nurses interacted with the families,” Louis said. “I’ve always wanted to be in the medical field. This experience helped that grow a little more.”
Cianna Sanchez, 15, agrees.
“I really liked the environment,” Sanchez said. “Everything was fun and everyone was supportive. What really interested me was the number of files and all the blocks of specimens and tissue (in pathology). It was just really amazing for me.”
Both students said they want to participate in the program again next year.
“It’s amazing to give the students an opportunity to work with the staff, see what’s out there, and to guide them in the future,” said U.S. Army Sgt. Cassandra Louis, noncommissioned officer in charge of 3E and Cayana’s mom. “It’s an opportunity for them not to just learn leadership, but to be able to give back to the community as well.”