DANBURY, Connecticut, June 28, 2018 — On June 19, 2018, Western Connecticut Health Network (WCHN) kicked off its Summer Youth Enrichment Program. This year more than 135 students have been assigned to roles throughout WCHN including Danbury Hospital New Milford Hospital, Norwalk Hospital, and several Western Connecticut Medical Group (WCMG) practices.
The students will spend eight weeks assisting staff with daily tasks as well as serving in customer service roles throughout WCHN. Students are selected based upon their interests and grade point average. They work side-by-side with healthcare professionals in many departments throughout WCHN including Anatomic Pathology, Emergency Department, Food and Nutrition Services, Finance, Human Resource Information Systems, Disaster Planning and Response, as well as many other departments within the healthcare setting. Depending on the role, students will perform patient-centered activities while others will work behind the scenes in an effort to support the work our staff is already performing.
“We encourage both high school and college students to apply for one of our summer programs as well as two research intensive programs where college students gain experience working one-on-one with scientists focused on research projects like WCHN’s Lyme Disease Diagnostic Study,” said Amy Lionheart, Manager of Volunteer Services, Danbury Hospital, New Milford Hospital.
“We are so glad to have the opportunity to work with all of the students,” said Eva Biereder, Office Coordinator, WCMG Southbury Cardiology. During the kickoff event, Mrs. Biereder discussed the important role customer service plays in providing patient-centered care.
Thanks to the generosity of the Ridgefield Thrift Shop, WCHN was able to expand the program this year to include more enriching experiences for the students. For instance, students will gain experience making rounds to patients as a Bedside Buddy. In addition to working with staff from various departments, participants will be offered an optional Mental Health First Aid certification class through Mental Health Connecticut as well as leadership training as part of their learning experience.
“I am so excited to see all of these students and the energy they bring to the organization,” said Victoria Muranelli, Office Coordinator, WCMG Ridgefield Cardiology. “They have such a positive attitude and a genuine desire to help. Exposure to the workplace will be a great experience for them and for us.”
“This is such an amazing opportunity for me. I love being able to interact with the doctors and patients. I’m learning so much being here. My goal is to become a pediatrician one day and I think this will help me to get there,” said Ronald Caba, a New Milford resident and Henry Abbott Technical High School student.
Mr. Caba has served as a volunteer for the past year. He applied for the summer program to continue his volunteer service.
Johns Hopkins University senior and neuroscience major, Julia Dursi, is also participating in the program.
“This program is a fantastic opportunity to observe day-to-day operations in the healthcare field,” said Ms. Dursi, a Somers, New York resident. “I’m especially excited to work with patients and will do my best to bring a smile to their faces and brighten their day.”
Applications for the Summer Youth Enrichment Program open every January. Students can apply by visiting our website.
For more information about volunteer opportunities at Danbury Hospital or New Milford Hospital, please call Kathy Hearty, Volunteer Coordinator, at 203-739-7384 or visit our websites:
New Milford Hospital
For more information about volunteer opportunities at Norwalk Hospital, please call Susan Arnold, Community Relations Specialist, 203-852-2250, or visit our website: Norwalk Hospital