Young people interested in an opportunity to volunteer at Madigan Army Medical Center through the American Red Cross’ Summer Youth Volunteer Program won’t have a chance to get bored during their school vacation, and they might just come away with more direction and focus for their future.
The Red Cross on Joint Base Lewis-McChord offers an opportunity for youths ages 14 to 17 to explore and enjoy involvement in the medical community during the eight-week volunteer program.
Applications for the program will be accepted April 1 to May 1. Priority will be given to children of active-duty service members, retirees and veterans. Based on space in the program, children of civilians and others with base access also will be considered.
Last year, 20 young people participated in the program. Sarah Jacob, regional program specialist for the American Red Cross’ service to the Armed Forces Northwest Region, said she’s hoping for 30 volunteers this year.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity for kids to volunteer in an environment that’s usually just open to (adult) volunteers,” said Jacob, who is in charge of the Summer Youth Volunteer Program at JBLM.
For Tillicum High School seniors, Isabella Milanio and Cordell Johnson, the past three summers of volunteering in the radiology department at Madigan have been an awesome experience, both said.
The two 17 year olds live in DuPont and have been friends since middle school, Milanio said.
Both are military kids, and both have moms who work as health information managers at Madigan. Cordell is the son of Latosha and Warrant Officer 3 Corey Johnson, senior food adviser with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 7th Infantry Division. Isabella’s parents are Se and Edwin Milanio. Her father is an Army veteran.
Although the two young people are charting separate courses for college and careers, both said they enjoyed and learned a lot from volunteering at Madigan.
Johnson is a tuba player with the Tacoma Youth Symphony and plans to study media arts and music performance at a college in Texas. Milanio has been accepted as a bio chemistry major at the University of Washington, in Seattle, and plans to pursue a career in medicine.
“I like doing Excel spreadsheets and inventory, so working in an administrative role was perfect for me,” Johnson said.
In addition to volunteering three days a week at the hospital for three summers, Johnson earns his spending money as a math tutor.
As for Milanio, shadowing the residents at Madigan was the highlight of her summers.
“I took the opportunity to talk with the residents, and it was nice exploring patient care,” she said.
Although student volunteers aren’t able to be in direct contact with the patients, Milanio and Johnson were allowed to watch various procedures through viewing rooms.
“I’m not sure yet what branch of medicine I want to go into, but being part of the Red Cross Summer Youth Volunteer Program was an exceptional opportunity,” Milanio said. “It was the people who made it so great.”
“The summer was filled with good people who made it a positive experience,” he said. “That’s why we kept coming back to do it again each summer.”
For more information, visit: facebook.com/JBLMRedCross.