High school students spend the month of July serving Cone Health and the community.
Greensboro – A group of high school students spend their summer making a difference in the lives of their neighbors.
The 32 students in Cone Health’s Summer Teen Volunteer program spent the month of July serving patients in a variety of roles at The Moses H. Memorial Hospital and Wesley Long Hospital. The cohort is the first to participate in the program since the start of the pandemic in 2020.
The chance to volunteer in the health care system was the perfect opportunity for Hunter Metzloff, a rising senior at Guilford Early College. Metzloff spent the month transporting patients around the Moses Cone Hospital campus and learning about the needs of the community.
“I thought it was a good place to help [people]” said Metzloff, who plans to one day pursue a career in biomedical engineering. “I think it’s something more people should do. Volunteering is a great way for young people to help.”
The Teen Summer Volunteer Program is for high school students ages 15 and older who want to make a difference in the daily lives of Cone Health patients, visitors and staff. The application process includes letters of recommendation, a minimum grade point average and up-to-date immunizations. Once accepted, teen volunteers take on a wide range of roles in support of Cone Health and the communities it serves.
For Andrea Tapia-Diaz, a rising senior at Western Guilford High School, the help means staffing the surgical services desk at Moses Cone Hospital. Tapia-Diaz wants to become a nurse someday and says her interactions with patients and families have helped her learn a lot about others. Speaking excellent Spanish, she also enjoys the opportunity to make the hospital experience more enjoyable for those who do not speak English.
“It’s very special to me,” she said. “Helping people feel more comfortable in their environment when they don’t know how to speak a language fluently is just happiness for me.”
And the students didn’t just make an impact on patients—they also brought joy to the lives of some of Cone Health’s full-time volunteers. “They’re such a bright light,” said Frances Whitman, an 18-year volunteer in the guest services department. “It’s heartening to know that the next generation has wonderful young people who care about others.”
In addition to helping others, the volunteer program teaches students how the health care system works and gives them useful knowledge they can use in future careers in medicine. Misa Brumby, a rising sophomore at Dudley High School, wants to one day become a surgeon or a pharmacist, and she knows her time volunteering at Wesley Long’s surgery desk gave her a strong start on that journey.
“Being so young, there’s not much you can do,” she said. “You can’t have a job or do other things, so helping the hospital is a great experience. I appreciate that very much.”
Duncan Moore is a student at Northern Guilford High School and wants to one day practice sports medicine. While helping tend to the Healing Gardens at Wesley Long and disinfecting the children’s playroom at the hospital, he’s happy to know he’s making good use of his free time this summer.
“It’s great to be out of the house knowing I’m making a difference and not just sitting around watching TV all day,” he said. “I think it’s really cool that I had the chance to do this.”
After a two-year hiatus, organizers of the Teen Summer Volunteer Program are excited to once again work with and mentor the next generation of medical professionals.
“Cone Health is very involved in the community and youth are an important part of the community,” said Holly Beck, assistant director of volunteer services at Cone Health. “They are the future doctors, nurses and professionals that we hope will come back and work and volunteer at Cone Health someday.”
For more information about the summer volunteer program for teens, please email [email protected]