Ashley Fender was named Teen Volunteer of the Year last week at the Northeast Georgia Medical Center's annual appreciation dinner.
In all, The Medical Center Auxiliary honored 123 teen volunteers during the event.
During Fiscal Year 2019, the teen volunteers donated 5,423 hours of service to the medical center’s hospitals in Gainesville, Braselton, and Winder, as well as to Camp Braveheart, Hospice of NGMC’s summer camp for children who have lost a loved one. They also volunteered at long term care facilities New Horizons Limestone and Lanier Park. Hospital officials say the monetary value of their volunteer work totals $137,907.
“Our Teen Volunteer Program is truly the highlight of the summer,” said Chris Bray, president and chief development officer for the Northeast Georgia Health System Foundation. “We are fortunate to have exceptional young people in this program who are willing to serve our organization at whatever capacity needed and who put the needs of others before their own.”
During the program, a number of teens were honored for their contributions to the Teen Volunteer Program – including service awards for 50 to 300 hours of service. In addition, 17 graduated seniors were recognized for contributing nearly 2,000 combined hours of volunteer service.
Fender, who was awarded The Andrew J. Dockery Teen Volunteer of the Year Award and received a scholarship from The Medical Center Auxiliary, began volunteering in 2017 and has given over 250 hours of service. Fender graduated from Mill Creek High School where she lettered in academics and orchestra. She will attend Mercer University in the fall to pursue a degree in nursing with a specialty in pediatrics.
“Receiving the opportunity to be a teen volunteer has been so inspirational to me,” said Fender. “It has truly solidified my desire to work in the medical field, specifically as a nurse.”
Anna Samples and Krysten Wright were also recognized with scholarships from The Medical Center Auxiliary.
Samples graduated from Banks County High School and will attend the University of North Georgia to pursue her dream of being a nurse practitioner. She has volunteered with the Teen Volunteer Program for four summers and has contributed over 170 hours of service.
“Volunteering has allowed me to gain the confidence needed to pursue a career in the medical field,” said Samples.
Wright graduated from North Gwinnett High School and will attend Mercer University where she will major in biomedical engineering. She began volunteering in 2016 and has given over 190 hours of service to the Auxiliary.
“Being a teen volunteer has been one of the most important roles I have taken on in my life,” said Wright. “I have gained a different outlook in life by becoming more open-minded and being a better listener for others. The best lessons I have learned while volunteering over the four years have been the importance of always helping others and learning to be selfless."
Also recognized at the event were former teen volunteers Madison Flood, Ingrid Islas, Alison Schultz and Sloane Sengson who returned to NGMC this summer as college interns. Islas attends Trinity Washington University. Flood, Schultz and Sengson attend the University of Georgia.
The Medical Center Auxiliary sponsors a creative writing contest and T-shirt design contest for teen volunteers each summer. This year’s creative writing winner was Arsha Moorthy, and the T-shirt design winner was Mili Parikh. The first-place design was printed on T-shirts and given to all teen volunteers as a gift from the Auxiliary.
“The positive impact our teen volunteers have on patients, family members and visitors is a contribution to the health system that cannot be fully measured,” said Lynne Allen, director of Volunteer Services for The Medical Center Auxiliary. “Northeast Georgia Health System and The Medical Center Auxiliary wish each of the teen volunteers the very best with all of their future plans. We know their futures are bright, and we hope they will continue to volunteer in college.”