Local hospital, American Red Cross collaborate for summer youth program

By Porsha AuzenneJuly 17, 2023

Local hospital, American Red Cross collaborate for summer youth program
1 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Summer Youth Program volunteers Mitra Jhaisy (left) and Mekayla Barnes (center) discuss labor and delivery with Yolanda Landy, a certified nursing assistant. (Photo Credit: Porsha Auzenne) VIEW ORIGINAL
Local hospital, American Red Cross collaborate for summer youth program
2 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Barnes and Jhaisy demonstrate proper newborn care with infant mannequins. (Photo Credit: Porsha Auzenne) VIEW ORIGINAL
Local hospital, American Red Cross collaborate for summer youth program
3 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Barnes and Jhaisy demonstrate how to use a blood pressure monitor. (Photo Credit: Porsha Auzenne) VIEW ORIGINAL


Public Affairs Office

FORT JOHNSON, La — From June 12 to July 7, the American Red Cross and Bayne-Jones Army Community Hospital collaborated to give youth ages 13-17 the opportunity to learn new skills, enhance resumes, make new friends, fulfill required community service hours for school and have fun. This four-week program, officially known as “The American Red Cross and BJACH Summer Youth Program”, also teaches youth volunteers customer service, receptionist and office management skills.

The program kicked off with 11 students who volunteered in five of the hospital’s departments, including family care, the operating room, and labor and delivery. Volunteer department assignments were determined by the students particular interest. Orientation sessions and interviews were held May 22 and covered rules and regulations of the hospital, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act instruction, and the storied history of the Red Cross, its mission and how it related to their time as Red Cross volunteers.

Volunteers were then assigned to department supervisors, who trained and engaged them in various administrative tasks while the students shadowed hospital staff in the process of patient care.

“What this program brings to Fort Johnson is providing youth of the military an experience of volunteering and giving back within their community, which is key,” stated Troy Sonnier, American Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces and the Summer Youth Program manager. “Volunteering and gaining that spirit of helping your own community gives them an opportunity to gain experience that would be good towards college on their resume. If they are interested in going into healthcare, or maybe even not interested at first, this gives them great insight into how the hospital works and how different departments work both clinically and administratively. Everyone in this hospital is here because they care, and to pass that down to volunteers is a gift.”

Two of the program’s 11 youth volunteers, Mekayla Barnes and Mitra Jhaisy, both 16, discussed their experiences during their tenure before giving a guided tour of the BJACH OB-GYN and labor and delivery department, which both volunteers assisted in.

“My experience volunteering for the American Red Cross/BJACH Summer Youth Program has been really fun,” said Barnes, a current student at Faith Training Christian Academy in Leesville. “I’ve been shadowing over a lot of different areas in the hospital. I went to radiology, labor delivery, OB-GYN and the surgery pavilion. I’ve seen a lot of different things and gained a lot of knowledge.”

Jhaisy, a Leesville High School student, also acknowledged her journey with the program.

“For me, this experience has been amazing. The BJACH staff has been teaching me so much. I have learned something every single day. When I first got here, both the BJACH and Red Cross staff were so friendly. I’m usually shy, but they instantly made me feel welcomed.”

Volunteers, along with Red Cross staff, gave a tour of the OB-GYN and labor and delivery departments, where they discussed learning about how to properly hold and nurture newborn infants, taking care of patients, and assisting in delivery.

Jean Clavette Graves, BJACH public affairs officer, also expressed the importance of the program in her own words. “The Summer Youth Program is a force multiplier for our organizations, both BJACH and Red Cross, to provide an extra set of hands on the floor as well as a good educational opportunity for any students who are currently thinking of pursuing careers in the medical field when they get older. Giving back to the community is also an important endeavor for every generation to do, so this an excellent opportunity for kids to volunteer their time in the summer by being productive, helping the community and bettering themselves in the long term for career aspirations.”

The program concluded with a ceremony where volunteers were presented with certificates of achievement, provided lunch and showed appreciation for all of the hard work they dedicated to the program.