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Published on July 29, 2013

The City’s Youth Lend a Helping Hand to Mercy Philadelphia Hospital, and Themselves

Mercy Philadelphia Hospital’s Sunbeam program assists its volunteers and supervisors

Mercy Philadelphia Hospital Manager of Volunteer Services and Community Associate Liaison Arlene Roberts (center in photo) gather with the student volunteers.

Photo Caption: Mercy Philadelphia Hospital Manager of Volunteer Services and Community Associate Liaison Arlene Roberts (center in photo) gather with the student volunteers.


West Philadelphia, PA (July 29, 2013): Someone who freely offers to take part in an enterprise or undertake a task. A volunteer. In today’s world, volunteers have become an essential asset to running many businesses. They dedicate their services in many different forms, much like the students in Mercy Philadelphia Hospital’s Sunbeam program.

Arlene Roberts, Manager of Volunteer Services and Community Associate Liaison, oversees the volunteer program here at Mercy Philadelphia Hospital. On average, anywhere from 60 to 80 Philadelphia public school-attending students are involved in this six-week summer program.

The students at Mercy are in a situation where they are getting a golden head start in their careers. These teenagers can work in departments such as patient care units, material services, wound care, marketing, and some even work in emergency and operating rooms as well.

Opportunities like these are invaluable, and no one knows this better than the director of the opportunity herself, Roberts. During a typical day, Roberts greets the volunteers every morning, making sure they’ve signed in, and being productive throughout their four to six-hour workdays. 
“It is rewarding to know that through this program, today’s youth are getting an early start on their future. The purpose of the program is to open the eyes of young people to the experience of the health care industry. The program allows them to see that there is more to a hospital than just doctors and nurses,” said Roberts when asked about the chance that she’s giving these students. “Several volunteers have gone on to be nurses, and others that started out volunteering in dietary, are now employees of the hospital in that exact field.”

From the eyes of a volunteer, 15-year old Jonicia Lane believes that when applied to her future, the program is, “a great experience for teens working in this field. The history of working in a hospital at a young age will be a great advantage down the line.”
Lab volunteer Keyana Smith from Darby, says that in her case, she definitely feels that she gains an edge over her peers through this program. As a forensics major at Lockhaven University, she’s gaining valuable experience in her field of work, and even learning things that she wasn’t aware of while in school.
Mercy Philadelphia Hospital Certified Nursing Assistant Mia Sowers, who supervises up to four volunteers each day, says that she’s able to dedicate an hour more each day to her larger tasks, due to the excellent help she receives from her volunteers on the fifth floor patient care unit.

Monitor Technician Evon Bonaparte, who works on the sixth floor patient care unit, knows that an extra pair of hands are always needed in a hospital, especially when dealing with patients that need more care than others.

Registered Nurse Lynie Doura, who is also assigned to the sixth floor patient care unit, added that through this program, volunteers are taught responsibility, work ethic, and receive great exposure to real-life situations.

Unit Facilitator Jeanne Adams shared that with the help of the volunteers, she is able to contribute a greater amount of focus to more clinical issues with the patients. “The volunteers are a very integral part of the Mercy Philadelphia Hospital team.”
Mercy Philadelphia Executive Director Susan Cusack says that when it comes down to the future of the hospital, the volunteers will be a great factor in its flourishing, because they will be able to spread their positive experiences with members of the community.

Cusack also believes that the student volunteers add to the overall quality of the hospital. “Volunteers can give patients more moments, when the students bring an extra special human touch.”

Media Contact

Mary Beth McCloy
Communications Manager

Mercy Health System
One West Elm Street
Suite 100
Conshohocken, PA 19428

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