Regional One Health’s TeenTeer program gives area high school students a chance to give back and learn about careers in health care.

East summer, we welcome a group of students to spend time volunteering, learning hands-on skills, shadowing health care professionals, and visiting various parts of the hospital.

Students say TeenTeer is a great way to explore career options and learn about what they might want to do in the future.

Part of Regional One Health’s mission is training the next generation of health care providers, and our TeenTeer program extends that opportunity to students while they’re still in high school.

This summer, we welcomed 16 area high school students to spend part of the break volunteering at Regional One Health and learning about health care careers.

Along with touring the hospital and getting a look at day-to-day operations, they gained hands-on experience with various medical skills.

“Our TeenTeer program is a unique opportunity for students to explore a variety of health care careers while they’re still in high school,” said Summer Hardy, Manager, Volunteer and Patient Experience. “They get to interact with our health care professionals and learn about what they do while also giving back to the community through volunteer service.”

Participants said the program helped them identify careers they might enjoy while giving them a deeper appreciation for the services health care professionals provide.

“This program has helped me to grow and open my horizons to other career options that I might want to do in the future,” said Madison Lewis, who volunteered in the radiology service.

Coabi Gooden, who also volunteered in radiology, was impressed by the variety of environments available for health care professionals and the supportive, team environment.

“TeenTeer is a unique opportunity for students to explore a variety of health care careers while they’re still in high school,” said Summer Hardy, Manager, Volunteer and Patient Experience (middle).

“TeenTeer prepared me for a future in health care by showing me how you need to operate in different areas of the hospital,” she said. “It is such a good program that really sparks the interest of working in health care.”

Hasfa Khan said spending time in different parts of the hospital helped clarify her goals.

“The program deepened my interest in the pediatric and emergency pediatric fields as I explored the NICU,” she said. “I absolutely loved the hands-on activity and was glad for the opportunity to ask questions to health care professionals.”

TeenTeer helped Swathi Eedarapalli define her interests as well – for example, spending time with a physical therapist who specializes in burns has prompted her to research the field further.

Many students enjoyed the hands-on nature of the TeenTeer program, which allowed them to shadow health care professionals, watch demonstrations, and try various skills themselves.

“I learned how to give proper CPR,” Xhyla Jackson said. “Hands-on activities like putting on a splint and a cast piqued my interest in different fields. Regional One Health is truly a learning hospital, and the TeenTeer program is an experience I will cherish forever.”

Eesha Thota said meeting doctors, pharmacists, physical therapists, nurses and others gave her insight into the day-to-day life of health care professionals. She enjoyed learning everything from how pharmacists counsel patients on medications to how skin grafts help burn patients heal.

This summer, 16 students from area high schools spent part of their summer vacation at Regional One Health, volunteering and learning about various health care careers.

“This knowledge reassured me that I do want to pursue nursing but also opened up a new door to being a respiratory therapist,” she said, noting she was impressed by how respiratory therapy is in high demand for patients with heart and lung problems.

Students also embraced the caring, compassion and teamwork they witnessed.

Liana Markos left her TeenTeer experience not only planning to keep researching the careers she learned about, but with a greater appreciation for health care providers. “Being part of the TeenTeer program has made me tremendously respect our health care professionals, and I want to deeply thank them for all the hard work and services they do,” she said.

“Everyone we met had their own story that made them who they are today,” Eedarapalli said. “Listening to those stories made me wonder what stories I would one day give to generations after me. Their stories hold so much hard work, patience and compassion.”

Eedarapalli and Thota both shared moments that will stick with them as they head back to high school and start planning their next steps.

“One doctor told us to form a circle and hold hands. Next, she told us to shift to the right and left without letting go of each other’s hands. This demonstrates that by working with your team you can benefit everyone, including the patients,” Thota said. “One nurse said ‘singing brings joy to the audience and health care/nursing brings joy to the patients.’ This inspires me to get a job where I can help patients one-on-one regardless of what I do or where I go.”

Eedarapalli added, “On our last day, while we were passing through the hall, a kind lady told all of us, ‘The thing about Regional One Health…the buildings are old, but the people are gold.’ This statement further deepened my understanding that every single person in that building loves what they do and is open to helping anyone in need.”

Learn more about TeenTeer and other volunteer opportunities at