Students from Greenfield and King City high schools attend the Mee Memorial Healthcare System Student Volunteer Program orientation at the King City High School Library on Sept. 4. The 25 students will receive training and certificates in PPE, Blood Pathogens, First Aid, CPR and Infant CPR. (Contributed Photo)

SALINAS VALLEY — South Monterey County Joint Union High School District (SMCJUHSD) has launched the Mee Memorial Healthcare System Student Volunteer Program that will run from this September to May 2022.

The participating 25 seniors from Greenfield and King City high schools will receive training every Saturday at the King City High School Library. The students are working toward obtaining certificates in PPE, Blood Pathogens, First Aid, CPR and Infant CPR.

In addition, they will complete up to 300 hours of community service during their placement at Mee Memorial Healthcare System, scheduled from December to May. Students who finish their 300 hours can apply for local scholarships reserved for participants.

“Mee Memorial Healthcare System is proud to partner with the South Monterey County Joint Unified High School District to support these hard-working students as they chart their new path and advance their careers in the healthcare sector,” said Rena Salamacha, CEO at Mee Memorial. “This collaboration allows us to better support students seeking careers in healthcare by equipping them with the tools, resources and confidence they need to reach their potential. We are excited to be working alongside the students to help lay a foundation, upon which they can build greater well-being for themselves and their families.”

The Student Volunteer Program is a prelude to the district launching a two-year Patient Care Pathway at both high schools during the 2022-23 school year.

“I am pleased that through collaborative efforts with Mee Memorial Healthcare System we can offer the healthcare volunteer program to our students,” said Jordan Mulder, interim superintendent/director of special education for SMCJUHSD. “I am excited about the level of student interest in the program. The popularity of the program warrants planning for expansion of the program and the creation of a new healthcare pathway. The healthcare volunteer program opens doors for our students to gain practical healthcare experience and explore careers in the medical field. I sincerely appreciate all those who help make this program a success.”

The partnership between Mee Memorial Healthcare System and SMCJUHSD to promote work-based learning in the healthcare system dates back to 2019 when the Student Volunteer pilot program launched, but it was put on hold last year due to Covid-19. Nevertheless, more than 30 students received training, certificates and started the orientation at Mee Memorial Hospital in King City.

The 2019 program also received an outpouring of positive comments from students and the community. Now, SMCJUHSD and Mee Memorial Healthcare System are ready to revive and expand the program.

“The Career and Technical Education (CTE) Department implemented the South County outreach campaign to enlist the help of healthcare practitioners and healthcare organizations to partner with us to secure continuous placement of our students,” said Lilian De La Torre, SMCJUHSD CTE coordinator. “We are calling on every healthcare professional from South County to join our efforts to continue to support the healthcare Student Volunteer Program and our new Patient Care Pathway starting in 2022.”

To collaborate with SMCJUHSD or to offer work-based learning opportunities and placement for students, email De La Torre at [email protected].

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Ryan Cronk is the managing editor for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers general news for South Monterey County and the surrounding communities.


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