For Greene County News
XENIA — Students at Xenia High School have a unique opportunity thanks to a successful 25-year cooperation with Greene Memorial Hospital.
The Xenia High School Enclave Program is a co-op for sophomores with an IEP Plan that would benefit from a work environment. Approximately six to eight students chosen for the program spend their first three periods working at the hospital – getting a real-life lesson in work.
Greene Memorial Hospital Volunteer Coordinator Linda Richardson helps work with the students and places them where needed throughout the hospital after a special orientation. Teacher’s aide Tammy Vandyne works directly with the students and Richardson throughout the school year.
Treated like Kettering Health Network volunteers, the students wear special hospital shirts and name badges and are asked to follow hospital protocol. Some of the students will work in dietary, while others may work in primary areas of the hospital and/or housekeeping.
Xenia Community Schools Intervention Specialist John O’Patrny believes this program not only gives the students real job experience, but provides an opportunity to make connections and receive mentoring to help make future career choices.
The students learn directly from employees throughout the hospital. “We try to place them where we feel they may flourish,” said Richardson.
Many times Richardson has seen those very students come back later to volunteer at the hospital or even become employed through the Network.
“After a short period of time learning, it’s amazing how much the employees depend on the student volunteers,” added Richardson. “Mentoring young people like this keeps everyone young and vibrant.”
Richardson enjoys watching the young people grow and mature into young adults with purpose and mission – feeling good about what they can contribute to the hospital.
“We hope to teach them responsibility,” she added. “Give them real life experience in order to help them be able to get a job when they are out of school.”
According to O’Patrny, some students have had such a successful experience in the program they were able to obtain full-time work following graduation. A recent graduate is now working at Soin Medical Center.
“I’ve seen shy students come out of their shells through this program,” said O’Patrny. “It’s amazing to watch them mature.”
Richardson, staff and school officials believe programs like this provide confidence, experience and something you just don’t get in the classroom.
“This program is a win-win for everyone involved, and Greene Memorial is richer as well,” said Richardson.
Story courtesy of The Greene Medical Foundation - Greene Memorial Hospital and Soin Medical Center hospital within Kettering Health Network.