YEARS OF SERVICE: 2
ABOUT THE ORGANIZATION: The Volunteer program at the Medical College of Georgia is a six-week summer volunteer program through June and July. Participants are between 15 and 17 years old and are placed throughout the hospital.
Teen volunteers support the hospital's medical staff in the same manner as adult volunteers, but in a shorter period of time. (Adult volunteers are required to commit to six months of volunteer work.)
The program gives teens hands-on experience with a variety of medical occupations, and they can be placed in a particular area of interest.
WHAT SHE DOES: Dabbs volunteers with the pediatric occupational therapy and physical therapy programs.
"I usually keep the kids entertained and cut up with them while they're doing some of their therapy things. Sometimes if the kids are older, I'll usually do it with them. Like if they're doing the obstacle course, I'll go, then they'll go. Just make it fun. It usually is. They usually like it. If they're working (on) walking up the steps or something, and they're not allowed to use their hands, it's boring just to hold them down, so I'll make them do funny things like put them on their head."
WHY SHE DOES IT: "I guess it has to start off with my (twin) little brothers. They stayed in the NICU for maybe four months. They were three months premature. One of them has cerebral palsy. The first decade of his life he was up here getting therapy treatments. So I wasn't able to see what all was put into it, but when I was in ninth grade in 2008 I tore my ACL really bad doing cheerleading. I had to go through months and months of rehab. And I saw how much hard work it was. I had a really young therapist and he was a lot of fun. He did therapy with me. And so I was like, if I could let other kids know that it's not always hard work, and that it is fun, then maybe they'll progress much better.
"The reason I wanted to get into rehab was not only that it was more fun, but the relationships that I have built with some of the kids here, I mean, when I go off to college I'm going to miss them so much and I'm probably going to cry."
HOW YOU CAN HELP: Applications for the program are being accepted through April 30.
Teens must be 15 by May 1 and must have a letter of recommendation from someone who is not a family member. They must also have proof of a tuberculosis test and an immunization record. They must also sign a statement of confidentiality.