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A Helping Hand: Freshman Volunteers at Medical Center

For most high school students, the weekend is a time to relax from their stressful week, hang with friends, and spend time with family. Most teens like to enjoy their weekends doing typical teenager things. However, for some, the hard-work doesn’t stop after that 5-day school week. For freshman Viha Kothakonda, this is definitely the case. Between being in multiple honors classes and a part-time job, she does it all; however, something she prides herself on is volunteering every Sunday at the New Bridge Medical Center to help elderly people. 


“I have come to realize that in my downtime, rather than lounging around doing nothing, I could be helping people,” Kothakonda said. As she’s interested in pursuing an occupation in the medical field, she feels as if this is almost needed to be successful. “I feel as if volunteering will provide me with experience needed that will help me proceed,” she said. 


While it may seem like a big commitment, she notes that it does not take much of her time. “I arrive at 9:00 am and my shift is usually three hours a week every Sunday,” Kothakonda said. While waking up at 9:00 am and being up and about seems almost impossible for a high school student, Viha mentions that it does not take much time. According to her, the volunteer work entails, “helping out the staff with whatever is needed to be done, whether it’s fetching things from the closet or noting important things.”


Viha’s mother, Pavana Thatavarthi, admires her daughter’s volunteerism: “I am so proud of my daughter for deciding to help out people. It is so admirable that a teenager is so goal-oriented at such a young age.” Although this seems like a one of a kind experience, Kothakonda is not the only person who takes time out of her day to volunteer, which is something she is very well aware of.


“Personally, I found out about this opportunity from my friend who goes to a different school who received an opportunity at New Bridge. I then filled out an application on the medical center’s website and eventually received a callback,” Kothakonda said. “I am pretty sure this is  how it works for most medical centers as well, after the callback. Things can be sorted out from there.” 


According to Kothakonda, students who are interested in volunteering in a healthcare field can find opportunities and information by visiting the websites of many major healthcare facilities.