Benjamin Carson High School has developed a unique partnership with Henry Ford Hospital. Kristen Maher, Dean of Instruction, participated in a meeting with Ma-Shelle Barr, a program assistant who works in Volunteer Services at Henry Ford Hospital. Barr offered a volunteer and job shadowing opportunity to ten Benjamin Carson students so that they would be able to volunteer for one half day a week throughout the second semester.

Since seniors at Benjamin Carson already have a number of similar opportunities, juniors were given the chance to participate in this particular program.

“We wanted to give this opportunity to juniors,” Maher said.

Eleventh-grade teachers were asked for a list of students they believed would be perfect for the program. Recommendations were based on students who excelled academically, had good interpersonal skills, and had remarkable attendance. After the teachers decided which ten students would be best for the program, the students were informed. They were confident that they could rise to the occasion and the teachers would not be disappointed.

“I have really good communication skills,” said junior Shayma Akhtar.

Junior Elisha Taylor felt the key was his personality.

“I’ll be there for the patients and put a smile on their face,” said Taylor.

The first day of volunteering was highly anticipated by the students. After orientation, they were informed about all of the assignments which include Emergency Department Assistant, Comfort Care Volunteer, Hospice, Dialysis, and Observation. The students were to choose envelopes, not knowing which assignment would be inside. After a moment of suspense, the envelopes were opened and everyone was satisfied. They could hardly wait to explore their departments.

“It’s a good opportunity to see what it would feel like to be in the medical field,” said Taylor.

Henry Ford Hospital will provide students with experience such as caring for patients, comforting them, and working with families going through difficult times. Also, some will get to observe and assist with blood work.

“This opportunity will teach them so much,” said Maher.

Students hope this experience will stay with them through their future decisions. They want to be more assured in the decisions they make for their careers.

“I can explore my options and see specifically what I want to do,” said junior Isaac Whitfield.

“It's a great opportunity for our future and what we want to be. I'm very excited,” said junior Tajayla Lemm.

The students expect to make this experience worthwhile.

“I want to actually get some hands-on experience in addition to shadowing,” Lemm said.

The first day of volunteering was Feb. 8 and it  rose to the students’ expectations. Some were able to observe routine procedures while others began to build bonds with patients and their families.

“I feel like I learned a lot and I can’t wait for the next experience to come,” said junior Osama Aldahan. “I was not expecting to learn much on the first day, but I ended up experiencing a lot. It was rewarding.”

“I got to see how the dialysis process goes and how you need bio-carbs in your body,” said Junior Nataysha Owens. “It’s actually an interesting topic to learn about.”

After just one day the students believed they learned and were excited to have been welcomed by hospital staff.

“My first day in the Hospice Department was very welcoming and when I got there they had signs up that said ‘Welcome Mila’,” said Haliburton. “It was memorable.”

“The people are very friendly. They treat you like family," Akhtar said.

This opportunity has students from Benjamin Carson High School exploring many new sites in the medical and health field. It will teach them about different professions, the teams that provide care for patients, and how to be successful in a professional environment.

“My hope is that Henry Ford Hospital continues to offer it to our students.” Maher said. “Any program that offers our students such a unique and authentic learning experience is a benefit to us as a school.”