"Volunteens" using their summer to help Valley hospitals

Posted at 7:55 AM, Jul 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-19 13:05:49-04

Hundreds of Valley teens are spending their summer vacation at the hospital but they're not patients, they're volunteers. 

About 200 students are giving 40 hours of their time a week helping out at Chandler Regional Medical Center and Mercy Gilbert Medical Center. 

The "Volunteens" do everything from deliver flowers to restock patient rooms and even help nurses in the emergency room. 

The students had to meet GPA requirements, submit recommendation letters and essays, then pass a community interview panel. 

The kids say the experience is worth it. 

"You get a chance to learn about all the in we workings of a hospital," said Queen Creek junior Chase Klapperich, "This program is all about giving back to those who need it, because they're in the hospital, and I don't think you get that anywhere else."

The Volunteen program it doing its first ever community outreach program and that's where you come in. They're collecting donations for the "Giving Backpack" drive. 

They're going to be stuffing backpacks full or basic survival supplies that will then be given out to homeless patients who come to the ER in both Valley hospitals as well as four other Urgent Care clinics across the Valley. 

Valerie Heninger is the supervisor for the hospital's volunteer service department and came up with the idea for the donation drive with her own children and decided to put it into action with the help of the Volunteens. 

"It's just a little bag of love to send them on their way let them know they matter to us and we care about you. We're here to take care of your health needs but then when they go home we want them to still know," Heninger said. 

You can drop donations off at Chandler Regional or Mercy Gilbert through Thursday at drop boxes in the lobby.

Items on the donation checklist include:

Toothbrush, toothpaste, small shampoo, deodorant, water bottles, hand sanitizer, chopsticks, socks (new) sunscreen, ball caps (new), baby wipes (small pack), dry granola bars (non-melting), clear gallon ziploc bags.