Local teens spend summer volunteering at area hospitals

LAWRENCEVILLE - Gwinnett teens and young adults are making their mark volunteering at local hospitals.

At Gwinnett Medical Center, a group of high school and college students recently spent much of their summer participating in GMC's student volunteer program. The program, offered during June and July at the Lawrenceville and Duluth campuses, allows students to assist in an area for four hours a week. Volunteers are also allowed to shadow in other areas of interest including surgery, delivery or pathology, said GMC spokeswoman Andrea Wehrmann.

Patrick Chepaitis, a Georgia Tech sophomore studying biomedical engineering, recently finished his fifth summer of volunteer work. Chepaitis spent eight weeks working in the medical records department and interacting with patients during their discharge.

"This volunteer program provides excellent experience as I take a look at pursuing a medical career," Chepaitis said. "The volunteer coordinators are extremely helpful and allow me to get involved, so needless to say, I plan on continuing this for many years."

Two teens, Michael Cranford of Grayson and Jenny Kim of Lawrenceville, were recently awarded the first Emory Eastside Medical Center Auxiliary Volunteen Scholarships. The awards, which recognize service to patients, families and staff, were announced at the Auxiliary Annual July General Meeting by Joanne Gilbreath, auxiliary president.

Kim served as a volunteer in 2007 and 2008, Cranford in 2008 and 2009.

Cranford will attend Emory University in his pursuit of a career as a cardiovascular surgeon. Kim is committed to a career as an oncologist and will attend the University of Pennsylvania.