The MD Anderson Teen Volunteer Leadership in Cancer Care Program is designed to train a select number of teenagers and provide them with a rewarding volunteer experience. Our goal is to instill a lifetime commitment to volunteerism. Training, communicating effectively, developing good customer service skills, and working alongside patients, caregivers, staff and adult volunteers are key components of the program.
Teen volunteers participating will have an opportunity to: participate in a variety of experiences interacting with patients, caregivers, staff and other teen volunteers in several volunteer positions; gain exposure to healthcare careers; and gain leadership skills.
Teen Volunteer Program Details
Students must be between the ages of 15 and 17 (by June 1 of the applicable summer) to be considered for the program. If you're 18 and graduating high school you may apply to the College Program.
Teens may participate in the MD Anderson Teen Volunteer Leadership in Cancer Care Program for a maximum of two summers.
The MD Anderson Teen Volunteer Leadership in Cancer Care Program is a daytime and summer-only opportunity. No evening, weekend or year-round volunteer opportunities are available.
Due to the nature of a leadership program and the number of teens currently in good standing and intending to return to the program next summer, we anticipate only 15 openings for the 2019 summer program.
Two program sessions will be available:
- Session I Program: Monday, June 3-Thursday, June 27, 2019
- Session II Program: Monday, July 8-Thursday, Aug. 1, 2019
Teens selected for the program will attend a full day of training on the first Monday of each session (June 3 for Session I and July 8 for Session II). Mandatory attendance at the training is required. Volunteers who miss the training will be replaced by prospective teens on the waitlist.
Volunteer shift hours for each session will be Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Teens will volunteer all four days of each week of their assigned program session.
- Volunteers will fulfill a morning shift (8 a.m.-12 p.m.) and an afternoon shift (1-5 p.m.) with a one-hour lunch break (12-1 p.m.).
- Teens are not to leave the MD Anderson campus during their lunch break.
- Teen volunteers are allowed two excused absences for a total of four shifts (equivalent to two days) per program session.
- Teen volunteers are encouraged to schedule doctors' appointments and other commitments on Fridays.
All volunteers will be cross-trained for three to four teen positions that will include: Clinic Assistant, Gift Shop, Coffee Cart, Beverage Cart, Popcorn Cart and Patient Navigator. Each volunteer will fulfill a morning position (8 a.m.-12 p.m.) and then report to a different position for the afternoon shift (1-5 p.m.).
Throughout the session, teen volunteers will attend learning opportunities that will include presentations representing different departments and tours throughout the institution. Lunch will be provided on the schedule learning days.
Teen volunteers are not permitted to use cell phones during their volunteer shifts and during Lunch and Learn sessions. If parents need to contact their teen with an urgent matter, they may contact the Volunteer Services and Merchandising office at 713-792-7180.
- The MD Anderson Teen Volunteer Leadership in Cancer Care Program application period for summer 2019 closed on Jan. 22, 2019.
- From the applications submitted, 50 applicants will be identified to move to the next phase of the selection process, the interview. These applicants will be contacted by the Department of Volunteer Services and Merchandising to schedule a personal interview to take place in February. Each interview will last approximately 45 minutes.
- The 50 teen applicants who interviewed will be notified in March if they have been accepted to the The MD Anderson Teen Volunteer Leadership in Cancer Care Program.
- Set aside one hour to complete the application. If you're unable to finish in one sitting, you have the option to save and log back in at a later time.
- The majority of the application is in essay format.
- Ensure your parent/guardian is available to sign the final page before submission.
BY Lany Kimmons
Most teens spend their summer by the pool, playing video games or working a summer job. At MD Anderson, 25 teens spent four weeks of their summer volunteering as part of the Teen Volunteer Leadership Program in Cancer Care.
MD Anderson always has a large number of volunteers assisting patients and caregivers. But during the summer, more young faces in blue jackets are seen, as teens between the ages of 14 and 18 from more than 15 Houston-area schools volunteer in various positions around the hospital.
“Becoming a volunteer at MD Anderson is one of the best experiences anyone can ever have,” says Bovey Liu, a 14-year-old student at Carnegie Vanguard High School. “Volunteering and helping others are one of the best ways to leave everyone smiling.”
The program requires a big commitment from the teens, who participate in one of two, four-week sessions in which they work eight-hour shifts in four volunteer positions. Their time is spent in the retail gift shops or Appearances, a specialty shop that serves the distinctive needs of cancer patients, and they’re paired with an adult volunteer to work in a clinic. Other positions include patient navigator, coffee cart, hat cart, popcorn cart and the rose garden program.
While Liu enjoyed all his positions, his favorite was the rose garden program, where he would cut flowers from the cancer center’s rose gardens and deliver them to patients’ rooms. He found that the rose deliveries could bring a smile to any patient’s face. He also got the chance to use his nine years of piano experience by playing for visitors.
Lydianne Juguilon, a 16-year-old student at Incarnate Word Academy, found the hat cart to be the most gratifying volunteer position. She enjoyed the meaningful conversations she had with patients and their families while handing out free hats, scarves and pillows.
“The stories they’ve told us about their lives are amazing,” Juguilon says. “Patients have opened up to us. Some have asked for a hug, others have asked for a prayer for their family. You get to connect with people on a very personal level.”