HEALTH ADVENTURES. HEALTH ADVENTURES in Action CASE STUDY

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1 HEALTH ADVENTURES CASE STUDY Health Adventures, a national mentoring program of the American Society of Directors of Volunteer Services (A S D V S), introduces middle school at-risk youth to career opportunities in health care while also providing training for healthy life choices. Since the first pilot program in , HEALTH ADVENTURES has been developed in hospitals in over 3 0states. I HEALTH ADVENTURES in Action n the last year or so, 15-year-old Lian has decided he wanted to be a pharmacy technician, or maybe even a pharmacist. His friend, Keenon, was interested in crime scene investigation. Neither of the boys had given much thought to a future career until enrolling in the HEALTH ADVENTURES program at St. Clare Hospital in Lakewood, Washington. 1 They were recommended for the program by their middle school counselor who thought they would benefit from having a mentor in their lives. Lian s mother died when he was very young and Keenon s father had been recently deployed to Iraq. Each month, Lian, Keenon and 13 other youth attend a HEALTH ADVENTURES session, which is usually held at St. Clare Hospital. The youth have each been paired with a mentor who goes through every component of the 3-hour session with them. The session begins with a healthy meal, which provides sustenance as well as an opportunity for the youth and mentors to reconnect. Today, Keenon is happy to see his mentor, Rachel Benz, with whom he has become close with over the past 1 Lakewood is an America s Promise Community of Promise. MAKING A DIFFERENCE in the Lives of Yo u t h HEALTH ADVENTURES National Collaboration for Youth PAGE 1 OF 8

2 year. Rachel calls to check in with him a couple of times a month and she has attended all the social activities that the program has sponsored. Last month, R a c h e l, who is also one of the coordinators of the p r o gr a m, did a presentation on her career as a Public Info r m ation Officer for the Fire Department. The teens seemed especially to enjoy the segment in which they did on-camera interviews relating to fire safety, with their mentors playing the role of reporter. About 45 minutes into the session, the formal program begins. This month s learning module is on diagnostic imaging. The presenter, Mr. Chowdhry, gives an overview of diagnostic imaging; he explains each of the different modalities x-ray, nuclear medicine, and ultrasound. Mr. Chowdhry shows a series of x-ray s, a n d, after each, he asks questions such as, W h at do you see? W h at do you think hap p e n e d to this individual? When the last x-ray is shown, Lian leans over to his mentor, Marcy Vo g e l, and say s, T h at arm looks kind of rough. Marcy chimes in, It looks like the bone has been shattered. When Mr. Chowdhry explains that the x-ray belongs to a 7-year-old child shot by a friend who was playing with a gun, the room gets quiet. For the last hour of the session, the group of 15 youth and their mentors will actually go into the x-ray department for some hands-on learning activities. After a quick tour of the department, the youth will get to operate some of the machinery. Each young person will take an x-ray and go into the darkroom and process it. They get to take the x-ray film home with them. MAKING A DIFFERENCE in the Lives of Yo u t h HEALTH ADVENTURES National Collaboration for Youth PAGE 2 OF 8

3 Key Components Mentoring: Volunteers from the staffs of collaborating agencies, area colleges and universities, and from the community at large are matched with 7th and 8th grade participants. Mentors are asked to make a two-year commitment to the program by: developing one-on-one relationships with the participants, attending the monthly program, making phone contact with their mentee between sessions, and attending any other scheduled social activities. The volunteers participate in an orientation and mentor training to prepare them for their roles. Learning Modules: The American Society of Directors of Volunteer Services (ASDVS) national HEALTH ADVENTURES model includes 10 pre-designed experiential learning modules, each targeting a particular health care career or department/service found in a hospital. Topics include: clinical laboratory, emergency services, respiratory care, physical therapy, nursing, pharmacy, health information management (records), nutrition services, social services, and plant engineering and construction. The Lakewood program staff added an additional 10 modules, to include topics such as fire safety, fire investigation, and crime scene investigation. The hospital s director of volunteer services, who typically coordinates the Health Adventures program, solicits the support of the heads of the various departments and services in the hospital. Staff from the hospital as well as the Fire and Police Departments use the experiential learning modules to lead monthly learning experiences for participating youth and mentors. Community Partners: ASDVS requires that host hospitals partner with at least one community organization when implementing HEALTH ADVENTURES. One of the key roles of a community partner is to provide access to middle school youth. In Lakewood, St. Clare Hospital collaborates with the Lakewood Boys and Girls Club, the Lakewood Fire and Police Departments, Lochburn Middle School, and Mann Middle School. All of the collaborators help to fund and implement the program. Middle school counselors identify MAKING A DIFFERENCE in the Lives of Yo u t h HEALTH ADVENTURES National Collaboration for Youth PAGE 3 OF 8

4 youth for the program; Boys and Girls Club staff help recruit youth and coordinate a set of social activities for participants, mentors, and family members; the Fire and Police Department staffs assist in the coordination and implementation of monthly learning modules. Parent Involvement: The program provides a mandatory orientation for parents, enabling them to find out more about HEALTH ADVENTURES and to meet their child s mentor. Parents are also invited to social activities throughout the two years, including a celebration at the program s end. In addition, parents are asked for their impressions of how the program is impacting their children, via written evaluations administered at the end of the first and second years of the program. What s unique about HEALTH ADVENTURES? After several years of implementing HEALTH ADVENTURES as a one-year model, offered from September through June, the staff decided to expand the program to two years. In 2000, they asked the Lakewood Fire and Police Departments to create a series of learning modules for a second year of the program. This more extensive collaboration provides 7th and 8th graders with a broad spectrum of information about possible health care careers. Monthly presentations cover everything from the inner workings of the hospital, to crime scene investigation and other police activity, to fire prevention and investigations. The mentors report that they are learning as much about the health care field as the students are. There are a lot of youth in this area who don t finish high school, so we try to capture students attention and get them focused on a career while they re still in middle school. We want these young people to understand that the choices they make today will greatly impact what they can do in the future. Our presenters are careful to demonstrate the ways they use math, science and other school subjects in their day-to-day work. Renee Meyer, Program Coordinator MAKING A DIFFERENCE in the Lives of Yo u t h HEALTH ADVENTURES National Collaboration for Youth PAGE 4 OF 8

5 S t. C l a r e s HEALTH ADVENTURES program is committed to providing youth with what are known as the five p r o m i s e s :1) caring adults, 2) safe places, 3) a healthy start, 4) marketable skills, and 5) opportunities to serv e. Participants develop meaningful relationships with staff from all of the collaborating agencies. As a result, they feel more comfortable with doctors, nurses, police officers and fire fighters. Now that this has become a two-year program, you really get a chance to have a close bond with the kids. I mentored two students myself because we didn t have enough mentors last year. I feel I will be in touch with those two young people until they graduate high school, or longer. It s been wonderful to see them bloom, especially in the second year. I ve seen many of the kids change the way they deal with people in uniform -there s a respect there, but the youth are comfortable and they re not afraid. Rachel Benz, Mentor & Coordinator Goals and Desired Outcomes Increased positive self-identity (Indicators: Increased social skills and improved school performance). Increase in positive behavior (Indicat o r s : Increase in positive relationships and increased participat i o n in activities). Increased sense of well-being (Indicator: Written survey administered after each module). Improved science/math grades and attendance in school (Indicator: Middle school transcripts). The Research Design The ongoing evaluation of St. Clare Hospital s HEALTH ADVENTURES program is conducted by Manager, Volunteer Services/Community Integration Renee Meyer. The following surveys were administered midway and at the end of the program: 1) mentor evaluation; 2) parent evaluation; and 3) student evaluat i o n. In addition, students complete a surv ey at the end of each m o n t h ly session as well as a written post-test at the end of the first and second year of the progr a m. ASDVS requires local sites to send monthly statistical and quarterly management reports to the N ational Program Chair. These reports include completed intake forms for gathering data on participating students and volunteer partners, such as attendance records for both students and mentors, and students science and math scores. MAKING A DIFFERENCE in the Lives of Yo u t h HEALTH ADVENTURES National Collaboration for Youth PAGE 5 OF 8

6 Making a Difference! Health Adventures has taught me that learning can be fun. It has changed me because it s made me think about some of the wrong choices I ve made, so that I don t make them again. Youth Participants On the final post-tests, 1st year students had a mean average of 92.46% correct answers; 2nd year students had a mean average of 93.15% correct answers. These scores reflect the fact that students gained knowledge from the hospital modules in year one and the police and fire modules in year two. In addition, 2nd year students demonstrated that they were holding on to hospital information they had learned in year one of the program. Sixty-four percent of the youth reported having a greater interest in pursuing a medical, police, or fire department career because of HEALTH ADVENTURES. Results of parent surveys: 80% reported that their child has a greater interest in pursuing a medical career because of HEALTH ADVENTURES. 60% reported their child s grades have improved since participating in the program. 60% said their child s attitude towards school has become more positive. 100% said the mentor had a positive impact on their child. 100% said they would recommend this program to other families. MAKING A DIFFERENCE in the Lives of Yo u t h HEALTH ADVENTURES National Collaboration for Youth PAGE 6 OF 8

7 Health Adventures turned my daughter s dream into a reality. Thank you so much! Parent On written evaluations, youth gave the following feedback: They enjoy the hands-on learning environment. They loved having mentors; thought the program did a good job in matching students and mentors; and were disappointed on those occasions when mentors did not show up. The program is fun. Each child walks away with something different. Some take away a lot more than others. The most important thing for us is that the youth leave believing that their future is important and they have a sense of how to go about achieving a career goal. For some young people the biggest impact is discovering that someone other than their parent or grandparent cares about them -an adult with a busy life has made time specifically for them. Renee Meyer, Program Coordinator Program Tips n The collaboration process has been advantageous in several ways: 1) it has enabled St. Clare Hospital to implement the HEALTH ADVENTURES two-year program successfully; 2) it has helped in the securing of funding, for example, from the Franciscan Foundation and the federal Weed and Seed program; and 3) it has resulted in positive publicity. n A critical factor in the program s sustainability has been the involvement and commitment of the leaders of organizational partners. As a result of this commitment, each organization has earmarked a part of its ongoing budget for HEALTH ADVENTURES; this way the program is not completely dependent upon special grants. In addition, as HEALTH ADVENTURES has become more visible, there has been an increase in community demand. MAKING A DIFFERENCE in the Lives of Yo u t h HEALTH ADVENTURES National Collaboration for Youth PAGE 7 OF 8

8 n n n For local hospitals interested in developing a HEALTH ADVENTURES program, Lakewood s Renee Meyer, advises, It s OK to start small even if you only have six kids, that s a good beginning. The program will build through word of mouth if you can make it successful for those six young people. Interested hospitals can file an application with AVDVS. Applicants must commit at least $2,500 to cover such expenses as the provision of healthy meals at each monthly session. During mentor orientation and training, it is critical to stress the importance of making and honoring a commitment to attend every session of the program. Mentor and coordinator Rachel Benz reports: We ve had some mentors who just didn t put their hearts into the program. There s nothing more disappointing to participants than having their mentor not show up. An effective mentor not only attends every session but gets right in there and does everything that the students are doing. It is essential to help parents understand the program s potential positive impact and the importance of consistent at t e n d a n c e. Some parents have pulled their children out of the program because of poor grades or some unrelated misbehavior, not recognizing that the youth are missing out on an activity that can help correct those very problems. MAKING A DIFFERENCE in the Lives of Yo u t h HEALTH ADVENTURES National Collaboration for Youth PAGE 8 OF 8

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