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Junior Volunteer Program Encourages Community Involvement, Career Exploration

  • Category: In The News
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Melanie Zaffuto

On June 7, North Oaks officials oriented 53 teens selected to participate in the health system's Junior Volunteer summer program.

“Our program offers teens, ages 14-17, a unique opportunity for community service where they work as a team, learn new skills and can get ideas for their future career path,” explains North Oaks Volunteer Services Manager Malissa Gonzalez. The program runs from June 13 to August 5.

Ponchatoula High School senior Andee Poché has given of her time as a Junior Volunteer every summer since 2013. In her 4 years as a Junior Volunteer, she has contributed 305 service hours helping out in the Volunteer Services office, hospital Gift Shop and the Heart Health Services department. With plans to pursue a career as a chiropractor, Poche has found her North Oaks volunteer experience helpful in strengthening her interpersonal communications skills and comfort level with public speaking.

“It’s a great program because you get to meet people from all walks of life and make a difference for others,” she adds. “This experience has really helped me grow as a person.”

This year’s Junior Volunteers represent 12 Louisiana high schools located in Tangipahoa, Livingston and St. Tammany parishes and one high school in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. They include: Lacie Randall, Rayanne Ridgel, Nipun Wadhwa—Albany High School; Allie Ferrara, Kerrigan Hunt, Sarah Labbé—Archbishop Hannan High School; Misty King of Doyle High School; Brittany Diez—French Settlement High School; Landon Goings, Madison Harrill, Moesha Felder, Tyra Jones, Garrett Sanders, Rachel Schnadelbach, Dereka Sylve, Layla Taylor—Hammond High Magnet School; Samantha McNeal—Holden High School; Samantha Barrera, Leah Benfield, Virginia Cervantes, Elisabeth Dunnington, Abigail Saba, Kaylyn Treadway—Loranger High School; Sara Calamia, Sarah Gordon—Oak Forest Academy; Presley Brents, Kelly Caro, Alayna Chelette, Catherine Dahmer, Luke Daniels, Sarah Haltom, Emma Huszar, Peyton LeSaicherre, Mia Maillet, Dustin Motichek, Sophia Nuzzolillo, Jourdan Olmstead, Sklyar Pete, Andee Poché, Kasslyn Pugh, Lydia Stegall, Olivia Thornton, Blair Vignes, Belle Vignes—Ponchatoula High School; Tanner Booth—St. Stanislaus High School; Katie Amos, Logan Lucas, Kashish Wadhwa—St. Thomas Aquinas Regional Catholic High School; Hailey Penton—Springfield High School; and Abi Creel, Sophia Charoenpap, Cassie Robinson—Walker Freshman High School.

For more information on volunteer opportunities for teens, students and adults, call North Oaks Volunteer Services at (985) 230-6811 or click here.
This year’s Junior Volunteers include, from left: (first row) Blair and Belle Vignes of Ponchatoula High School; Rayanne Ridgel of Albany High School; Misty King of Doyle High School; Kelly Caro of Ponchatoula High School; Katie Amos, St. Thomas Aquinas Regional Catholic High School; (second row) Moesha Felder of Hammond High Magnet School; Allie Ferrara of Archbishop Hannan High School; Dereka Sylve and Layla Taylor of Hammond High Magnet School; Cassie Robinson of Walker Freshman High School; Hailey Penton of Springfield High School; Leah Benfield of Loranger High School; (third row) Lydia Stegall, Sophia Nuzzolillo, Jourdan Olmstead, Olivia Thornton and Presley Brents of Ponchatoula High School; Virginia Cervantes and Samantha Barrera of Independence High School; (fourth row) Kaylyn Treadway and Elisabeth Dunnington of Loranger High School; Lacie Randall of Albany High School; Sophia Charoenpap of Walker Freshman High School; Sara Calamia of Oak Forest Academy; Madison Harrill of Hammond High Magnet School; Alayna Chelette of Ponchatoula High School; Sarah Gordon of Oak Forest Academy; (fifth row) Emma Huszar of Ponchatoula High School; Abigail Saba of Loranger High School; Rachel Schnadelbach of Hammond High Magnet School; Sarah Labbé of Archbishop Hannan High School; Skylar Pete of Ponchatoula High School; Abi Creel of Walker Freshman High School; Samantha McNeal of Holden High School; Kerrigan Hunt of Archbishop Hannan High School; Kasslyn Pugh of Ponchatoula High School; Kashish Wadhwa of St. Thomas Aquinas Regional Catholic High School; Landon Goings of Hammond High Magnet School; (sixth row) Sarah Haltom of Ponchatoula High School; Tyra Jones of Hammond High Magnet School; Peyton LeSaicherre of Ponchatoula High School; Logan Lucas of St. Thomas Aquinas Regional Catholic High School; Brittany Diez of French Settlement High School; Luke Daniels of Ponchatoula High School; Garrett Sanders of Hammond High Magnet School; and Tanner Booth of St. Stanislaus High School. Not pictured is Andee Poché of Ponchatoula High School and Nipun Wadhwa of Albany High School.

Above left is Dustin Motichek of Ponchatoula High School.
Above right are Catherine Dahmer and Mia Maillet of Ponchatoula High School.