The Youth Health Service Corps (YHSC) inspires diverse high school students to fulfill their dream of becoming a healthcare professional through meaningful public service that addresses community health issues. Throughout 60 AHEC offices in 20 states, students provide needed services within their community while increasing their awareness of the health issues facing underserved communities. The students are trained topics such as Leadership and Service, Vulnerable Populations – cultural competency, Ethical and Legal Issues – confidentiality, Health Career Exploration and Health Care Skills, as well as CPR and AED certification and they participate in 50 hours of community service. This knowledge is then applied by creating and presenting Learn & Serve projects at local community agencies. The 2010-2011 program is committed to students completing Learn & Serve projects in the community focused on, but not limited to, Oral Health Prevention and Education, Childhood Obesity Prevention and Health and Social Issues of the Aging Population. YHSC provides high school students with initial experiences for a continued pipeline of community service, via the College Health Service Corps and the National Health Service Corps, which endorses the YHSC.
This year the YHSC has turned a new corner by adding a new target audience with the addition of three AmeriCorps members. Funding for the three members at Southwestern Area Health Education Center was a joint initative with all AHEC centers being awarded up to 5 AmeriCorps volunteers to coordinate the Youth Health Service Corps working with at-risk students. The AmeriCorps members will be meeting with Guidance Counselors, Teachers, Principals, and other high school faculty to identify students at-risk of dropping out of school because of poor academics, excessive tardiness, and low attendance.
John Scholz, Ourida Victorin, and Samantha Higgins joined the team at Southwestern AHEC in September with the goal of enlisting these new groups of students to our current YHSC programs at the high schools in Bridgeport, Stratford, and New Haven. The schools currently recruited into the program include Harding High School, Central High School, Bunnell High School, and Stratford High School, and Hillhouse High School.
The goal of the AmeriCorps members are to motivate and offer support services such as mentoring, family support, and academic tutoring to improve their academic interest and performance.
Program & Curriculum
YHSC is grounded in four sets of Standards: Academic Frameworks, National Health Care Skill Standards, K-12 Service Learning Standards for Quality Practice and the 40 Developmental Assets. The program’s goals are to increase student awareness of health careers, involvement in service learning and engagement in academic and civic communities.
Following the required training, students engage in two different types of service:
- Independent Service – individual volunteering done in an area of interest of students who want/need to volunteer on their own schedule. YHSC coordinators place students and follow their progress.
- Service Learning Projects – group volunteering, guided by YHSC coordinators, in which students raise awareness of a specified health concern over the course of a semester. Small groups of students work together on projects that address important community health issues using the IPARDCS service learning process:
- Increased knowledge of health careers
- Participation in meaningful service
- Increased academic and civic engagement
- Exposure to professional career role models
- Addition of significant experience to college and/or work resume
Student Rewards & Recognition
Students receive the YHSC National Community Service Recognition Award, supported in partnership with the National Health Service Corps for 50 hours of service. Students who serve a minimum of 100 hours over 12 months are eligible for the President’s Volunteer Service Award.
- Visit us online at www.ahecnation.org
- Samantha Higgins at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Jake Scholz at email@example.com
- Ourida Victorin at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Joan Lane at email@example.com