Youth volunteers needed

Ladysmith youth interested in health care are encouraged to apply for the Youth Volunteer Program — a revamped candy striping program.

Ladysmith youth who have an interest in health care are being encouraged to apply for the Ladysmith Health Care Auxiliary’s Youth Volunteer Program — formerly known as candy striping — this month.

Application forms are available at Ladysmith Secondary School, and applications must be in by this Wednesday (Sept. 19). The program orientation will take place Oct. 5, and the program starts Oct. 8.

The Youth Volunteer Program is aimed at girls and boys in Grade 8 through Grade 12, and participants have an opportunity to earn a $4,000 bursary offered by the Ladysmith Health Care Auxiliary.

“It’s a great way for more introverted teens to gain confidence, because I’ve seen some really come out of their shells,” said program manager Deb Henderson.

This year, the Ladysmith Health Care Auxiliary’s candy striping program is changing to give youth more experiences. The uniform is also changing  to T-shirts.

Previously, volunteers in the candy striping program would go up on the floors at the Lodge on 4th and visit residents, but now, Youth Volunteer Program volunteers will have a chance to volunteer in many areas. They will be able to visit residents, they will be able to help out with activities and programming, and they will be able to help out at the Lodge’s gift shop.

“We’re hoping the change in name and change in uniform will attract more boys,” said Henderson. “I’ve had boys go up on the floor and really just love it. They really bond with the male residents.”

Eighteen-year-old Mya Wilson was a candy striper for two and a half years.

She socialized with the residents, playing card games, watching TV, going for walks and helping with dinner.

“It became a great experience getting to know the people there,” she said. “It was fun. They really enjoyed just sitting together instead of being alone. They had great stories to tell.”

Wilson is studying to become a medical lab tech, and she feels that being a candy striper helped her be sure of her career choice.

“I got to work in a hospital-style environment, which was helpful for my future,” she said. “It made my career path more clear, talking to the nurses, and meeting the people was a really cool growing experience.”

For more information about the program, call the Ladysmith Health Care Auxiliary at 250-245-5225.