By Mark Abrams
CAMDEN, N.J. (CBS) — Cooper University Hospital honored 60 graduates of a revived “Candy Striper” volunteer program who spent their summer working and learning in the hospital.
The idea for reviving the volunteer program came from Christina Smith, Cooper’s director of patient and family centered care, who started her career as a “Candy Striper.”
Smith says 60 students between the ages of 14 and 18 were recruited from schools in Camden and Gloucester counties.
“This program was a very comprehensive commitment,” she says. “The children had to commit to a Monday through Friday schedule, 8 to 4. We used it really as an opportunity for them to get real work experience as well.”
Ian Harding, a 15-year-old from Berlin, spent more than 100 hours in the program.
“I got experience from the position of everyone in the medical field,” Harding says. “From a physician, from a nurse, from a GI technician, and, also, a secretary.”
Harding says he’s hoping to someday pursue a career as a radiologist.