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Junior Volunteers offer helping hand

Patients and visitors to St. Joseph's Hospital and Health Center will recognize the Junior Volunteers by their smiles and bright pink or blue T-shirts to match.

They can be spotted wherever the staff or patients need a helping hand -- delivering the mail, greeting people at the east entrance, helping in the kitchen or laundry, working at the gift shop or filing papers for administration.

Eighteen students are enrolled this summer. The program is open to students ages 13 and older who have completed seventh grade, volunteer services coordinator Mitzi Swenson aid.

"We offer the summer off to the adult volunteers who may like to garden, travel or attend family reunions," Swenson said. "This gives them a break. We also offer students extra slots for additional opportunities."

The volunteer program is an opportunity for students to consider health careers or introduce them to the work force.

Hagen Junior High eighth-grader Kylee Shepard is volunteering for the first time. She delivers mail every Wednesday and will be Joey the Kangaroo at the upcoming "Color me fun!" run/walk.

"My aunt used to work here -- it's pretty cool," she said.

Dickinson High School junior Kaleb Dschaak is volunteering a second year. He helps in the administrative offices, because he's considering a business career.

"It's a great staff and a volunteer opportunity," he said.

Dickinson High School sophomore Marena Mahto volunteers at the gift shop and the walk-in clinic.

She plans to continue volunteering at the clinic after school starts.

"I like helping people and volunteering is part of a college application," she said.

The program started after Memorial Day and concludes for the summer on Aug. 16.