SPRINGFIELD, Pa. — How many teens can say they’ve received recognition from the President of the United States? Six local high school students who volunteer at Crozer-Keystone Health System are among an elite group chosen to receive the President’s Volunteer Service Award.
The students — Nia Lartey and Nadia Lartey from Penn Wood High School, Kene Ilodigwe from Upper Darby High School, Alexis Sloan from Sharon Hill, Dominic Mueller from Strath Haven High School, and Anika Gusick from West Chester East High School — were recognized by President Barack Obama for volunteering over 100 hours each at a Crozer-Keystone hospital over the summer of 2015.
The President’s Volunteer Service Award recognizes U.S. citizens who volunteer a certain number of hours over a 12-month period. Five of Crozer-Keystone’s student volunteers fell into the 11-15 age group and received the gold award. One student, Ilodigwe, fell into the 16-25 age category and received a bronze award for her efforts.
All six students donated their time to help patients and staff of Crozer-Keystone’s four inpatient hospitals (Crozer-Chester Medical Center, Delaware County Memorial Hospital, Springfield Hospital and Taylor Hospital). “They are a great group of kids who really enjoyed giving back to their communities,” says Janet Kalup, director of Volunteer Services for Crozer-Keystone Health System.
Nia and Nadia Lartey, fraternal twins from Lansdowne, may be on different career paths but their feelings about volunteering at DCMH are the same. Nadia enjoyed delivering meals to patients and selling candy with her sister. She excels at math, computer science and Latin American history, and at age 15 is still mulling over her options for college. Nia, who has her heart set on studying political science at either University of California – Berkeley or American University in Washington, D.C., enjoyed sharing candy cart time with her sister but also liked being a greeter in DCMH’s Heart Station. The twins cite the patients, DCMH staff and new friends made “on the job” as some of their favorite volunteer memories. “I met a lot of people and got to know some of them over time,” Nadia says. “I really liked being at DCMH.” Nia adds that “just seeing people smile and say ‘Good morning’ to me made me feel great.”
Ilodigwe, from Upper Darby, says she also enjoyed working the DCMH candy cart as well as offering books to patients from the hospital’s book cart. The 16-year-old is considering pre-med and wants to attend the University of Maryland.
Sloan, from Sharon Hill, also volunteered at DCMH. Mueller, who resides in Wallingford, volunteered at Taylor and Crozer, and Guscik, from West Chester, volunteered at Springfield Hospital. Sloan plans on pursuing a career in the medical field so that she can continue helping others and take care of herself. “I love volunteering for the Crozer-Keystone Health System,” she says. “I get to meet amazing people and do my part to help out.”
“On behalf of everyone in the Crozer-Keystone Health System, I would like to thank our exceptional youth volunteers for their devotion to serving our hospitals and patients,” Kalup says. “They understand the value of helping others and their communities, and I congratulate our six Presidential Award winners on an outstanding accomplishment.”
Crozer-Keystone’s youth volunteer program aims to provide a beneficial experience to students ages 15 and older. It runs from July 1 to August 31 and allows youth volunteers to contribute their many valuable talents while introducing them to career opportunities in the medical field.
Photo caption: Pictured from left to right are Nia Lartey, Kene Ilodigwe, Alexis Sloan and Nadia Lartey. Not pictured are Dominic Mueller and Anika Gusick.
Director, Public Relations and Marketing | Delaware County Memorial Hospital & Taylor Hospital