April 24, 2014

High school students explore Catholic health care at St. Vincent Charity Medical Center

Through a partnership between St. Vincent Charity Medical Center and Saint Ignatius High School in Cleveland, sophomore students have the opportunity to observe Catholic health care in action and gain real-world experience as volunteer caregivers.

In September 2013, St. Vincent Charity and the Jesuit high school partnered to create a new opportunity for the Saint Ignatius Sophomore Service program.

“Father (William) Murphy (president of Saint Ignatius) and I felt very strongly that our missions were in alignment and provided a unique opportunity for partnership,” said David F. Perse, M.D. president and CEO of St. Vincent Charity Medical Center.

Sophomore service is a required theology class at Saint Ignatius. Students serve at a nonprofit agency once a week in a three-hour block of time during the school day. Additionally, they spend one class a week in seminar reflecting on the meaning of service. Inherent in the formation of every Saint Ignatius student is an emphasis on faith in the service of justice.

“With our shared Catholic values and mission to serve our community and the greater world, the relationship between our two organizations fits,” said Father Murphy. “Further, like St. Vincent Charity Medical Center, Saint Ignatius High School is deeply rooted in the City of Cleveland. We have a commitment to our neighborhood.”

Matt Avdey, Lewis Hurt and Anthony Ramirez were three of the five students placed at St. Vincent Charity during the fall semester of 2013. Working closely with Sister Mary Ann Mozser, then vice president of mission and ministry at St. Vincent Charity, the students were given a volunteer schedule that allowed them to explore various areas of the hospital—inpatient units, admitting, Rosary Hall, behavioral health units, surgery and the emergency department. While rounding on the patient floors, the students were welcomed as friendly faces and listening ears for the patients.

“My favorite part of the service program was when we got to volunteer on the gero-psychiatry unit,” said Ramirez. “We were able to help the patients with their art therapy and really got to know them. I think it was rewarding for us and for the patients as well.”

“Giving our students the opportunity to serve at a faith-based hospital, where they can experience firsthand the healing ministry of Christ, has had a profound impact on our boys,” said Michael McLaughlin, sophomore service director at Saint Ignatius. “They love interacting with the hospital’s caring staff and patients and they come back to school with a changed vision of their role as helpers in this world.”

Read the full article in the latest issue of Caritas, St. Vincent Charity Medical Center’s community newsletter.

St. Vincent Charity Medical Center is a ministry of the Sisters of Charity Health System.

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