"What do you want to do when you grow up?" is a tough question to answer at any age but six young women from four area schools may have a clearer notion after they spend the next several months exploring occupations at West Shore Medical Center through Manistee County’s Women’s Economic Resource Center’s (WERC) Mentoring Program.
For the past three years, the Mentoring Program has provided career exploration opportunities to sophomore and junior high school girls in Manistee County. Students are expected to keep a journal, participate fully in mentoring activities, and spend at least twenty hours with their mentors during a semester. At the end of the session, students who successfully complete the program are eligible for a $250 educational scholarship at an accredited institution.
Manistee High School student Kirstyn O’Dell wanted to learn more about accounting so Amy Hilliard-Fitch will show her what is involved working as an accountant in a hospital. Erin Crothers, who also attends Manistee High, is interested in nutrition and cooking; she will be mentored by Courtney Baldwin, the Dietary Services Manager at the hospital.
Elizabeth Richmond, Sylvia Garcia, Kris KleinsorgeSocial Worker Kris Kleinsorge opted to mentor two students, Sylvia Garcia and Elizabeth Richmond of Bear Lake High School. Both consider studying social work in college and want to see what it would be like. "I would like to know if I can handle social work emotionally," wrote Elizabeth on her application. "I feel this mentoring program would aid me in my future career choice."
Tabitha Knudsen and Alex Barnett
West Shore’s Medical/Surgical and Critical Care Unit Manager, Maureen Smith, also chose to work with two students, Alex Barnett who goes to Manistee Catholic Central, and Tabitha Knudsen a 10th grader at Casman Academy. The girls will see first hand what sort of day-to-day activities are involved in this department of the hospital.
At an orientation session attended by mentors, students and their parents/guardians, Kendra Thompson, chairperson of the Mentoring Program Committee, expressed her appreciation for West Shore Medical Center’s wholehearted support. "The hospital is a busy place; these women have responsible, important jobs. Yet everyone we’ve dealt with has gone above and beyond to assure that these students get the best experience possible. We are as thrilled as the kids are!"
Students who successfully complete all the requirements will be eligible for scholarships provided through the WERC Giving Circle Endowment Fund at the Manistee County Community Foundation. Please consider a financial gift to the fund to allow more women to receive scholarships.