The 2018-2019 TCMH Youth Ambassador scholarship recipients with their program leaders. From left: Brenda Barton, Selena Sanchez, Renina Pearce, Haley Long and Kim Herndon. Both Sanchez and Long are 2019 graduates from Licking.

Texas County Memorial Hospital is accepting applications for the 2019-2020 Youth Ambassador program. It is open to area high school juniors and seniors as well as area college students.

Participants in the Youth Ambassador program volunteer their time at the county hospital throughout various departments to gain experience and understanding of hospital operations. Youth Ambassadors are required to go through an orientation and must commit to volunteering at TCMH for four hours each month, on average.

Youth Ambassadors get at least some experience in most of the participating departments during their first year. Those in the second year of the program have two additional departments that are open to them.

The participating departments currently include registration, dietary, housekeeping, cardiopulmonary, emergency, obstetrics, medical records, administration, radiology and medical surgical. 

“The Youth Ambassador program is continually growing,” said Renina Pearce, volunteer services coordinator. “Each year we have more departments participating in the program, allowing our Youth Ambassadors opportunities to gain more exposure to the healthcare field.”

Pearce said the program allows students who think they might want to go into the healthcare field the opportunity to gain exposure to different areas before leaving home to pursue a degree and/or training in a particular field.

“The program really opens their eyes and expands their thoughts about what they could do in healthcare,” Pearce said. “We have had Youth Ambassadors who have discovered new areas of healthcare that they never knew existed previously, sometimes altering their previously chosen career path.”

Former Youth Ambassadors currently have jobs working in various departments throughout TCMH. Additionally, they are eligible for educational scholarships from the TCMH Healthcare Foundation.

“I’m a big believer in growing your own,” said Wes Murray, TCMH chief executive officer said. “This program helps train and groom students in our community to work in healthcare and hopefully return to Texas County when they finish school.”

Kim Herndon, a medical surgical floor nurse aid, and Brenda Barton, a central scheduler in registration, help Pearce with the operations of the Youth Ambassador program. 

Pearce said she tries to make the Youth Ambassadors program fun and wants the students to feel welcome in the hospital. They have their own closet that serves as the main hub for all their communication with each other and with the TCMH staff that help.

Youth Ambassadors will have the opportunity to be recognized for their achievements throughout the year during a celebration that will be in the spring of 2020. It recognizes the accomplishments of each Youth Ambassador and gives their family members an opportunity to learn more about the program. The 2019-2020 Youth Ambassador Endowed Scholarships will be awarded to the recipients at the conclusion of the event.

Youth Ambassadors have volunteered approximately 10,000 hours since the program began in December 2009. During the 2018-2019 school year, they volunteered 1,067 hours. A total of 231 students have participated in the program since its launch.

For additional information about the TCMH Youth Ambassador program, or to apply, contact your high school counselor or Pearce directly at 417-967-1236 or

The application deadline is Friday, Aug. 30.

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