Help area high school students make the most of their summer

May 31, 2018  //  FOUND IN: Strategy & Leadership,

Ann Arbor high school student Abdul Kazito interned with Silver Club in 2017.

Every summer, faculty and staff across Michigan Medicine work to improve the lives of those around them. However, it’s not just patients and families that they serve — many play a major role in the development of young community members through a mentorship program hosted by the Department of Human Resources.

The HR Youth Mentoring Program began in 1993 and provides mentorships, internships and professional development opportunities to select Ann Arbor high school students, most of whom come from at-risk economic backgrounds. The students are chosen by their counselors for demonstrating good attendance, academic excellence and an interest in post-secondary education.

“This program allows some of the brightest high school students in the area to learn the skills they will need to succeed in the next stage of their life,” said JoAnn Grantham, mentoring program manager for HR. “It’s unique, hands-on training that most kids their age never get to experience.”

The program is currently seeking departments to host students for this upcoming summer.

Interested in hosting but unsure how a mentee will fit into your department? Headlines caught up with members of a few departments who have hosted in the past, and they reflected on why the program was beneficial to everyone involved.

Elaine Reed, bedside art coordinator, Gifts of Art

“Last year was the first year we took part in the program and it turned into such a tremendous experience.

The students who joined our team had so many creative opportunities, from creating art kits for patients and families with the Bedside Art Program to helping host and livestream outdoor performances in the University Hospital courtyard. They were able to see that a hospital is both a place of healing — with incredible medicine and science being performed daily — and a place of nurturing and creativity.

In the end, it opened up their eyes to how diverse working in health care can be, and it opened our staff’s eyes to the imagination and energy the next generation provides. They were a joy to be around.”

Denise Gooden-Richmond, allied health supervisor, radiation oncology

“Myself and everyone around me are always excited to work with these talented students, which we’ve done for almost a decade now. Each summer, we have the ability to provide them with the skills and experience to get a job, whether they attend college or not.

For example, we have students go through MiChart training, learn the skills to greet patients and family members and assist with the check-in process. All the while, they grow in confidence and maturity to the point where patients never know they are dealing with high school students.

To have that sort of influence on the next generation is a joy and a pleasure. Sometimes all kids need is a chance, and this is a way you can provide that for them.”

Stacey Cook, call center manager, Paging and Information Services

“We’ve had interns work with us for seven summers. They’re always willing to jump in and help with data input, validating schedules, etc. — important work that helps our department function smoothly.

It gives students a sense of purpose, letting them know that what we do can truly mean the difference of life and death — that everyone plays a vital role at the academic medical center, whether they see patients or not.

And that’s a responsibility that helps students grow up and mature quickly. You can see the difference from the beginning of the summer to the end of the summer, when they blossom before your eyes.

It’s an enriching program and I would implore any department to take part — you won’t regret it!”

What you need to know

Through the partnership with Ann Arbor Public Schools, each student spends a total of three years in this unique program —with their 2nd and 3rd summers spent as interns in specific departments. Each summer session typically lasts between 6-8 weeks and begins around July 1. It’s up to each department to determine what roles the students play, though they must be supervised by a staff member at all times.

If you are interested in hosting a student, contact Grantham at or by calling 734-936-8710.