Celebrating 5 Years of Teen Mentoring and Summer Employment Partnership Between Baptist Medical Center Nassau and Boys & Girls Clubs of Nassau County
Xanah and Xarah Sproul are recent graduates of Yulee High School. These twins’ aspirations of working in the health and medical fields are now within reach thanks to a partnership between Baptist Health and our local Boys & Girls Clubs of Nassau County (BGCN). Throughout their high school careers, they participated in weekly mentoring sessions and introductions to various aspects of health care while earning a weekly stipend. They also worked at Tipping the Scale (TTS) summer internship jobs at the hospital each summer after turning 16.
“Thanks to the Tipping the Scale opportunity, I have decided to pursue higher education and focus on a pre-med track in Medical Humanities. The experience in this program, the mentors, and the opportunity in general have helped me realize that I want to go to medical school after I receive my bachelor’s degree,” said 2020 graduate and scholarship awardee, Xanah Sproul.
The program was created to help students stay in school through mentoring relationships, job-readiness training, and real work experience. One key aspect is that students get to develop their communication, social, and work skills while helping to identify their future goals.
“I learned about Tipping the Scale through two of my friends who were involved in it already. I thought it would just be fun, but it turned out to be the best decision ever,” said recent scholarship recipient Reggina Alexander.
“This scholarship means my daughter can continue her education without worrying about how she is going to pay for classes and books,” added Reggina’s mother, Carlesa Kirkland-Glover.
Since 2015, the TTS program has had over 25 students involved and has awarded 5 scholarships for those seniors who complete the program and desire to attend college. The program has expanded from supporting 8 students each year to now offering space for 16 with plans for future expansion. Students in TTS begin the program in the 9th grade are also members of BGCN until graduation.
Baptist Nassau and BGCN board member, Bill Gower, was instrumental in bringing this program to the county. He summarized: “Tipping the Scale is a tremendous opportunity where BGCN teens join the program in the 9th grade and attend weekly sessions at Baptist Nassau Medical Center with our facilitator and a designated Baptist employee mentor. The student receives life guidance, experience in the healthcare field, and earns a weekly stipend of $10.00 per session (48 sessions annually). Also, when students turn 16 they can interview for 8-week summer internships at 40 hours per week. These jobs span most facets of the Medical Center operation. When students graduate, they are eligible to apply for the TTS Scholarship. The award covers tuition and books and can be applied to each successful semester until they earn an undergraduate degree at their college of choice.”
Baptist Health Foundation’s generosity provides the funding for the TTS program. Also, they have assisted in procuring employee mentors, providing facilities at Baptist Nassau Medical Center, and gifting a major donation to help start the Scholarship Endowment. Baptist Nassau President Ed Hubel has been very involved and supportive: “Baptist Nassau takes pride in the contributions within our community and partnering with BGCN and TTS. Our mentoring provides the youth of Nassau county an opportunity for success to graduate high school, demonstrate good character, attend college in the future, and live a healthy lifestyle. These young adults will be OUR future leaders, business partners, and mentors”.
BGCN provides support and leadership for teens who demonstrate a desire to join the TTS program. Steve Nadeau, President of Boys & Girls Clubs of Nassau County Foundation, expressed his impressions of the impact TTS is having on local teens: "TTS has significantly benefited the BGCN teen members over the last several years due to the year-round commitment of mentors provided by Baptist Medical Center Nassau. These mentors meet with our teens individually once a week to introduce them to a variety of opportunities for future employment in the healthcare industry and they help our teens prepare for job interviews and other challenging projects throughout the year. In short, the TTS program helps our teen members dream big and prepare for bright futures."
Current 8th and 9th graders who have an interest in the TTS program can find out more by contacting the Miller Freedom Center at 904-261-1075.
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