Palmetto High School junior Ariana Ramsundar wants to be a doctor. She is working toward that goal by volunteering at the Palmetto Bay Baptist Hospital Urgent Care Center.
“I do patient paperwork, filing and scanning,” she says.
Ramsundar volunteers two days a week for three hours at a time.
“I love the community feeling there and how the staff treats you,” she says, adding that they treat both the patients and volunteers like family.
Ramsundar has been volunteering at the urgent care center for almost two years and she plans to continue through her senior year. Even with spending so much time volunteering at the urgent care center, she still has time to participate in extracurricular activities at school
“I founded the Panther-to-Panther organization,” she says. “It’s a mentoring program between the upper classman and freshman. We teach study skills and organizational skills, and give test-taking tips.”
The upper classmen fill out applications to become mentors in the program and are asked to list the subject that they do well in and think they could tutor. Ramsundar began shaping the program in November of her sophomore year and it began at the start of the school year.
“So far the matches have worked very well,” she says.
Although some upper classmen discover they can’t commit the time they thought they could and have to drop out, Ramsundar has a back-up ready to take over.
“This is kind of like a pilot program,” she says. “We were trying to find out how to execute it. It was based on my personal experience; my freshman year was kind of a struggle and I didn’t have older siblings, so I had to figure it out for myself.”
Ramsundar approached her counselor and then made a proposal to the activities director. Once she had approval, she developed the applications, which were placed online for interested students to fill out.
“We had about 15 freshman apply and about 40 applicants from upper classmen,” she says. “A lot of people wanted to be mentors, but not many wanted to be mentored.”
The students are free to work out a schedule to meet, but they are required to fill out time and goal sheets Ramsundar will know they are meeting.
“So far a lot of my freshmen say it’s a really good program and it has helped them a lot,” she says. “One of the highlights was when one of my mentors came to me and said, ‘My freshman got a B on the test. We had set a goal of C but the tutoring helped!’”
Ramsundar is on the Student Council Cabinet, a member of the Eight Habits of the Heart club, is an ESAC representative and she is in the Cambridge Capstone Magnet program. She was recently inducted into Mu Alpha Theta.
Ramsundar is on the youth advisory committee for the Education Edge Program. It’s Early Development of Global Education founded by Mercy Hernandez, whose mission is to teach children to care for the environment and social responsibility. A recent program partnered with Payless Shoes to collect shoes to be sent to the needy in Puerto Rico.
Ramsundar also has earned a seconddegree black belt in Tae Kwon Do.
By Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld