Yesterday, the staff of the VMC Foundation had the opportunity to take 40 high school students from the San Jose Leadership Academy on a tour through VMC. The group, composed of Juniors from seven San Jose Unified high schools, spend nine months expanding their awareness of the San Jose community, networking with their peers, and inspiring change. We conduct tours each month but rarely with young adults from the community, so this was an exciting day for the staff of the VMC Foundation.
Before touring VMC, the youth from San Jose Leadership Academy had visited the county jail and a homeless shelter downtown, two experiences that opened the eyes of these high school students to a completely new side of San Jose. After observing these county services it was fitting for them to tour our county’s Safety Net Hospital. We were given the chance to show how comprehensive VMC’s system of care really is. The young leaders were able to see our Valley Health Clinic at Bascom, which serves a large portion of San Jose’s homeless population. We were also able to point out that we really do treat everyone regardless of their ability to pay here at VMC, even prisoners from the jail they just visited! Educating the community to the vast array of services that are offered throughout the Health and Hospital System is a critical part of connecting everyone to the mission of VMC.
Touring our hospital for the first time can be an emotional experience. Being exposed to people receiving care during critically important moments in their life can sometimes feel invasive. Seeing pre-mature infants being cared for in our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit is an experience that you will never forget. The students from the San Jose Leadership Academy approached this tour with a mature curiosity that was contagious. In fact, the first question some of the youth asked us (even before the tour started!) was, “how can we sign up to volunteer?” Talk about being impressed!
A big thanks to the San Jose Leadership Academy, to their leader, Rick Holden, and to the VMC Foundation staff for conducting the tours. We can’t wait until next year!
If you are interested in arranging a tour of VMC, please contact Jace Soper at 408-885-5299.
For more information on the San Jose Leadership Academy, go to: http://www.sjleadership.org/sjlc/npo.jsp?pg=about