By Nikki Ross Inda - November 04, 2020
In 2019, Haley Thomassy participated in Moffitt Cancer Center’s VolunTeen program. The robust program is designed to expose teens ages 15 to 17 to careers in health care through hands-on volunteer experience.
“I wanted to help others and understand what it’s like to work in a hospital environment,” said Thomassy. “I hope to attend medical school and become an oncologist.”
In her final year at Tampa’s Newsome High School, this standout student serves as vice president of the Key Club, an international service organization for high school students. The club’s goal is to encourage leadership through serving others, and many are sponsored by a local Kiwanis club, a parent organization. In pursuing her passion for medicine, Thomassy wanted to ensure those who work directly with patients feel appreciated during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Over the summer, Thomassy met with Key Club President Erin Matty to discuss volunteer opportunities that would be safe during the pandemic.
“We want our members to not only to give back to the community around them, but also develop leadership skills that will make them successful in the future,” explained Matty.
The young leaders had the support of faculty advisor and honors teacher Jonathan Richman. “Haley and Erin thought it would be a great opportunity to make thank you cards for health care workers, acknowledging their hard work and dedication to helping others during these uncertain times,” he said.
The Newsome Key Club did not waste any time. Students created more than 600 cards and personally delivered them to Moffitt’s frontline nurses and doctors.
“The gesture was heart-warming and I believe it gave us all a nice boost of energy for the day,” said Yasmin Sterling, clinic operations manager of Moffitt’s Genitourinary Oncology Program.
“Random acts of kindness are special for the giver and the recipient. It makes the recipient feel special that someone took the time to express such kindness. You also have that feeling of gratefulness for being recognized, acknowledged and thanked. For the giver, it gives a sense of connection to something larger than oneself.”
It was mission accomplished and one that Newsome High School Key Club students can feel very proud.