YSI is thankful for the Jefferson University Medical students who volunteer with us each year. JeffYES is a group who are actively involved with our youth shelter, and come one night per week during the school year to lead activities and play games with the youth. However, this summer two of the volunteers went above and beyond for the agency. Two of our JeffYES volunteers, Jenna Hannon and Gabrielle Perrotti, were selected to be Bridging the Gaps (BTG) interns for YES. BTG is a competitive community based local health initiative that is a rigorous seven week long summer program. BTG matches student interns with 100 nonprofit community partners in Philadelphia, and YES is one of those partners.
Jenna is the President at JeffYES and is pursuing a Masters in Occupational Therapy. Gabrielle is the JeffYES Arts Chair who is in her second year of medical school and on her way to becoming a Pediatrician. This summer as BTG interns Jenna and Gabby spent four full afternoons a week at the shelter where they provided workshops on everything from resume building and life skills, to sex education and how to maintain healthy personal relationships.
Both Jenna and Gabby have a passion for working with young people, and have been involved with youth work for years. When asked why they work with our youth Jenna responded “as an occupational therapist this is a demographic that is often forgotten, and I think people have an idea of what a physical therapist does, but not many people know about occupational therapy. I help people do what they love to do, I enable people in a way that they can pursue their passion. Everyone deserves a chance to benefit from this type of therapy, and unfortunately this population tends to get overlooked.”
Gabby had a similar response. “I love working with kids and I always have; their curiosity, their random acts of kindness, their fascination with certain things. There’s something special about seeing someone have a new experience for the first time. We cooked with the kids the other day, and I don’t think some of them ever had cooked before. Their eyes got really wide and you could tell they were having a blast…that’s a beautiful thing to witness. Plus, working with kids you get to joke around a lot. Adults are too serious man, I’m still a kid at heart and they get that.”
The staff at YES is sad to see them go, but hopefully they’ll be back soon. YSI is incredibly grateful of the work and the generosity these two bright young women have shown the organization. We wish them the best of luck in the future, and hope that they continue to serve the people who need it most.