Teen volunteer gives a helping hand in care

BY LASHANTE KEYS, Empath Health Community Partnership Specialist

PINELLAS COUNTY –Today’s youth are making an impact at Suncoast Hospice and in our community.

Charron Bright, 17, of St. Petersburg, serves as a shining example of a young man dedicated to uplifting his community as a Suncoast Hospice teen volunteer. He’s one of about 2,000 teen and adult volunteers supporting our greater Empath Health mission of care.

In honor of upcoming National Volunteer Week April 15 to 21, we give special thanks to our volunteers who make a difference each and every day.

Suncoast Hospice Service

Last year, Charron started his junior year at Boca Ciega High School and needed a place to earn his Bright Futures Scholarship service hours. He found a great match with Suncoast Hospice, based on a recommendation from a friend who volunteered for the organization throughout high school.

“I was thinking about volunteering at a church or somewhere else, but hospice seemed a little more interesting. I think hospice is the best fit for me. I’m serving my community. I like the atmosphere. It’s very inviting, encouraging and easy to get involved. Miss Marissa, our volunteer coordinator, is friendly and genuine,” Charron shared.

He assists in the office and with community events, such as the recent Gospel Health Brunch held at our St. Petersburg service center. Spending time supporting patients and families enriches his life.

“I work in the office usually. I do Party Pals visits with the older folks and talk about their life stories, which get video-recorded. It’s very interesting to hear the stories of somebody who’s older than you; that wisdom is invaluable. I’m glad I have a chance to participate,” Charron explained.

Charron BrightFriendship, growth and flexibility

Describing himself as humble and kind, Charron naturally makes a connection with staff, volunteers and the people in care.

“Volunteering has changed my life by helping me to get out there, talk to new people and learn how to always see the best in people. It’s so cool. I network a lot. I’ve gained some friends, mentors and teachers. I’ve found good people that I’m always going to be cool with,” he noted.

Leading a full life of school and extracurricular activities, including five AP classes, boxing, shooting hoops, running track, reading and writing poetry, he appreciates a flexible volunteer schedule.

“If you don’t have a lot of time, they can accommodate any schedule. It’s the easiest way you will get your hours in,” Charron said.

Bright outlook

Medicine, literature, in-state college education and additional volunteer service are Charron’s future interests.

“I applied to FSU (Florida State University), USF (University of South Florida), UF (University of Florida) and Miami University, he listed. “Oh definitely, even after I get my hours I’m still going to volunteer.”

He hopes Suncoast Hospice continues to stay strong in the community for many years to come.

“To me, hospice is a community center. It’s something that kind of holds everything together. It’s a very big part of the neighborhood. Hospice is definitely a good thing. It should continue to be supported by the community.”

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