SMC Inspires At-Risk Youth

John Garten-Shuman, Vice President of Enrollment and Student Services, has taken a lead in talking with local at-risk teenagers about the importance of going to college after high school graduation.

“I tell [Youth Bridge teenagers] college is not an option for you, it is an absolute must!”

For the past three summers Garten-Shuman and the Community Benefit staff at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center (ABSMC) have been working together in Youth Bridge, a development program that serves more than 400 students around the Bay Area.

Jabari Smith

“The goal is to enable young people to dream beyond their circumstances, and to support them in working towards their goal,” said Deborah Pitts, Alta Bates Summit Medical Center Public Relations Director and founder of Youth Bridge.

Garten-Shuman believes that by supporting and nurturing these teens they can make successful choices after graduation and possibly consider preparing for a job in the health services field.

Three years ago, Jabari Smith, 18, was inspired by John’s presentation to Youth Bridge. Jabari plans to study nursing by completing his prerequisites at Holy Names University before coming to SMC to finish his nursing studies as part of the 2+2 program between the two schools.

“At Youth Bridge, John helped me decide on what steps I would have to go through to become a nurse,” said Jabari. “I like the human anatomy and as a nurse I get to experience that stuff. I like the work environment.”

Garten-Shuman says the five-week program gives teens an up-close look on how science works in the medical field.

Jabari Smith

“One of our most valuable resources, as a community, is the youth.  They have such talents but not enough venues to explore and enhance them.  We need “hands on” experiences to get students into college and hopefully to become health practitioners representing the community in which they serve,” said Garten-Shuman.

Youth Bridge is just one of many community outreach programs that SMC staff and faculty partners with each year. If you are working in a program that connects the College and our students with the health needs of the community, contact one of the OP enews staff.

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Office of the President enews is published by Samuel Merritt College, Office of the President. Stephanie Bangert, Editor. Elizabeth Valente, Associate Director of Publications and Media Relations. Elizabeth Clayton, Publications Assistant. Photography: Checkerbox Photography (graduation), Oakland Metro Chamber of Commerce (East Bay Economic Development).

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