AGH program helps mold student futures


Photo by Alyse Horn
During 2013, students in the Start On Success and MOVE programs spent 3,343 hours working as an intern or being mentored.

By Alyse Horn

For more than 10 years Allegheny General Hospital has taken Pittsburgh Public School students under its wing through the Start On Success program, and on May 27 the hospital held an end of the year celebration for participants.

Start On Success is an transition program that provides a coordinated, progressive series of activities and experiences over three years of high school to prepare youth with learning disabilities for successful careers, post-secondary education or training.

For 2013, SOS Program Coordinator Ashley McFall said in an email that the students in the program spent a total of 3,343 hours “onsite at AGH either working as an intern or being mentored through the Project MOVE program.”

MOVE stands for Mentoring Opportunities for Vocational Exploration.

The programs targets students their sophomore year of high school who begin taking classes centered on the SOS transition. They then accelerate with the Project MOVE Mentorship junior year and an SOS internship senior year.

On Tuesday at AGH students, instructors and mentors were recognized for their guidance and accomplishments. McFall acknowledged the unique relationship between the students and the hospital and personally thanked AGH Senior Vice President Debra Caplan and Laura Smith, AGH Northside Partnership Director for the Northside Leadership Conference, for all of their help with making the program possible.

Katrina Thompson from Carrick High School, Koren Walker from Perry High School and Dennis Miller from Brashear High School completed the SOS program and spoke during the ceremony and share their experiences with the crowd.

Thompson worked with the dental medicine department and said that she was “welcomed with open arms.”

“I learned so many things and got to work with so many people,” Thompson said. “I felt like I was family.”

McFall said the celebration was a great representation of the partnership that exists between AGH, PPS and the NSLC.

“This long time relationship is built on the dedication that the hospital, administration and staff has to helping students in the Start On Success program,” McFall said. “Through the experiences of their mentorships and internships, students have the ability to explore the field of health care and develop skills that will assist them in becoming successful, contributing members of society upon graduation.”

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