This week we continue our Where are They Now? stories of our former teen volunteers. This next story spotlights a recent teen alumnus whose heart, life and career path were shaped by her rewarding service.
Here’s a look into the life of Anna Stamas, then and now:
- Graduated from Palm Harbor University High School in 2012.
- Volunteered with Cheer Team, Party Pals, Crafts and Suncoast Hospice Resale Shoppe.
- Special volunteer memories – I have so many beautiful memories from my Suncoast Hospice volunteering that I could talk for hours. I absolutely loved everything I was involved in and working with other teen and adult volunteers, teen volunteer coordinators and, most importantly, patients and their families. I developed quite a few bonds with the patients I visited on a weekly basis. I looked forward to spending time with them, listening to their stories and absorbing their immense wisdom.
- After high school – I’m in my third year as an undergraduate student at University of Florida (UF). I’m majoring in exercise physiology on a pre-med track. My primary job is being a student, getting good grades and staying involved, however, to make some money and have fun I work as a competitive sports supervisor and do other jobs with UF’s recreational sports department.
- Volunteer experience influence – Suncoast inspired me to pursue a career in medicine. I fell in love with patient care. It introduced me to the types of environments I’ll be working in as a doctor. There’s no doubt that my service gave me experience that I wouldn’t be able to gain anywhere else. Being a high school student, I was honored and lucky to have that opportunity to gain invaluable communication and cooperation skills, as well as the ability and strength to handle a variety of mentally, emotionally and ethically-challenging situations.
- Current volunteer service – I volunteer for Shands Hospital/UF Health. So far there I’ve volunteered in the radiology department, Florida Surgical Center and pediatrics department. I volunteer as a research assistant in a UF research group that investigates spinal cord injuries, respiratory rehabilitation and neuroplasticity. I also mentor at-risk middle school students in the Alachua County School District as a volunteer with UF Center for Leadership and Service. I feel giving back to the community and/or to society is an inalienable duty that everyone should make a priority in their lives. I couldn’t imagine a life without volunteering.
- Additional thoughts – I owe Suncoast a huge thanks for helping shape me into the person I am today. It helped instill within me the enormous passion for helping others. I truly hope other teen volunteers get even more out of this amazing program than the immense amount I got from it. I wouldn’t trade my Suncoast experiences for the world. I hope to give back to hospices, patients and families through my profession in the near future.
HTV Fun Fact
*Anna and her triplet siblings, Peter and Marina, were all teen volunteers.