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High school seniors volunteer, discover career goals

Junior Volunteers Felicity Pollard and Zac Dockins check on the Christmas For Kids Sharing Tree at Gritman Medical Center on Dec. 14 in Moscow, Idaho. (Geoff Crimmins / Geoff Crimmins Moscow-Pullman Daily News)
Junior Volunteers Felicity Pollard and Zac Dockins check on the Christmas For Kids Sharing Tree at Gritman Medical Center on Dec. 14 in Moscow, Idaho. (Geoff Crimmins / Geoff Crimmins Moscow-Pullman Daily News)

MOSCOW – It might have been following in family footsteps, or possibly too many binge-watching sessions of “Grey’s Anatomy,” or maybe it was as simple as opening the first door into the rest of their lives without realizing it.

No matter what led high school seniors Zac Dockins and Felicity Pollard to the Gritman Medical Center Junior Volunteers program four years ago, both would say it has changed who they are academically and personally, and maybe even the perception of teenagers in the community.

The more than 20-year-old JV program allows high school students to volunteer at Gritman Medical Center and help with fundraisers around the region.

Pollard, an 18-year-old student at Moscow High School, said she had been interested in going into the medical field following graduation next year for a while.

“Like most high school girls, I watch ‘Grey’s Anatomy,’” she said with a smile.

As a child, Pollard said she had dreamed of becoming an architect, but that somehow morphed into becoming a veterinarian, which eventually turned into becoming a doctor.

“It was the idea of being able to help people and making a difference in the world,” she said.

Even if that difference is so insignificant in the scheme of the whole world, she said, it is something. Joining the JV program was her first chance to peek through the window into that world for real, she said.

Now vice-president of the group, Pollard said her high school career would have been very different because joining helped her come out of her shell, develop leadership skills and connect with her community.

Dockins, Potlatch High School student and also 18, wholeheartedly agrees.

“It would have been way different. I probably wouldn’t be going into the medical field,” he said.

Although Docking has been an official member for only four years, he has been helping around the hospital for the past 17. His mom, Debi Dockins, is the director of the JV program. Now the JV president, Dockins said he has really keyed into what he wants to strive for – becoming a surgeon.

“It may sound weird, but I work in a meat locker,” he said, and moving from working on animals to humans just seemed like the natural progression.

But it isn’t all the glitz and glamour like in “Grey’s Anatomy” – which Dockins admits he is a big fan of himself – that drew him to becoming a surgeon; it is the service to people.

Growing up, Dockins said his mother has always kept him active in volunteering opportunities.

“Being a doctor, that is the easiest way to help people,” he said. “It kind of becomes who you are. It is a part of your personality. You are a volunteer.”

Pollard added she hopes the work she and her fellow JVs do through the program shows the community that teenagers aren’t just self-centered or glued to their cell phones.

“By going around as teenagers asking for donations or putting on fundraisers, it shows we care,” she said. “Just knowing how it feels to help other people helps with everything in life. Knowing what it is like to fully devote yourself to giving.”

Now both are in the process of applying for colleges. Their top choices include some of the best medical school and residency programs in the country in the hopes of someday being able to give back to their communities in the best way they’ve learned.


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