Youngsters Volunteer as Hospital Aides This Summer, 1964

26 05 2010

The following are excerpts from an article appearing in the Oregon Statesman on Sunday July 12, 1964.  The Junior Volunteer Program was started at the Oregon State Hospital as a service program for high-school aged youths.   By 1968, the program had blossomed to include almost 100 students in the Salem area.

Two Junior Volunteer Program participants playing cards with a patient at the OSH, 1964. Oregon Statesman Photo.

By Lewis Arends Jr.
Staff Writer, The Statesman

Instead of picking in the fields or just relaxing this summer, 10 Salem teen-agers are working in a volunteer program at the Oregon State Hospital.  The youths, hospital staff and the patients themselves feel the program is a good thing and is aiding all those concerned. 

The Hospital has had some volunteers during past summers, but this is the first time a group this size has been used.  most of the teen-agers started June 8, with an extensive orientation.  A few joined the program later.  During the orientation, the volunteers were given tours and the goals of the hospital were explained.  They also sat in on staff and patient meetings.

Almost all of them have direct day-by-day contact with patients.  “All the patients act friendly to us, especially the older people,” said Mary Holmes. 

Most of them realized what life was like inside the institution before they went to work there, as several of their parents or acquaintances work at OSH.  One of the volunteers, Ulista Brooks, 14, is a daughter of Hospital Supt. D. K. Brooks.

Most of the teen-agers work in the largest unit in the hospital, the one for Multnomah and Washington counties.

They deal with male and female patients, of ages from 16 to 81.

Several of the girls work with what they call their “crew,” five or six patients whom the girls direct in various jobs around the hospital. 

One of the boys, Robert Bradey, works in the recreation department, at the swimming pool, or playing games with patients at the recreation building.

Debbie and Mike Toobert are helping with a research project.  Debbie assists with typing and a clipping file, and Mike helps with a calculator.

Understanding Problems

The volunteers feel they are learning to understand and deal with persons with mental problems. 

Most of the youths will work until start of the school year, and some have a desire to return next year.

Dr. Brooks noted, “All the kids have a sense of responsibility toward the project, so they must be enjoying it.”

Dr. Theadore Strapans, who has charge of several of the volunteers added, “We were a little reserved at first about the project, but we are very encouraged now.  They are acting very responsible and taking the work seriously.  They impressed me as very mature individuals”

Dr. Joseph Burdic observed, “The program seems to be well accepted by the patients and I think it has been good for the kids.  Things are just more ‘alive’ with them around”

Similar teen-age volunteer programs are established at Salem Memorial Hospital, Salem General Hospital and Fairview Home.

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2 responses

21 06 2010
Judy Wong

Seems so long ago, but really not so long ago. The attitudes and life during the 60’s are one to be cherished in many ways. The memory of peace, love and equal rights. The establishment of family seemed like a rule, not just a way of life. It is something that we can all realize and try to remember every day of our lives.

4 08 2010
Now that’s Entertainment « Oregon State Hospital Museum Project

[…] Junior Volunteers Program started by OSH in the 1960s (to read more about the program check out our past post).  One of the ways in which the high school students volunteered was putting on performances for […]

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