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San Francisco YouthWorks (YW) is a unique high school internship program that provides youth with paid work experience to develop their readiness for work and promote interest in public service careers. Over the past 11 years, YW has served over 4,000 youth from every neighborhood in San Francisco.

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Our Findings from the Balboa Teen Health Center

There are plenty of health clinics, but only one in San Francisco that is situated within a high school campus. This place is Balboa Teen Health Center, where we are interns this summer. What is special about this clinic is that it only serves those between the ages of 12-18. From testing for pregnancy and STDs to doing check ups for physicals and therapy, this clinic provides a wide range of services to the youth of this city.

The people who work here are absolutely the sweetest people both of us have encountered. They understand the thought of teens like us, understood what we wanted out of this internship, and tried their best to provide us with the opportunities to gain skills during the summer. The first assignments we were given were the typical work, making charts, folding brochures, putting packets together. Although simple tasks, they were essential in helping the clinic stock up for the busy school year. Later on, we were given the opportunity to help our mentor with his STD presentations, and also currently we are working on a project to help teens to understand how to read prescription bottles.

While we work we learn. For example, there were National Youth Leadership Forum (NYLF) students who came by to understand what happens around the health clinics. As they were put into three stations of activities provided by the staff at the clinic, us interns were also able to join in. At the urine station, we learned what the discoloring of the urinalysis strip meant. At the diabetes station, we learned how to test for diabetes, and what it means to have type 1 or type 2 diabetes. At the hypertension station, we learned how to take high blood pressure manually, using the stethoscope and a rubber cuff, or automatically with an automatic blood pressure monitor. In addition, our mentor assigned each of us a personal project, to show our communication skills by presenting on a topic of our interest to the clinic staff. We are absolutely looking forward to showing them what we have learned about our topic, but also what we have learned about ourselves.

We were able to have work seem more like fun than work itself, because we entered into the department of our interests: medical/health care field. SF Youthworks also let us explore other careers through their exploration events, talking to the professionals and also experiencing what the career holds. We enjoyed this experience, because of the help of our mentors, Kim Tucker and Victor Travis, and also our Employment Coordinator, Linda Rosa. Thank you!!

- Blog written by SF YouthWork interns Vivian Cai and Larrelyn Velasco

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