Lowcountry AHEC promotes health careers through carnival

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By Felisha Hodge

The Lowcountry Area Health Education Center (AHEC) hosted a Health Careers Carnival on Thursday, June 16 for the Lowcountry, including the Colleton County community.

The event was designed to inspire approximately 50 eighth-grade students from underserved communities in Charleston, Berkley, Dorchester and Colleton counties. The career carnival included games, lunch, Culley Farms Petting Zoo, and question and answer sessions with 16 health and public safety professionals.

Health professionals from the Colleton Medical Center, the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office and Colleton County Fire-Rescue presented information to inspire students with career options. The professionals talked to the student groups about skill requirements, working conditions and compensation. “Everything that we do is secondary to the call,” Joseph Campbell with Colleton County Fire-Rescue told the students. “I can retire, but why? I love doing what I do.”

Debbie Crosby, a Colleton Medical Center nurse, also shared her love of a health career with students. “This was the best thing that ever happened to me besides my daughter and husband,” said Crosby.

Though the professionals emphasized the pros of a health career, they were also honest about the cons. “Nursing is not glamorous. It will drain you mentally and physically. But every night when you put your head on your pillow, you can know that you made a difference in somebody’s life,” said Crosby.

The information presented by Campbell, Crosby, and all the other health professionals met AHEC’s goal to offer inspiration and career resources to students.

Deshawn Jenkins, a 10th-grader from Hollywood, is one student who was inspired by the professionals at the Health Careers Carnival.

“I just love meeting new people and helping them. I want to go into respiratory therapy,” said Jenkins.

AHEC is an educational center that helps young people like Jenkins to become health career professionals. “A lot of students who want to go into the health field are not sure exactly of what they want to do, then they going to college and waste money because they don’t know what they want to do,” said Jalacy Green, AHEC Health Careers Program Coordinator. “We try to do these nonprofit events so a lot of students can get internships and see what these professionals do on a typical workday. It helps them to for sure know what they want to do.”

AHEC members plan events like the Health Careers Carnival with students’ futures in mind.

“We have a whole program to get kids into health careers,” said Lowcountry AHEC director Diane Mathews. “It’s important for kids in the different counties to know that AHEC is here. That’s why events like this are so important.”

Visit https://lcahec.com to find out more about Lowcountry AHEC’s student programs, internships, graduate medical education, and more!

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