Lenape students distributing books at ACHM Hospital in East Franklin – Tribune-Review

Lenape Technical School students are sharing their love of books with bedridden patients and their families at ACMH Hospital in East Franklin.

About 15 students in the school’s book club, honors English class and health classes will start working with hospital officials to share books with patients and visitors Thursday afternoon, said teacher Ronica Luke.

“The members of our book club love to read, so this is a good way to share their passion to people who need their help,� she said. “Our school is always looking for ways to help our students share their talents and things their passionate about to help the community.�

Tonilynne Stirling, president of the ACMH Auxiliary, said the organization receives book donations from Giant Eagle for its Book Cart program, which gives the hospital new books for its patients to read and take with them.

The grocer donates books to the hospital several times per year, including 120 books for patients recently, Stirling said.

“It’s such a large donation that it really will help to have the students working with us to get them sorted,� Stirling said. “When we told them about this program, they got really excited and just took the ball and really ran with it, which is very heartwarming.�

The first group of students expects to with the hospital’s auxiliary to organize the hospital’s books and place them in various waiting rooms, before offering them to bedridden patients, Luke said.

The students plan to volunteer once a month, through the end of the year, she added.

Ysbella Flores, a 17-year-old senior from Kittanning, said she was excited to be able to volunteer her time on behalf of the book club.

She sees it as a way to share her passion for reading with others who may need an escape from their time in the hospital.

“When someone is in the hospital, it’s usually not a good thing, so picking up a book gives them a way to get away from their problems,� Flores said. “This is going to be such a positive thing for people at the hospital.�

Other student help for ACMH

The book club isn’t the only group of students putting their talents to use at ACMH.

The hospital will be working with student volunteers from Lenape Tech’s Allied Health and Sports Medicine program to help transport patients throughout the building, run errands and sterilize car seats loaned to families.

It will also be working with students from the school’s Natural Resources program to do some landscaping, Stirling said.

Stirling trained about 55 students from Lenape Tech to volunteer at the hospital, teaching them about topics ranging from the HIPAA law to different medical codes, which will bolster its 70-year-old teen volunteer program.

At one point the auxiliary worked with about 200 student volunteers per year, but now they see about 30, she said.

“Kids just have so many activities and other things taking up their time after school now that they aren’t able to volunteer like they used to,� Stirling said. “It’s not always the biggest draw, so adding these kids and striking up a partnership with Lenape Tech is a huge help.�

Brad Pedersen is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-543-1303, ext. 1337, or bpedersen@tribweb.com.