FORT SMITH, Ark. (KFSM) — This summer, more than 30 teens are working at Baptist Health's Caring Teen Program.
The program used to be known as Candy Stripers is organized by the volunteer department every summer and allows teens ages 14-18 to help out the departments across the hospital.
14-year-old Sydney Moomey decided this was a great way to spend her summer after seeing just how well her dad was taken care of after a horrible crash that almost took his life.
"I've wanted to go into the medical field because I've seen how the nurses treat my dad and I wanted to treat somebody like that, to where they'll be able to go home and be happy," Sydney Moomey said.
Dash cam video from trooper Roy Moomey's cruiser shows a car driving the wrong way on Interstate-40 near Van Buren. Moomey was trying to block that speeding vehicle from crashing into other cars. In the process, he was hit head-on and had to spend months recovering.
Roy's daughter Sydney was by his side while nurses took care of him.
"At night they would go in and rewrap his feet because he had a few broken feet," Sydney said. "And ever since whenever he got home I would wrap his feet for him every night and whenever he needed something I would go and get it for him because I wanted to be his little nurse at home."
For the last month, Sydney has been working alongside NICU nurses at Baptist Health.
Crystal Lougin, Director of Behavioral Health, works with the teen program and hopes it teaches teens more about hospital careers, not just ones in the medical field.
"There is lots of careers within the hospital that don't deal with medicine directly, so that's a big opportunity I don't think a lot of kids really realize," Lougin said. "Also just a sense of responsibility, a sense of helping out, being involved in the community really opens up doors for them."
Sydney says that's exactly what the program has done for her. She says her dad was really proud of her for wanting to spend the summer helping others.
"Usually every teenager usually just hangs out with their friends or sleeps in, but I wanted to do this because I want to have experience for whenever I do become a pediatrician, a nurse or something in the medical field someday," Sydney said.
It's too late for teens to be a part of the program this summer, but they will take applications for next year starting next February.