Thu, Jul 29, 2004 - Page 4 News List

Young volunteers gather to tell their stories

By Caroline Hong  /  STAFF REPORTER

Winners of the Prudential Spirit of Community Award assemble a wheelchair in Taipei yesterday. The activity was aimed at publicizing wheelchair shortages.

PHOTO: GEORGE TSORNG, TAIPEI TIMES

Current and past winners of the Taiwanese Prudential Spirit of Community Awards joined with the Eden Social Welfare Founda-tion to assemble wheelchairs for the needy yesterday at Taipei's Youth Activity Center.

Over 30 young people attended the foundation's wheelchair assembly workshop with this year's spokesperson to increase public awareness about wheelchair shortages domestically and internationally. This was one of the win-ners' first public appearances.

This year marks the fifth year that the awards have been given. They seek to honor young people from junior high school to college ages for outstanding volunteer service to their communities. Each year, 30 volunteers are recognized and given awards and scholarships.

The winners spoke about their experiences while assembling wheelchairs.

One was Shen Hsin-mao (沈新貿), 18, from Taichung, who has spent his weekends helping in ambulances for the Wu Chi division of the Taichung Metro Harbor Hospital for the past three years.

"I learned the importance of optimism, because life is hard to predict. You never really know what might happen to you," said Shen about his experiences.

As an ambulance volunteer, Shen said he spent six to eight hours a week helping ambulance workers bandage wounds, set fractures and calm patients.

Shen, who just graduated from Ming-dao High School in Taichung, said that his volunteer experiences clearly affected his future aspiration of becoming a nurse.

"Working in the emergency room, I saw a lot of people who were drunk or mentally disabled. Most nurses are female; sometimes it's really hard for them to handle those kinds of patients. I think that it'll be good for me be a nurse to help other nurses take care of those kinds of patients," Shen said. He will enter Taichung's Chung-tai Institute of Health Sciences and Technology's nursing program this fall.

Shen said he made his decision the day he saw a female nurse in the ER threatened and chased down by an angry alcoholic patient after he refused to let her give him an intervenous injection.

"I really enjoy interacting with people. I think that as a doctor, I would have less time to help out and be with the patients. I want to be a nurse, even though the money is less," Shen said.

Shen and his fellow awardees were chosen in March.

To learn more about these awards, see the program's Webpage at (www.soc.org.tw/).

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