Libraries don’t just open up books for young readers. We also open doors on potential futures, new friends, and better ways of living. (And sometimes we even have fun doing it, too.)
For the second year in a row, Medical Explorers, a partnership between the Kansas City Public Library and Truman Medical Centers , is helping Kansas City teens explore careers in medicine and learn how to make healthier choices in their daily lives.
Every Thursday in July, 47 teens from the Southeast, North-East, and L.H. Bluford Branches are coming together to explore careers in medicine by visiting local medical sites and connecting with health educators. Through a series of weekly field trips and two lock-ins, they will not only learn about jobs in medicine, they will also learn how to make healthier choices in their lives (whether it’s diet and nutrition or STDs) and have a blast getting to know other teens from across the city.
“Medical Explorers is unique in that it mixes fun with health and information,” says Mary Thompson, the Library’s Outreach Manager.
On a recent Thursday, the Explorers hit up the Kansas City Fire Department ’s Ambulance Barn, where they climbed into ambulances, tried on gear, and talked with representatives from the fire and medic crews about what paths to take after high school to become first responders.
Next week, the Explorers will learn about more career options when they visit Penn Valley Metropolitan Community College ’s Health and Science program, which includes an entire mock hospital, complete with simulation emergency and operating rooms.
And at the first lock-in, on July 27, the Explorers will spend the evening at Worlds of Fun, then head to the Tony Aguirre Community Center to participate in recreational activities, team challenges, and cooking demonstrations. Early Saturday morning, the Explorers will go on a scavenger hunt to buy a healthy breakfast from the vendors at City Market .
Other destinations include the KC Police crime lab and the Guadalupe Center's Culinary Institute.
After a summer’s worth of programs like these, we’ll be surprised if more than a few of our Medical Explorers don’t one day don a stethoscope and scrubs of their own.
Interested in joining?
To learn more about Medical Explorers and show interest in a summer 2013 edition, visit your local Kansas City Public Library location and talk to the teen librarian.
The Medical Explorers program is supported by a generous donation from Dr. and Mrs. Bipin and Rita Avashia.
About the Author
Jason Harper  is the web content developer and social media manager at the Kansas City Public Library.