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State Honoree

Erin Carney

Maryland

Erin Carney, 17, of the Institute of Notre Dame in Baltimore, Maryland, has volunteered for the past three years in a unique summer student program offered through the Child Life Department at Johns Hopkins Children's Hospital in Baltimore. An announcement made at her school urging students to volunteer at the hospital motivated Erin to apply for the program, which was more selective and more intense than most hospital volunteering programs. Her summers over the past three years have been spent comforting young patients, keeping them company, playing games with them, and just holding hands. In her third summer, Erin was assigned to the Oncology Unit, where she spent her days attempting to soothe the pain of children suffering from cancer, and their parents. "The children taught me how to focus on the positive aspects of life, rather than to dwell on the negative ones," Erin said. "Through volunteering, I not only had the opportunity to help others, but I also learned more about myself." Erin plans to take her desire to help people, especially children, and apply it toward a career in pediatric nursing.