Fontana freshmen kick off summer with health camp.

DNA extraction - all you need is a little fruit, detergent, a filter and a Ziplock bag!

DNA extraction - all you need is a little fruit, detergent, a filter and a Ziplock bag!

New high school freshman in the Fontana Unified School District received an unique opportunity to "jump start" the upcoming school year by participating in a two-week introduction to health professions. This summer bridge program (aka Health Occupations 101 Camp) ran from June 5 - 16 at Fontana High School.  Motivated in part by the chance to receive five elective high school credits for the program (how awesome is that!), the students responded in earnest with nearly 100 youth showing up on the first day! We soon captured these young hearts and minds with engaging activities, lectures, field trips, and yes, even a littlemorning exercise to get their minds pumping. 

We wanted to highlight a variety of careers, especially some of the lesser known ones amongst students (beyond becoming a doctor or a nurse), so every day of camp focused on a different health profession. We introduced mental health, pharmacy, dentistry, public health, allied health, and medicine, and packed the day with activities. There was never a dull moment as students extracted "DNA", carved teeth, and compounded "medicines". Field trips were arranged at two locations, thanks to our friends at American Medical Response (AMR) in Rancho Cucamonga and Premier Medical Transportation (PMT) in Colton. We also provided all the students soft skills training - imperative to their future success in any profession.

Students learn about compounding medications by creating their very own lip balm. 

Students learn about compounding medications by creating their very own lip balm. 

Marlene Ventura and David Muro from Valley Star Community Services, pop quiz students.

Marlene Ventura and David Muro from Valley Star Community Services, pop quiz students.

Our guest speakers also came from a variety of health-related facilities like Valley Star Community Services, Beaver Medical Group and Loma Linda University's Behavioral Medicine Center. Students also heard from our higher education partners like Chapman University, Western University of Health Sciences, and Loma Linda University's School of Dentistry.  Many were surprised to learn how they can deliver health-relataed services in the armed forces from Aeromedical Technician, Elizabeth Flores from the United States Air Force. 

This camp was the first one of its kind for the Fontana area and we were pleased at the student turnout and their responses to everything they learned. We want to recognize our partners, the Fontana Unified School District for making this summer bridge program possible. Funding was provided by the Career Technical Education Incentive Grant (CTEIG).