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December 03. 2012 10:48PM

New Salem Boys, Girls program helps youths explore career paths


Max Puyanic, owner of the Convenient MD urgent care center in Windham, led members of the Boys & Girls Club of Salem on a tour of his new clinic Monday afternoon. The tour marked the beginning of the club's new Career Launch program, which helps local teens explore various college and career paths. (APRIL GUILMET/UNION LEADER CORRESPONDENT)

WINDHAM - For many young adults, deciding their future paths can be a daunting task.

The staff at the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Salem is hoping to make such transitions easier via the new Career Launch program starting this month. The program encourages club members, 12-18, to explore possible interests and careers, assess their skills and prepare themselves for a bright future.

On Monday afternoon, 16 local teens paid a visit to the new urgent care center in Windham, Convenient MD. With the clinic scheduled to open for business later this week, staff members had plenty of time to explain their respective jobs to the curious kids, who had the chance to tour the facilities and ask plenty of questions.

Clinic owner Max Puyanic is hoping this will be the start of a longstanding relationship between the local youth organization and the new medical facility.

"We wanted to show the kids exactly what happens in an urgent care center and what we do -- not only our physicians but also our nurses, our radiologists and the licensed medical assistants who work at the front desk," Puyanic said. "Our team here is pretty exceptional and the kids will find that there are plenty of opportunities to work in the medical field."

Mike Centor, Chief Professional Officer of the local Boys & Girls Club said the timing for Monday's visit was "the perfect opportunity" to get the new program off to a great start.

By next month the Career Launch program will be in full swing with plenty of area business professionals stopping by the club to meet with the kids, he said.

"Of course, we'll also be planning other field trips such as this," Center added.

During their afternoon at Convenient MD, the children spent 90 minutes touring the facility and meeting with a physician, nurse, radiology technician and medical receptionist.

Dr. Jeffrey Collins, one of the clinic's physicians, who previously served as the medical director for Massachusetts General Hospital's urgent care center, shared his own story with a captivated audience. Collins said he had many family members who'd worked in the medical profession, though his original career intentions leaned towards anthropology.

After spending two years studying anthropology in India, Collins said he decided to pursue a dual major in medicine.

"You should study things that you care about," he advised the local teens. "The fun thing about the health profession is that all our jobs are connected. I depend on everyone here when it comes to helping patients."

He admitted that becoming a physician could be a grueling path at times, considering the eight to 15 years spent in college, residencies and fellowships.

Collins encouraged the teens to hold tight to their own dreams.

"I found I was drawn to urgent care because I enjoyed helping give sick people the chance to feel better again," he added.

Showing the children how x-rays are made and read, radiologist Melissa Mavrogeorge noted that it takes much less time to become an x-ray technician.

"Some of the programs take about two years," she told them. Many of the teens were surprised to learn that film is no longer used in the x-ray process, which is done entirely in a digital format these days.

"If you're really into computers and software, this might be a really cool job for you," Mavrogeorge told them.

For more information visit www.salembgc.org.

aguilmet@newstote.com


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