Baptist Medical Center Nassau
"Tipping the Scale" Youth Mentoring
and Summer Employment Program
For two decades, Baptist Health professionals in career fields from health care to facilities management have mentored at-risk teens on a weekly basis and provided paid summer internships.
Faith is a Fernandina Beach High School senior whose dreams now seem achievable, thanks to Baptist Health’s Tipping the Scale youth mentoring and summer employment program. Participating in weekly mentoring sessions and career-readiness training prepared her to work full-time at Baptist Medical Center Nassau. The career fields highlighted in this program include administration, nursing education, infection control, human resources, finance, laboratory, development, plant facilities and pharmacy.
“I never considered health care as a career, but after my experience, I’m thinking about psychology, or even dentistry,” said Faith.
Her mentor at Baptist Nassau, Barbara Gingher, RN, said the experience benefited the hospital as much as it did Faith. “She did a fantastic job, and I enjoyed mentoring Faith more than I ever dreamed I would.”
Tipping the Scale was created by Baptist Health and The Bridge of Northeast Florida, a nonprofit organization that helps at-risk students stay in school through mentoring relationships, job-readiness training and real work experience. The program develops young people’s communication, social and work skills and identifies their future goals.
Over the years, Baptist Health helped the Bridge expand Tipping the Scale to JEA and UF Health, enabling more than 1,700 youth to participate in the nationally recognized program since 1999.
Every student involved with Tipping the Scale has graduated from high school and advanced to college, the military or gainful employment.
“I have truly enjoyed being with Tipping the Scale for the past nine years. The time I’ve spent with my student is as rewarding for me as it is for him. Our personal connection shows that someone does care, and that can make all the difference in a teenager’s life.” – Ed Faucette, Manager, Baptist Health Sleep Disorders Center and Tipping the Scale Mentor
In 2015, Tipping the Scale expanded beyond Duval County for the first time. Faith is a member of the program’s inaugural class at Baptist Nassau, which was launched in partnership with The Boys & Girls Club of Nassau County.
“The Boys & Girls Club needed a program for our Nassau County teens to keep them engaged during high school and prepare them for success after they graduate,” says Bill Gower, Baptist Nassau board member. “And Baptist, being the wonderful community partner it is, stepped right up.”
Gower and his wife Gayle established two endowments with the Baptist Health Foundation to support the salary of a Tipping the Scale coordinator for Baptist Nassau and scholarships for graduating seniors of the program.
Mr. Gower is looking forward to expanding the program’s next class from eight students to 12. “Ninth grade is a pivotal time to reach even more kids through Tipping the Scale,” Mr. Gower said. “I wish I had a program like this when I was kid.”
During the school year, the students receive weekly academic, social and career advice from their Baptist Nassau mentors. Both the teens and their volunteer mentors make a 50-week commitment. In return, Baptist Nassau offers each teen a weekly stipend of $10 and the opportunity to apply for eight weeks of paid summer employment at the 62-bed medical center.
Baptist Nassau, which also offers Nassau County students the opportunity to serve as VolunTEENs at the hospital during the summer months, is a Guardian sponsor of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Nassau County. Guardians pledge to sponsor children at the local Boys & Girls Clubs for a minimum of three years.
“Mentoring provides at-risk youth in our county the opportunity to graduate high school, demonstrate good character and live a healthy lifestyle,” said hospital president and Tipping the Scale mentor Ed Hubel, FACHE.