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Volunteerism pays dividends for Sims

Daniel Boone said, "Be sure you're right, then go ahead."

Kelli Sims is following his advice.

For a short while, Kelli thought her future might lie in the field of education. When she realized that she wasn't cut out to be a teacher, she looked at other options.

And, the first place she looked was at the medical field.

"I don't really know why I thought I wanted to be a teacher, because I have always been interested in the medical field," she said. "When I was very young, I really looked up the Sherry Key, who was a nurse. One time I went ran over to her and said, 'I want to be just what you are when I grow up.' And, now I think I really do."

But, making a lifetime commitment is a very important decision for anyone and Kelli didn't want to make a mistake. So, after she completed the fall semester at Troy State, she decided to leave college and take a closer look at her chosen field before making a final decision about her life's work.

Without a degree or any training in the field of medicine, Kelli decided the best way to get a feel for the business was to jump in feet first.

So, she made the big leap - from college to a non-paying, five-day-a-week job.

If Kelli has any qualms about working without a paycheck, it doesn't show.

She is working in radiology at Edge Regional Medical Center as a volunteer and, if she likes working in that field for no pay, then she will know for sure that she's in the right field.

"I think helping people will be rewarding work and I'm interested in radiology and respiratory therapy," Kelli said. "I want to have the chance to work in those areas to see if that is really what I want to do. I don't want to spend time going to college and then graduate and not know what I want to do."

Not many young people would want to devote so many hours to testing the waters.

But, Kelli was not only willing. She was anxious and excited.

"This is my first week and I'm just watching and learning all I can," she said. "So far, I've gotten to observe two ultra sounds and plenty of CTs. I got to sit in on one mammogram. They explain what they are doing and why and it's all very interesting."

Kelli has also gotten to help out at the desk and she has run "a lot of errands."

"And, I love it," she said. "I truly do, maybe more than I thought I would."

After a week of volunteer work, Kelli has decided that her second career choice is now her first choice. Knowing that "for sure" is worth a ton of money to her although it has put none in her pocket.

The experience she will gain, however, will be invaluable.

"I plan to go to Wallace College to become certified and I'm sure I will be better prepared than if I had gone just out of high school or even after fall quarter," she said.

Knowing what she wants to do with her life and knowing that she will be comfortable and happy in her choice, Kelli is looking to the future with enthusiasm and confidence.

And, all because of her volunteer spirit.