How HOSA Helps to Contribute Solutions to Real World Issues While Connecting Students to The Community They’re Within

Central Kitsap High School’s HOSA Club works to strengthen their outreach to connect with and educate their community.
Ferrah Capas getting blood drawn for CKHS HOSA blood drive
Ferrah Capas getting blood drawn for CKHS HOSA blood drive
Kaela Ysabel Rivera
HOSA’s Connections to Central Kitsap High School and the Kitsap County Community
Requirements for donation blood according to BloodWorks Northwest. (Jacek Rovira)

Students line up outside the auxiliary gym awaiting their scheduled appointments. As they enter the gym, the eager donors receive a quick check up before proceeding with their blood donation. Following their blood being drawn, the students wait in the gym with snacks and water for up to 15 minutes to make sure they won’t have complications before returning to class.

“The Future Health Professionals Club hosts Bloodworks Northwest, so they have a mobile blood collection unit that comes and sets up in facilities and can take up to 40 donors in a day,” said Katie Staker, The HOSA adviser and teacher at Central Kitsap High School. “They bring about six staff members. They work the whole day screening and collecting blood and then that goes into our community not only for emergency use, but also for therapeutic use.”

HOSA’s [Health Occupations Students of America] outreach allows them to usher more support toward meaningful causes. With HOSA doing blood drives at least once a year for only one day, it’s an opportunity for students and HOSA members to directly help their community, keeping them more in touch with the world around them.

“It’s just an opportunity for us to– for HOSA members specifically– to get involved in our community and help with the nation’s blood shortage,” said Nevada Story, the president of the HOSA club. “So, when we did it back in, I think December, we got a bunch of signatures of all these super-duper willing students who learned about our cause and were willing to donate blood to help with [the] shortage in America.”

The blood drives are important in the way they help the community, increasing the blood availability in hospitals so that it is always there for the people who need it. 

“Another thing that HOSA is involved with is Be The Match,” said Story. “It’s kind of similar, as far as the blood drives go, on how we’re taking people in our community who are willing to donate and we’re helping them connect with a company that takes stuff away from your body to give to people in need, but Be The Match does stem cell transfusion and bone marrow transfusions so it’s a little bit more invasive, but they work more towards cancer patients and the blood drive works more towards everyone else.” 

…We got a bunch of signatures of all these super-duper willing students who learned about our cause and were willing to donate blood to help with [the] shortage in America.”

— Nevada Story

With the HOSA club growing in members and opportunities, they plan to broaden their horizon by addressing other health problems beyond peoples’ physical well-being. Their plan is to spread awareness to people who are struggling with mental disorders by planning events that focus on conveying this.

“At the beginning of the year, some people from our district asked if HOSA would be willing to make a mental wellness site for students, since they already have a staff one and they were kind of trying to use it for the students but it wasn’t really working,” said Story. “So they asked HOSA to make it because they wanted something that was authentically for high schoolers.”

The students that make up HOSA help bring new perspectives and ideas to previously unilateral tasks, such as district-created websites without student input.

“I feel with a lot of things, especially when it comes to mental health and trying to make things to help students, it can be really easy to make something that’s just patronizing,” said Story. “…So they came out to us and they were like, hey, as students, we want you to make something that’s specifically for students.”

HOSA isn’t new to mental health advocacy, with numerous projects taking place each year. They want students to have access to resources when they need it so they can know how to take care of themselves during stressful times. 

“In May, [HOSA] does a mental health awareness campaign,” said Staker. “It’s more geared towards mental disorders, and to be aware and empathetic and supportive of people who struggle with real mental disorders, as opposed to January, which is more about everyone needing to take care of themself and…take care of each other and stay well.”

Perseverance Through the Pandemic and the Current Plan of Action
In an Instagram post on the club’s account, members inform students of the mental health related activities they are providing during Mental Health Week. (CKHS HOSA Instagram)

Central Kitsap High School was fortunate enough to be able to foster the beginning of the HOSA club within the high school in 2019. The club meets on Tuesdays in Staker’s room, No. 4002. 

“We’ve been doing blood drives since last year,” said Story. “Especially coming out of COVID, it was kind of hard to organize things like that…because it’s a lot of people in a single area and all these people have to get COVID tested.”

With students’ willingness to give blood to help their community, HOSA is able to bring in more staff from BloodWorks Northwest to allow more people and more time to donate. 

“The first year we had the blood drive, they staffed it with four BloodWorks Northwest staff people, and we could make 30 appointments,” said Staker. “This year, they staffed it with six BloodWorks Northwest staff people, and so we could make 45 appointments. So that’s our hope, I think in the spring has to be able to fill 45-apiece again.” 

The hope is to be able to have as many people as possible donate blood so the impact on the community and their support of public health could be greater.

“I think the blood drive was the first big service project they had this year,” said Staker. “They moved it up in the year so that we could do another one in the spring. And then the other big project they’ve done is mental wellness, the group is really passionate about mental health and awareness and so for January they did an awareness campaign and mental wellness activities during advisory.”  

…How grateful HOSA is that our student body is so responsive and eager to help their community.”

— Katie Staker

In the month of May, HOSA plans to release the mental wellness website they have been working on since the start of the 2023-2024 school year. The club strives to be more well-known within the school community so they can better understand the role HOSA plays and the impact they have. 

“We meet every Tuesday after school for about an hour, and we’re working on trying to be more involved [and] push ourselves out more to the student body,” said Anastasia Rodriguez, HOSA Club Vice President. “I know it hasn’t been the most popular I’ll say, but we’re working with some of our officers as well to promote HOSA.”

In their work to deepen their connections with their community, HOSA has benefited from reciprocated student efforts to engage with and support HOSA’s goals.

“…How grateful HOSA is that our student body is so responsive and eager to help their community,” said Staker. “…Every year that we have done a blood drive we have filled up the slots available and had more people than we can schedule.”


Follow CKHS HOSA here

Beneficial Opportunities of CKHS’ HOSA & Their Striking Individualism
Mya Hagge giving Anastasia Rodriguez an ultrasound of her arm to try and find her vein and artery. (Savannah Sinclair )

The HOSA Club is a space for students who have an interest in careers in medicine to learn about and practice their passion. The organization offers lots of opportunities to go on field trips, as well as learn more about what part of the medical field interests them and to show off skills they have learned within their specific field of competitions. 

“The whole Spokane conference center [is] filled with rooms that each have skill competitions,” said Staker. “So you go into a room, they have a clinical setting setup, and whatever your skill is, they have all the equipment there and then you just run through the skill that you’ve been practicing and you have someone with a rubric who judges that skill.”

Students in HOSA who attend competitions have a unique opportunity to highlight skills and knowledge they’ve learned through their club work, gain program recognition, and connect with other members and industry professionals.

“We compete at SLC [State Leadership Conference] in Spokane once a year, and seeing other people from all over the state of Washington come together for one meaning, to pursue medicine, was really cool,” said Rodriguez. “It was honestly the most exciting thing I’ve ever done. There were many people in one room and everyone had the same goal. I like HOSA and the fact that it lets people actually pursue medicine, if they like it or if they don’t it lets them really look into that.”

There were many people in one room and everyone had the same goal. I like HOSA and the fact that it lets people actually pursue medicine, if they like it or if they don’t it lets them really look into that.”

— Anastasia Rodriguez

HOSA’s primary goal is to help the community, though it also has an impact on the students within the club. Through observing and working closely with medical professionals students can help shape their general understanding of what their future could look like.

“We had a field trip to Peninsula Health Community Service, and then we had opportunities to shadow, [where we’d] watch people who are working [to see] what they do, so there’s like dentistry, there’s pharmacy, there’s clinical, and right now I’m shadowing a pharmacist,” said Kaela Rivera, the secretary of the HOSA club. 

Staker believes CKHS has a very generous student body with the amount of students engaged in helping and spreading the word for the need of blood donations.

“I think our members put in a lot of time and I really appreciate [it],” said Staker as her eyes welled with tears. “But I think the thing I appreciate the most is the way the students get to pursue their passions and just really pour themselves into the things that are important to them and serve others with those strengths that they have, it’s really cool to see and be a part of.”


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