Tiffani Ohmer: learning early about the value of community service.

As a hospital volunteer, Tiffani Ohmer expected to chat with patients. But, the MCC-Blue River student didn’t know life lessons would spring from such informal encounters.

“You wouldn’t think going and putting Band-Aids in someone’s room would have much effect,” Ohmer said. Ohmer volunteers weekly, re-stocking medical supplies in patient rooms at Centerpoint Medical Center in Independence.

Ohmer, who graduates in May with an associate of arts degree, said the Centerpoint volunteer position was a perfect fit, since it falls in the healthcare field. She plans to continue her education at the University of Missouri-Columbia, where she will study diagnostic medical ultrasound.

At 19, Ohmer is, by far, the youngest Centerpoint volunteer, where she serves with more than 200 others, mostly retirees, said Lupe Calderon, another volunteer at the Independence hospital.

“She picked up everything the first day,” Calderon said of Tiffani. “She is a quick learner…and carries on with (patients) like she’s known them forever.”

Tiffani has logged more than 1,900 service hours during the past five years, for which she received a Student Leadership Award from the Missouri Community College Association in 2013. Her resume’ also reflects positions as vice president of the Student Activities Council, public relations chair of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society chapter and president of the Student Ambassadors at MCC-Blue River.

Tiffani chose healthcare because it’s a way to pay back the love and support she’s received in her life, from her parents, brother and at Center Place Restoration School in Independence, where she received her high school diploma in 2012. She described the small, private school as “a family where you know all your classmates—a giant support group.”

Tiffani said she lives by the philosophy: “When someone has been given much, much will be required in return.”