SACRAMENTO -- Students from area middle schools spent Wednesday morning hearing from Shriners graduates about future health careers.
Theresa Bravo and her classmates are packing gift bags for more than 70 students from Fern Bacon, Cal and Stutter middle schools who are exploring opportunities in the health care field.
Since the age of 8, Bravo has wanted to help people. She decided a health care career was meant for her.
"It's beneficial for me because I feel I can help someone that needs help," Bravo said.
Now, a senior at Healthcare Professions High School, Bravo knows exactly what path to take.
"Surgical nurse ... because I feel like the adrenaline when you're doing a surgery and that person is depending on you to get better," Bravo said.
The morning started with students hearing from former patients in the hospital.
Seventeen years ago, Dulce Contreras suffered severe burns in an accident in Mexico. Doctors at Shriners burn unit treated her. Eric Harris uses a wheelchair and is the captain for the Sacramento Rolling Kings.
"The thing I want to express to these young people are the opportunities that Shriners gave me as far as being a part of a community of people with disabilities. It really opened up my eyes," Harris said.
After hearing from the speakers, kids participated in interactive sessions.
Health Workforce Initiative works with hospitals to provide this platform to teach students that health care careers are attainable without having to break the bank.
"Our community college system in the greater Sacramento area, we have 30-plus allied health programs and we can do that in a short period of time -- low debt, high access," Leslie Holt said.
Bravo hopes this event will one day inspire the next surgical assistant.
"What they have in their heart, go for it," Bravo said.