ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — Roanoke teenagers provided free checkups to the Roanoke community Saturday morning.

On Nov. 18, the Central Baptist Church hosted the “Young Docs” event where trained teenagers provided basic medical checks for neighborhood residents as part of the mentoring and education program.

Starting in 8th grade, Black and Hispanic youth in the Star City can learn what it takes to enter the medical profession, even visiting Howard University during the summer to hear from current medical students. The free program started in D.C. and pipelines kids to a medical career.

Jhair Metcalf, a Young Doctor taking blood pressure and giving away free food to locals Saturday, says he joined to better himself and the community.

“Do a better thing for myself, for other people, and my family,” he said. “This is my first year, so it’s done a lot for me for real. I learned a lot about the medical [field]. I didn’t know nothing about none of this before I came here.”

He learned about Young Docs through the Melrose Library, where Cheryl Mosley says the group meets every Saturday.

“They do blood pressure, they’re learning how to do that, they’re learning how to suture, they provide CPR demos to the community,” said Mosley. “These young men are able to come into this program, get on a pathway to medicine, and we help guide them all the way from as early as 8th grade to high school graduation and beyond, and if medicine is where they want to go, we are that pathway to help them get there.”

Mosley is the Vice President of community impact at United Way of Roanoke Valley who hosted Saturday’s event alongside the City of Roanoke and the Gun Violence Prevention Commission. It was hosted by LewisGale Medical Center, who brought two residents in to assist the “Young Docs.”

“Try to do something better for yourself, for the community,” said Metcalf. He encourages other Roanoke teens to get involved.

“It feels better than before I was doing this,” he said.

Youth interested in joining Young Docs can learn more at the Melrose Library. You can also visit the Young Doctors Project Roanoke page.

The program is also fundraising and welcomes donations to help afford their training and their summer trip to Howard. You can find out how to donate on the website.