By Connor Lynch

Advertising student Kaitlyn Roberts and television graduate Maria Hayes mentor high school students through the FlashForward program. The program takes place at the Ottawa Hospital over 10 weeks.

Two Algonquin students have put together a program pairing college and high school students to create instructional videos for The Ottawa Hospital, as part of a program to improve patient safety.

The 10-week FlashForward program pairs students from five high schools with mentors from the advertising and broadcasting programs at the college to guide them.

It was developed by Kaitlynn Roberts, now a third-year advertising student, and Maria Heyes, a graduate of the broadcasting program, although she continues to run the FlashForward program.

The videos are about a specific aspect of patient safety, anything from proper hand washing to visitor care.

“We understand the topics aren’t the most exciting things in the world, so we encourage them to get creative,” said Heyes. The high school students have regular meetings with the clients for whom they are designing videos.

The planning for the program began in the summer of 2013.

The Ottawa Hospital had a research grant to improve patient safety, and a condition of the grant was that it had to involve youth.

“Basically a com-tech with no teachers, no homework, no tests,” said Roberts.

At the moment, the two are searching for sponsors. A gala is planned for the end of the program in the Algonquin Commons Theatre, and they would like prizes and plaques for the winners.

“We’re really excited and obviously very nervous,” said Roberts.

The program is intended to run for a number of years. Some of the things the students will learn include story boarding, scripting and editing.

“Peers teaching peers is ongoing around the world so we thought we’d give it a go,” said Kevin Holmes, project manager for Community and Health, who first suggested the idea to Roberts and Heyes.