Friday, December 16, 2016

Half Way Home

The semester has come to a close and what a quick one it has been. It is hard to believe that their is only one semester left in the program. We have learned a lot of information this semester that  I will be able to use in my second year of medical school ( as long as I get in.)

Now as far as volunteer hours go, I had some ground to make up as I was running behind and needed at least an additional 16 hours to complete the 30 required. The reason this is so important is that both Louisiana state medical schools offer a sort of "g.p.a forgiveness". If you complete 32 hours of post-bacc coursework they will use that g.p.a in place of your undergraduate one.

Over the course of days I put in 18 hours at the Re-Store warehouse and really began to feel comfortable there. The first day back in November was a little hard for me as it is not like "traditional"volunteering. There is no one really telling you what to do and you are own your own for the most part. You have to learn how to work at the store. You have to learn what needs to be done( taking out, the trash, sweeping, helping customers with question, helping customers load their purchases, helping unload the donations-hard to do when cold and rining, moving the donations onto the floor, general organization, etc.) Once I learned how to work the store I really began to enjoy the independence and made good friends with a core volunteer named Melvin. The first couple of days I followed him around and he became my "trainer" of sorts.

Overall I really enjoyed my time at the Re-Store warehouse and really enjoyed the physical labor aspect of it. I hope to return every now and then just to help out and say hello as I don't know if I will definitely be returning in the spring.  See ya'll in the New Year

December hours: 18
Semester hours: 32

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Beginning of the End

In a blink of an eye the semester will be over and hopefully all the information crammed into my brain over the past four months will stay there. It has been quite an eventful semester and I fully believe that this program will help me on my journey to become a physician. 

Now as volunteer hours go, I finally heard back from Sister Bonnie at the Daughters of Charity but my heart was not in it anymore. I decided to pursue another route and began to volunteer at Habitat for Humanity's ReStore Center. The ReStore center located at 2900 Elysian Fields helps to provide funding for Habitat for Humanity's philanthropic efforts by selling items which have been donated to them. These items range from used stoves, refrigerators, couches and desks to doors, shingles windows. They basically accept anything that can be reused and sold. My duties there includes helping to unload donating goods from the truck, helping customers  load their purchases and general maintenance of the facility. The store manager James is a very friendly guy and the employees appreciate all the help they can get. Habitat is doing a good thing for th community and I am glad that our program has motivated me to get involved in such an effort. 
(They have some good stuff for sale!)
Total November Hours: 7

Total Fall Hours: 14

Monday, October 31, 2016

The Struggle

 Wow. What an obstacle attempting to volunteer as been. I have waited the whole month of October for the sister at Daughters of Charity to process my application and have my background check cleared in order that I may start volunteer orientation. The number of times I have called this place has been ridiculous. Every time I call its a different story. I finally received an email today stating that they have not forgotten about me and that I should be placed into an orientation soon. Too late. I gave up hope on the poor daughters about two weeks ago.After the numerous and varying responses given to me by the Daughters of Charity, I gave up a little hope on volunteering at a clinic and started focus my attempts elsewhere.

The heroin epidemic is running rampant throughout the United States. It has affected me personally as I have a had a good friend die from this epidemic. Therefore I started googling needle exchanges around the New Orleans are and found one that really caught my eye. The name was Trystereo and they identified themselves as a harm reduction group. I attempted to volunteer and as much as I would have liked to, there also seems to be a lot of red tape involved with this organization. I do not have any more time to waste therefore I have had to resort to Habitat for Humanity. I have signed up to volunteer 3 days in November. I will continue on my journey to find a clinic to volunteer at for the upcoming yeat.

Friday, September 30, 2016

This past month brought the first official day of fall and we have finally started to see some cooler weather down here in the dirty south. We are about a month and a half removed from the Louisiana Floods of 2016 and media coverage has gone down dramatically. There is now little to no news coverage and the great flood has been all but forgotten. I admit that even myself began to sort of forget about the catastrophe which rocked our neighbors. The New Orleans Parish Sheriffs Office held a clothes collection for those flood victims in need so my mother and I gathered up two trash bags full of clothes for donation. I went to drop them off at the Sheriff's Office and was told that I was a week too late and they had stopped collecting clothes for the victims. The victims had been all but forgotten

In terms of my volunteer hours, I applied to be a volunteer at the Daughters of Charity. The Daughters of Charity have about 10 low cost clinics located throughout the metro New Orleans Area. However, in my quest to become a volunteer there I have encountered some sticky red tape and is taking quite a while for me to become a volunteer. I hope to be able to start my volunteer work there in early October. So long for now.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

On Monday, August 29th, the city of New Orleans "celebrated" the 11th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. The City has nearly fully recovered from the storm which devastated much of the area. Ironically, about two weeks before the anniversary of Katrina, a natural disaster took place. This time New Orleans was not the victim though. The victims were our neighbors to the west, the citizens living in Baton Rouge and the surrounding area. Dubbed the "Louisiana Flood of 2016" the torrential rain began on August 11th  and flooded the area damaging more than 150,000 homes. They were very few casualties luckily but many of the homeowners whose residences flooded did not have flood insurance. So now it is a waiting game for them as they have to sit tight and hope for money from FEMA and the government so that hey may start to rebuild.

On Saturday, August 27th, my girlfriend drove to Baton Rouge in order to help gut a house that was assigned to us by Nola Tree Project. The homeowner was a single mom and Shreveport native with no family here to support her. Her house received two feet of water so we had to take out four feet of sheetrock and drywall, as well as all of the doors, the kitchen cabinets, and bathroom vanities. Luckily for Nola Tree Project, there were 4 other volunteers that day and were we able to get most of the work done in about 7 hours. Unfortunately she did not have flood insurance but she has decided to rebuild. The Louisiana Floods of 2016 will be forever ingrained in the minds of southeastern Louisiana citizens.