Place of Birth: Buffalo, NY
How did you hear about IHC? I first heard about the International Hospital for Children in my Spanish in the Community class at the University of Richmond. A number of my classmates volunteered and had rewarding experiences helping out the families staying in Richmond. I knew that this was something I wanted to get involved with, and when I had sufficient time to dedicate to IHC, applied to volunteer.
How did you imagine your day to day work activities to go? At first, I was unsure of the exact functions of IHC and my knowledge was limited to the We Bring program, which brings children from developing countries in need of surgery to hospitals in Richmond. I had little knowledge of the We Send portion of IHC, which sends teams of doctors to work in the countries partnered with IHC. These mission trips are cost effective ways to reach a large number of children. The more I learned about the four IHC programs, (including We Prevent and We Capacity Build), the more reassured I was that this organization had a clear vision and practical, effective ways to accomplish these goals. I imagined my day to day work activities to cover a wide range of duties: from preparing documents for an incoming family to accompanying families to appointments and other obligations.
What do you hope to learn while interning at IHC? I would really like to learn how an international, nonprofit, humanitarian organization can manage a huge problem like health care in developing countries in a productive way. I also want to learn how I can best help this organization at its difficult and often stressful work.
What are your feelings about your internship at IHC? I feel both apprehensive and prepared for volunteering at IHC. I am apprehensive about my work with the families, due to the sensitive and serious nature of the surgeries taking place. I also feel very prepared given my past experiences working with children (5 to 6 year olds at the YMCA) and I feel confident in being able to create a safe, comfortable environment for the children and their families during their time in Richmond.
What do you expect will be your greatest challenge in interning at IHC? I think the greatest challenge of IHC will be staying positive and upbeat while confronting life-threatening disabilities and diseases in young children. I feel that I am ready to meet these challenges and am highly motivated to make a difference.
In what areas do you expect to excel at IHC? I think I will excel at all of my given responsibilities, but also want to make it my personal mission to raise awareness of the organization and the important role it plays in peoples’ lives.
What made you chose the IHC internship as opposed to other groups? Being an International Studies major with a focus on Latin America, this internship gave me the opportunity to make a valuable contribution to an important organization. I have lived with families in Latin America and felt that these experiences could help with working with the families IHC brings to Richmond. In my research, no other internships offered the ability to make an immediate difference in an established, effective and meaningful organization.