By Megan Jones Advertising Manager
Q: How did you first get involved with HOPE (Homeless Outreach Partnership Effort)?
I got involved with HOPE through my aunt, Denise Lucas. She is a nurse practitioner who teaches at Duquesne University. I also met many of the members before I joined through my internships in Wheeling.
Q: What advice would you give to one who wants to work with and help the homeless?
The best advice I can give to someone who wants to get involved in helping the homeless is – don’t let anyone convince you that helping the homeless doesn’t make a difference. Every person that we help appreciates the care they receive and every bit of help we provide no matter how large or small, effects everyone we meet in a very large way. If you really want to make a difference in a community, helping those who don’t have immediate access to basic necessities and medical care is the best place to start.
Q: In what ways has this outreach program helped you grow as a person?
The outreach program has helped me better appreciate the things that I take for granted. When you have a headache, you walk to your medicine cabinet and you take aspirin. Many of the people we help don’t have that luxury and being a member of this volunteer organization really makes you understand that many of the items we use on a day to day basis are a luxury and not a necessity. The organization has also helped me learn a vast amount of medical knowledge. working hand in hand with doctors, nurses, and medical students has helped me broaden my understanding of different treatment plans as well as many other things.
Q: How can students on campus help HOPE?
The best way to help the organization is to get involved with it. We always need extra help so nursing students or physician assistant students who wish to volunteer would be greatly appreciated. Social workers accompany us every weeks so social work students who are seeking real world experience would be of great use. Any students with marketing skills to aide with fundraising would be a great addition to our team as well. Lastly, the dental program would be a really fantastic link, so if anyone from the university’s dental clinic would like to get involved, feel free to do so.
Q: What recent accomplishments have you and the HOPE program completed?
Dr. Jim Withers, the pioneer of street medicine, Operation Safety Net and Street Medicine International recently visited our program and gave a lecture in wheeling hospital, generating excitement and interest across all disciplines. We’ve grown from a team of three to a team of thirty in roughly one year and now have medical specialists circulating throughout the program. We have a new logo, mission statement, and goals and have gained donations over the last six months to help fund out mission based on the publicity we have gotten.
I would like to extend a special thanks to Crystal Bauer, Dr. William Mercer, Dr. Thomas Wack, Virginia Schellhammer, Marilyn Thomas, and Lisa Badia for allowing me to join this group. They make all this possible and are truly good people and I’m proud to be part of a group of people who make such a huge difference in our community.