Michelle Schlaubitz Garcia is the Wellness Coordinator at Family Care Heath Center in St. Louis MO. Family Care Health Centers is dedicated to providing comprehensive primary health care services to the residents of St. Louis. With two state-of-the-art facilities in the metropolitan area, Family Care also works to improve the overall health of the communities it serves by reducing barriers to health care. (From the website: http://www.fchcstl.org)
What have you been doing at your placement?
As the “Wellness Coordinator” at Family Care, I do a lot of different things. One of my biggest tasks has been keeping patient medical records up to date with their immunizations and other screening tests they might need. I am the Spanish PI (primary investigator) for a Washington University research study about different contraceptive methods available to women. I work closely with the pediatricians to give fluoride treatments to children when they come in for their checkups. I am also planning a health fair for children for December. Additional tasks include changing the bulletin boards in the waiting room areas every month, sending out monthly newsletters, translating for Spanish-speaking patients, and helping out around the clinic wherever I am needed.
What is one thing you love about community living?
I enjoy having the opportunity to get to know my housemates better, especially because we have made a commitment to have dinner together as many times as possible throughout the week. I truly value being able to come home to two people who I know will be willing to share about their day and at the same time wanting to know how my day went. They have been really supportive especially on difficult days when I need to rant. It’s also nice not having to cook everyday and getting to try foods you normally wouldn’t eat ;)
What has been one surprise, challenge or learning this year?
One surprising challenge I have needed to work on this year has been being flexible, working with my housemates and coordinating our schedules as best as possible. We all have different hours at work, and because two of us carpool to work I have needed to be more understanding of my housemate’s schedule and slightly adjust mine to fit hers better. I am still struggling with this challenge but it has definitely been a good learning experience so far.
What do you value about your relationship with the Loretto Community?
I value getting to know so many wonderful people who are very open to sharing their life stories with you, to laughing at the brunch table on Sundays and asking about your week, to sitting quietly over a puzzle, to welcoming you into their homes with open arms. On multiple occasions I have been shocked by their generosity, their willingness to get to know me and help in any way possible, and the love they share for one another, for the community, and to the volunteers
.What advice do you have for someone considering doing a year of service?
Go with your gut feeling. I applied to several programs and at the end I was deciding between my top two options. Even though everything I knew and heard about Loretto felt just right for me from the very beginning, I held on to the other program for a while because it was somewhere I have always wanted to live. In the end, after much discerning and discussing with other people, I decided to pay attention to where I thought I fit in better rather than the location of the program, and I couldn’t be happier I chose Loretto!
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