Crystal Felder, LPN
“It is a passion of mine…to increase health literacy in the community.”
Crystal Felder is a Licensed Practical Nurse who moved to Washington State recently with her husband and two children. Wasting no time getting involved in the community, she responded to our post on volunteermatch.org (a website designed to connect volunteers with agencies in need of their skill sets) to inquire about joining the Neighborhood Clinic Outreach Team.
Our Outreach Team formed this year with the goal of reaching the thousands of uninsured and underinsured individuals in Pierce County. We want to be sure that everyone who needs our services knows about them – and knows where and when to access them! This summer Crystal helped get out the word about Neighborhood Clinic’s history and services at our information booth at numerous community events. “I think that the role of outreach plays a huge part in serving and providing important information to the population about accessible health care within their community, especially if they are not aware of how our U.S health system works,” she says of the need for being out in the community. With her outgoing personality and and healthy sense of humor, she’s able to engage with people who stop by our booth. They always leave knowing something new about our services or about the critical function of free clinics!
Currently an undergraduate student majoring in Health Science with an emphasis in Public Health, and working as an LPN, she says, “I have learned so much about the true meaning of being a Public Health professional.” It’s no surprise to those of us who’ve had the pleasure of getting to know her this year that a passion of hers is to “be aware of all my community’s needs holistically, and to help promote prevention of health disparities and inequalities.” She has done exactly that this year by sharing information about Neighborhood Clinic with people who may need our services, or who have a friend or family member who’s been going without medical attention due to finances.
On her own volunteer experience with Neighborhood Clinic, Crystal says, “Volunteering on the Outreach Team has brought me great joy, new friends, community awareness, and skills that will enhance the way I view and serve the needs of my community. I love the fact that I am able to learn from and engage with the community as well as with other healthcare, non-profit organizations, and social and public service professionals. Through this experience I’ve learned that this is exactly where I want and need to be in my career as a health care professional.”
In addition to information booths at community events such as Ethnic Fest, the Hilltop Street Fair, and Tacoma Farmers Markets, our Outreach Team also goes out to talk to local businesses, many of whom are happy to have Neighborhood Clinic signs posted at their site and to have our flyers available for customers to pick up. What happened the very first day that our very first signs went up? A patient came in to clinic not four hours later, showing us a picture of one of our signs on his cellphone. He informed us that his wife had seen it at the store, texted it to him, and insisted that he come to the clinic that same evening. He’d had a concerning symptom for some time but was unable to access and afford the care that he needed. Because of the Outreach Team’s efforts in getting the word out, this patient received the medical attention and reassurance that he needed – and which he had not known were available until his wife saw our sign!
Crystal and the rest of the Outreach Team provide an invaluable service and we are grateful to them. If you spot our booth at a community event, stop by and chat with some of these amazing volunteers!
Do you have a business or agency that would like to have a Neighborhood Clinic sign and/or flyers on hand? If so, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org . Signs and flyers are currently available in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Russian and Ukrainian, with more languages to come!