VISTA Stories 2021-2022

Charlie Revord, Old Irving Park Community Clinic

As my 16 months as a VISTA member with Old Irving Park Community Clinic comes to a close, I’ve had the opportunity to develop the clinic’s digital outreach capabilities, database functionality, and long term technical sustainability goals. The biggest development successes during my service included redesigning the clinic’s website in an accessible web design platform, producing the 2020 annual virtual event in place of the clinic’s traditional yearly gala (due to Covid), setting up the clinic’s graphic design and mass email platforms, and creating approximately 14 hours of training videos. As a VISTA, I was able to use my drive as a self-starter to advance the clinic’s community presence and mission. I’m proud of the healthcare services Old Irving Park Community Clinic provides to underserved residents of Chicago and that I could support them during my AmeriCorps service period. 

Hiba Pediyakkal, The Opioid Project, IAFCC

AmeriCorps VISTA Hiba Pediyakkal at IAFCC completed the first draft of a statewide report detailing the Free and Charitable Clinic (FCC) response to the Opioid Crisis in Illinois. This report includes data related to the Opioid crisis as well as the important role the FCC sector plays in addressing this epidemic. There is very little literature about free clinics and the role they have in the Opioid crisis. This report can be used by clinics across the state as a reference and will hopefully help in creating a coordinated statewide response.

Cate Ettinger, CommunityHealth

VISTA member Cate Ettinger serving as the Education and Engagement Associate at CommunityHealth (CH) in Chicago, Illinois, facilitated the onboarding and training of 12 new volunteer medical interpreters during November. Volunteer medical interpreters provide remote Polish and Spanish interpretation services for CH patients during their appointments, allowing CH to fulfill its guarantee of service provision in English, Spanish, and Polish.

To meet the language needs of patients each month, Cate manages the interpreter program and coordinates interpreter-provider matches; in response to increased interpreter needs, especially Polish interpreting, Cate onboarded 14 new volunteers in the month of November. She guided them through orientation and training and sent accepted volunteers CH’s volunteer application, HIPAA training, and volunteer resources and instructions. She onboarded them to CH’s volunteer management database and guided them through the process of scheduling their shadow shift with an experienced interpreter, after which she promoted them to solo interpreting and welcomed them to the volunteer team. As a result, CH now has 10 new Spanish and 2 new Polish medical interpreters who have already volunteered for 37 hours and contributed a total of $1,006.40 in volunteer time.

Allie Wesel, Will Grundy Medical Clinic

VISTA Allie, who is serving at Will Grundy Medical Clinic, worked with Shawn Marconi, the Executive Director of the Clinic, to develop the annual appeal mailer and giving Tuesday Campaign for the clinic. Campaign materials included a letter with a donation slip and return envelope, a postcard, and various social media postings. These solicitations to donors were used to promote the end of the year giving. The clinic, like a lot of organizations, has experienced financial hardship, so obtaining funds from these mailers and social media campaigns were important. Mailers were sent during the third week of November, and donations began to come in during the final week of the month totaling $845.

Samuel Qian, DuPage Health Coalition

VISTA member Samuel Qian is serving as a Communications and Outreach Coordinator at the DuPage Health Coalition (DHC) in Carol Streams, Illinois. In October he worked on the Community Mask Project. The Community Mask Project is an ongoing project (beginning in August) to provide free masks to families and organizations within the community. While the project was put on hold in September, DHC began advertising again in October. To help with this project, he coordinated efforts between a JOANN’s fabric store and volunteer sewers to produce 500 pediatric face masks. DHC provided free face masks at 6 of its flu shot clinics in October. 

Adelaide Del Angel, Old Irving Park Community Clinic

VISTA member Adelaide Del Angel, serving at the Old Irving Park Community Clinic in Chicago, Illinois worked in conjunction with the executive director and VISTA member Charlie Revord, to produce and publicize the clinic’s first-ever virtual event, which took place on September 26th. Typically, the clinic would hold an in-person event to generate a significant push in donations. Due to Covid-19, however, this was not possible. Instead, they put together a 30-minute video and a silent auction. The event was well-received by clinic supporters and brought in financial contributions to the clinic. 

Adelaide’s role mainly pertained to publicity which meant regularly producing material to publish. This included subtitled video clips from the event prior to its premiere, posts for the clinic’s social media platforms, and sending out emails to current and previous volunteers as well as donors. The increase in publicity raised the people reached through the Facebook page by 647% and overall post engagements by 1633%. At the end of the event and auction, the clinic raised $4,423.