After Ellen Mary Piccillo’s experiences on an immersion trip in Honduras, Ellen has committed to serving at United Cerebral Palsy Association of Greater Cleveland with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps.
As I finally reached the peak and was able to wipe my face and set my suitcase down, I saw a line of one hundred people already waiting to see the doctor. While on this immersion trip, I got the chance to view one of the “best” government run clinics in the area. Bloodstained sheets. Unsterile equipment. I was horrified. Mothers carried their young children up the same path that I just took. No water. Some had no shoes. They were prepared to wait all day just to get their children medical care. My immersion trip reaffirmed my passion to fight for injustices within the healthcare systems around the world.
When it came time to choose a placement site, I committed to the United Cerebral Palsy Association of Greater Cleveland (UCP), serving as the Recreation and Wellness Facilitator. In this role, I’ll promote health and all aspects of wellness in patients with physical and mental disabilities. I was drawn to this placement because of my understanding that in America, there is a history of social injustice toward individuals who have disabilities. UCP and its mission works to combat this injustice.
It is often difficult for the patients served by UCP to receive care for all of their physical, mental, and emotional needs, especially if they are from a socioeconomically disadvantaged background. UCP works to offer accessible and affordable holistic care to patients of all backgrounds—one of many reasons why I committed to a year with UCP.
In fact, I signed my program agreement with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, because I’m passionate about contributing to the day-to-day service that alleviates some of the injustices against disabled individuals within the healthcare system. Through this service experience, I hope to learn more about the resources, tools and changes that the healthcare system needs to make. As a Jesuit Volunteer, I also hope to better understand the characteristics within myself that make me a strong and knowledgeable advocate who can fight for all people to have the healthcare that they deserve.
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