12 Jun INTRODUCING JUNE’S BUDDY OF THE MONTH: POOJA PATEL
In times like these, we have all had to adapt to the unexpected. Our StudentsCare Buddies have done the same with their volunteer service, serving new populations in new ways. Our Buddy Pooja Patel, from St. Louis University (SLU), has focused her efforts to make sure those that are isolated feel supported and cared for.
“The pandemic has caused many of our buddies to feel isolated,” Pooja explained. “This kind of loneliness can significantly affect patients’ mental health.”
When COVID-19 began, and safety precautions prevented volunteers from visiting their buddies at the hospital, Pooja and the rest of the SLU chapter found new ways to support their patients. The SLU team applied and won the Peace First Rapid Response grant, a competitive mini-grant that provides funds, mentorship, and project support to young adults leading initiatives meant to address the needs created by COVID-19. With the grant funds, Pooja and the SLU chapter plan to send activity kits to pediatric patients and help grow our new senior buddy program in the St. Louis area, providing virtual support to seniors in assisted living facilities/nursing homes.
For Pooja, StudentsCare has been life changing. “This program goes beyond hospital volunteering; it creates connections and memories that we, as StudentsCare Buddies, will forever carry with us.”
As we continue to ride the storms of change, let us not forget that there are avenues we can still utilize to continue to make a difference. Thank you Pooja for your kindness and dedication to those you serve. StudentsCare is so proud, honored, and grateful to have you on our team.