Alex Chen, junior Biochemistry major at University of Pennsylvania, has been volunteering with StudentsCare since the start of the 2021-2022 school year. When Alex’s previous hospital volunteer position stopped to do COVID-19, he was excited to find StudentsCare, largely because of the Senior Buddy Program and its ability to cater to a virtual environment. He started off supporting Penn’s Hospital Buddy Program by making worksheets that were given to children at partnering hospitals, as they reminded him of one of his favorite childhood activities: brain teasers. Alex says, “I was hopeful children at the hospitals would enjoy the little brain workout as much as I did.”

Alex is now responsible for running the Senior Buddy Program with our senior partners in Philadelphia. He is working on getting folks back to in-person visits and matching senior buddy pairs. Alex says he’s learned that, “especially during these times, everyone is busy and it might take a while for the program to grow to our goal. But, once it does, our work in setting it all up will be worth far more than the time it took to get there.”

Alex believes there is so much benefit to the work of StudentsCare, both for the seniors and the students. He feels that building these connections will offer a perspective on life that neither party really understood before. Alex ended by saying, “I know that when I finally do get my buddy, it will be an experience that can shape both my senior’s life as well as my own.” Alex plans to go into medicine after graduation. Thank you, Alex, for all your hard work and dedication to StudentsCare!

By: Katie Oleksiak, Program Manager