The VOICE of Compassion
From the Farmworker Association of Florida
The Farmworker Association of Florida is holding a Free Clinic on Monday, October 16th from 4 to 9 pm in our Apopka office, located at 1264 Apopka Boulevard in Apopka. This is the second annual event, and has been a team effort carried out between the University of Central Florida and the FWAF. Students from the Colleges of Medicine, Pharmacy, and Nursing have lent a hand to events where members of our community get a chance to look after different aspects of their health in one location and at no cost.
This event additionally allows for UCF students to see a positive impact of their training in a local community not far from their campus bringing them to a setting they may not otherwise encounter. Patients for their part get the chance to get access to care and to interact with a not for profit health operation that has as its ultimate goal their well-being run by energetic young people who want to make a difference in the world. Christina, a student from the College of Medicine expressed the need for patients to come out. “I worked in ob-gyn and I had a really eye-opening experience because I wasn’t aware of the need in the community, and how much it wasn’t being met,” she said during the clinic held in July of last year.
Tomasa, for her part, likewise highlighted the need for events like the Free Clinic as she sat in a chair next to her husband and waited for her name to be called during the event last November. “It’s perfect that you help those of us who really need it. I learned about it because we came to see the person with helps us with our taxes and I received a flyer, otherwise I couldn’t have known about it,” she said. Her husband, Carlos, agrees on the need. “To me it’s perfect to have this done for people of few resources.”
The Free Clinic was also held over the summer. Amid sweltering heat, another man named Carlos waited for someone in the shade outside the office. Like Tomasa, he found out about the clinic when he visited the FWAF to get help filing his tax return. He explains he was the first one there and was seen quickly. “They answered all of my questions and gave me the results I expected.” He comments on the quality of the service he received. “Everybody was very cordial, very attentive,” he says. Omar and Diana arrived a little later, and their wait was longer. That didn’t stop them from being upbeat. Diana smiles and says, “It’s a lovely work being done for the well-being of people,” she says. Her husband nods his head.
In addition to medicine students, the Free Clinic was also attended from UCF students in other areas. Jamie, an international relations student who attended the November 2016 clinic appreciated the chance to interact with other cultures that the clinic gave him. “This is a great opportunity to become more involved in the local community. This area is very diverse and I feel lucky to be able to help.” Christina, majoring in Spanish also understood the reward in volunteering with FWAF. “It’s good to give back to the community,” she said.
Thus, the Free Clinic organized by UCF and FWAF is an opportunity for farmworkers, Apopka residents, FWAF regulars, and students of medicine and other disciplines, to come together, be it as volunteers, patients, activists, or goodwill workers, and realize that we are in fact, part of the same community. Together, they have made this event a success in the past, and with the logistics worked out and the relations being built between the two organizations, are poised to do it again this Monday October 16. Come as patient. Come as somebody’s ride. We hope to see you there.