April 20, 2021
While Venice Family Clinic is grateful for every single one of our volunteers, this National Volunteer Month we salute those generous people who quickly stepped up to help us vaccinate our patients against COVID-19. From the retired physician administering vaccine doses to the college student wiping down chairs, these volunteers have answered the urgent call to assist us in protecting our patients, who come from communities that have been disproportionately affected by this virus. Below we introduce you to just four of those volunteers:
Originally from El Salvador, Guillermo Sotolongo he knows what it’s like to need help when it comes to health care, especially when English isn’t your first language. That’s why he jumped at the chance to volunteer to help with our COVID-19 vaccine clinics, assisting patients – many of them primarily Spanish-speaking – with filling out their paperwork.
“I’ve wanted to help since the beginning of the pandemic,” said Guillermo, who moved to Los Angeles this past September to attend nursing school at UCLA. “It’s important for everyone to protect themselves by getting vaccinated. There have been so many deaths, especially among elderly people, so the more vaccines people get, the better.”
Guillermo has always felt a calling to work in the medical field, something that was strengthened by his experience taking his grandmother, who has diabetes, to her doctor appointments. Their medical home was a community health center that serves low-income patients, like Venice Family Clinic does.
Guillermo, who has given his time at more than one of our vaccine clinics, plans to volunteer even more in the future. “I want to help others,” he said.
As a registered nurse with an infectious disease specialty, Jane King has been especially attuned to the potential effects of COVID-19.
“I take care of high-risk patients, so it has been important that I don’t get COVID for their sakes,” she said. “I’m fully vaccinated now, and I feel like I have a super power. I can go out again without feeling afraid.”
Jane has volunteered at other clinics and hospitals, too. She “wanted to be a part of the COVID fight,” and her friend, who works at the Clinic’s Rose Avenue location, told her about our need for eligible volunteer vaccinators.
“I live close by – this is my community,” she said. “The vaccine is effective, so I hope everyone will get it so we can go back to some semblance of normal life.”
Chrissie Peter had been trying to find a way to volunteer her time for the COVID-19 vaccination effort for a couple of months, but it wasn’t until her sister passed along the volunteer opportunity from the Clinic that she found it.
“I’m home all the time, and I want to be productive,” said Chrissie, who was disinfecting chairs and helping to monitor patients who had just received their shots for side effects. “COVID vaccination is a big, serious deal. I feel for people who have to wear masks all day so they can work. So I’m super happy to be here at the Clinic to help.”
While she previously had known about the Clinic through philanthropic activities, this was Chrissie’s first time in a hands-on volunteer role.
Dr. Lisa Feintech volunteers where there’s a need. It was her first time as a volunteer vaccinator at Venice Family Clinic, but it wasn’t her first time being a part of the larger COVID-19 vaccination effort: She already had helped at six sites around Los Angeles County.
Dr. Feintech said she wants to be a part of the solution to the problems brought on by the pandemic and to help us reach herd immunity as a society. So when a nurse friend told her that Venice Family Clinic was looking for volunteer vaccinators, Dr. Feintech quickly signed up, especially because our Simms/Mann Health and Wellness Center was close to her home.
“I’ve been incredibly lucky my whole life,” Dr. Feintech said. “It’s great to donate your time, if you can. It’s nice to be part of a team, to be needed. I want to use my skills to make the world better.”