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View from VISTA: Seelypon at Nevada Health Centers

February 4, 2013

Hometown: Henderson, NV by way of Honolulu, HI

What is your favorite aspect about your AmeriCorps VISTA position? I enjoy the ability to work with other community organizations and people in the community. It is wonderful that I get the chance to go into the community and talk to individuals that need the healthcare services that NVHC has to offer or know people that need it. I love seeing the faces of these individuals that get the information. It is interesting to meet the different people of the community I grew up in. I’ve learned so much that I hadn’t before my VISTA term. There is so much of the Las Vegas Valley to explore and know.

Seelypon serves as an AmeriCorps VISTA in Southern Nevada, but she started volunteering years ago.  Her volunteer service even took her to Costa Rica as a college student.

Seelypon serves as an AmeriCorps VISTA in Southern Nevada, but she started volunteering years ago. Her volunteer service even took her to Costa Rica as a college student.

What’s one reason you think people should volunteer with the organization where you’re serving? There is a great need for quality healthcare. In addition, many individuals do not have access to quality healthcare. Health care could be a costly expense for those individuals that do not have insurance or have access to the health care at the start. Nevada Health Centers bridges that gap and volunteers can help bridge that gap. By volunteering for Nevada Health Centers, volunteers have the opportunity to get to know the community they live in while providing information about the health care options that very same community through outreach. In addition, volunteers have the opportunity to be exposed to health care professionals and have a change to network with some of these individuals. In the near future, the volunteers may have the option to volunteer within one of NVHC’s health centers as administrative volunteers.

What project or event are you really looking forward to this year and why? The project I am most looking forward to is the partnership with Clark County School District’s Title I Parent Centers. With this partnership, I am working to create presentation about different health topics that with the help of volunteers, we will present to parents at various Title I Parent Centers. These presentations will provide information to the parents and give them pointers to live a healthy lifestyle. These presentations act as preventative health tips that parents may follow to keep them from going to the emergency room or the urgent care more. If this is occurring, parents and their children will be at work and school more. I feel that this will be a great partnership and give the volunteers an opportunity to be well versed with different health topics.

What is something that you’ve learned about the Las Vegas community since starting your VISTA term? As I grew up in the Las Vegas Valley, I’ve learned so much since starting my VISTA term. There are so many organizations that can provide assistance and resources to those in need. I did not realize the amount of people that did not have health care. I took for granted having insurance as my mother worked in health care; it was never a problem. Many people have multiple part-time jobs, which most of the time barely support their families. With part-time jobs, insurance and benefits are not included. Individuals may be working the same amount of hours of their full-time counterparts; however, they do not get the “perks of the job”. There are so many individuals in the Las Vegas Valley that are in that situation. I’ve seen a larger span of this valley through the different outreach efforts. It was great to get out of my “home bubble”.

What is something you want people who don’t live in Las Vegas to know about this community (cause-related or otherwise)? There is more to Las Vegas than The Strip that many flock to this city for. There is a lot of culture and history with the museums and the revitalization of Downtown Las Vegas. Visit the Neon Museum or the Atomic Testing Museum. Hit up one of the local casinos to get away from all the other tourists. If you’re here around the winter, Ethel M’s Chocolate Factory as a beautifully decorated cactus garden for all to enjoy. For the outdoorsy people, there are many amazing hikes at Red Rock, Lake Mead, or up at Mt. Charleston. There is so much to do for those not into the typical Vegas scene.

What do you wish other people knew about the nonprofit or its cause? Nevada Health Centers does not only cater to the Las Vegas Valley. It actually started in rural Nevada towns then expanded to Carson City and Las Vegas. Firstly, we catered to the geographically isolated then expanded to focus on the underserved, uninsured populations in the urban sites. We want EVERYONE to have quality healthcare. I think this is wonderful! Everyone deserves to have a chance to live life with the best health. NVHC provides that opportunity. In addition, there are actually two administrative offices that work together run the entire organization. Although I am a VISTA in Las Vegas, some of my projects involve all 15 health centers throughout the state! It is amazing how much NVHC covers this state with its amazing programs.

This is the ninth in a series profiling the 15 AmeriCorps VISTAs serving in Southern Nevada during the 2012-13 year.  For more information on AmeriCorps VISTA and national service opportunities in Southern Nevada, click here.

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