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AHEC Blog

Americorps Volunteers

Dianne Halbert - Monday, September 12, 2016

As the summer ends and the school year gets underway, AHECSW is sad to say goodbye to Americorps Volunteer, Jeremiah Jurich, who is leaving due to his program term ending.  Jeremiah spent the first portion of the summer assisting with the organization and execution of the CTE summer camps. His time was then allocated towards helping plan the Bright Works Oregon (BWO) classes that are scheduled to begin this Fall at four different chapter sites around Douglas County!

Jeremiah is excited to begin his new job on the Ski Patrol at Lake Tahoe and is also preparing his medical school applications.  On his time in Douglas County, Jeremiah stated, “I have loved getting to know the AHECSW team and getting to explore the beautiful area of southwest Oregon. Roseburg is a wonderful community and I will miss it”.

As AHECSW says goodbye to Jeremiah, they welcome the new 11-month Americorps volunteer, Nalani Wakinekona to their staff. Nalani will be helping with the BWO course for the following year and mentoring students for long-term success.

Nalani is the new AmeriCorps Pre-Health Mentor at AHECSW. She is originally from San Pedro, which is a small port town in Los Angeles County in southern California. Even though many people immediately associate Los Angeles with the city, she has always lived minutes away from the ocean. The relaxed attitude of SoCal is very much a part of much personality, and her memories of swimming, surfing, and camping on the beach are close to her heart.

Growing up her mother always taught her and her sister the importance of education and all the doors that an education could open for them. As a single parent, her mother did everything she could to send them to the best schools possible. Nalani was fortunate enough to be accepted into Stanford University in northern California.  In June of 2016 she graduated from Stanford with a Bachelor's degree in Human Biology with a concentration in Infectious Disease and Global Health Narratives. Her long-term goal is to attend medical school and become a doctor but she has taken a detour.

In college Nalani loved biology and global health courses, but her most meaningful experiences were with different student camps and programs.  She was a residential counselor with the Leland Scholar Program (LSP). LSP is a transition program for low-income and/or first-generation freshmen entering Stanford who want to major in any of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields. As a mentor and a teacher, she taught these students about problem solving, time management, stereotype threat, identity development, and all the student services that are available in college. Basically, she taught them how to survive a prestigious university as a low-income and/or first-generation college student. Allowing these students to see their backgrounds as an advantage rather than a deficit was an incredibly rewarding experience. After working as a mentor for several other organizations, Nalani knew that she had to continue with this type of work. So after she graduated from Stanford she applied and was accepted into the Pre-Health Mentor position with AHECSW through AmeriCorps.

Nalani is excited to be working with AHECSW to strengthen and develop some of their health education programs.  She is most excited to build Bright Works Oregon, which is an after-school program that provides students with the skills, experiences, and opportunities they need to pursue a career in the healthcare industry.  This program introduces students to a wide range of health-related careers, provides hands-on experience with basic medical skills, and connects students to internship/job shadowing/volunteer opportunities offered in Douglas county. Nalani stated, “If a program like BWO was available to me in high school, I would have been the first person to apply.I know that working with AHECSW as an AmeriCorps volunteer will be a challenging journey, but Theodore Roosevelt said that “nothing worth doing is ever easy.”  I couldn’t agree with him more. I’m grateful to all the people who have pushed me to this point and to AHECSW for accepting me into its team. Now it’s my turn to serve the community and help the young people of Douglas County realize their full potential.”

Welcome to the team Nalani!

 


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