As a Free Clinic of Simi Valley volunteer, Gonzalez has worked in the front office answering phones, inputting patient information in the new electronic health system, and making appointments. She also takes
Ever since preschool, Melissa has wanted to be a doctor and help people. “The Free Clinic gave me a start in understanding the needs in an underserved population and how to best serve those needs,” says Gonzalez. “Being a volunteer has also reassured my desire to pursue an education in the medical field. The hands-on experience that I was able to have at the Clinic would not have been possible, given my age, in any other medical facility. Most importantly, I have seen that treating people with compassion, dignity, and respect is a vital part in their healing process.”
While attending Simi Valley High School, Gonzalez was a member of the Medical Health Careers (MHC) Academy. The Academy is designed to expose students to the many aspects of the growing fields of medicine and healthcare. All members of the Academy are also members of national organization Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA). HOSA is the nationally recognized student organization for health science and technology education.
Melissa’s commitment to service and scholarship doesn’t stop at the Free Clinic of Simi Valley. Every summer for the last four years, she has been a Junior Counselor at Tech Trek, a STEM Program for middle school girls, held at the University of California at San Diego. During her just completed Senior Year at Simi Valley High School, she was President of Simi Valley High School's National Honor Society, and was also the Vice President of Simi Valley High School's California Scholarship Federation.
Gonzalez strongly credits her volunteer activities with the Free Clinic as being critical in helping her gain admission to Georgetown. “I’m immeasurably grateful to Free Clinic Administrator Adriana Parsons and Executive Director Fred Bauermeister in giving me the opportunity to volunteer,” said Gonzalez, “and of course, my mom.” Gonzalez’ mother, Lupita Gonzalez is a member of the Free Clinic’s medical staff. Lupita Gonzalez is demure about her role in her daughter’s success and is also grateful to the Free Clinic for helping her daughter pursue her passion.
Beyond granting training experience to high school students like Gonzalez, the Free Clinic offers several opportunities for training and experience for various professional careers. According to Executive Director Bauermeister, the Free Clinic has offered training for individuals interested in becoming licensed Marriage and Family Therapists, Family Practice Physicians and Ambulatory Care Pharmacists. “We are happy that we can both provide a valuable service to the community and an opportunity to train professionals,” said Bauermeister, “and future professionals like Melissa.”
About The Free Clinic of Simi Valley The Free Clinic of Simi Valley has provided continuous service since its establishment in 1971 as a non-profit, volunteer-based charitable community service organization. The mission of the Free Clinic of Simi Valley is to provide medical care, counseling, dental and legal assistance to individuals and families, regardless of their ability to pay. This includes those of all ages, ethnicities, religions and socioeconomic backgrounds, who are unable to use traditional sources within the community. The Free Clinic of Simi Valley is a GuideStar Gold Exchange participant, a status awarded for exemplary nonprofit transparency, and is also a 2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit according to GreatNonprofits.org, based on multiple 5-Star User Reviews.
For more information, visit: www.FreeClinicSV.com and follow the Free Clinic on Facebook www.Facebook.com/FreeClinicSV and on Twitter www.Twitter.com/FreeClinicSimi