My name is Kevin Shanahan and I worked in the Healthy Schools Program of Primeros Pasos for two months. With the Healthy Schools Program, I travelled to schools to give interactive presentations with other volunteers regarding a wide variety of topics – from hygiene and nutrition to climate change and the environment. It was really cool to see kids get excited to participate in activities regarding health – something that’s often neglected in many of their lives. Plus, it was always so fun to stick around for recess and hang out with the kids after presenting to them.
After completing presentations and collecting stool samples from all the kids in the school, we returned with doctors, medical students and a dentist so that these kids could receive a medical and dental consult free of charge. During these mobile clinics, I worked with Dra. Francia, inputting data into REDCap, Primeros Pasos’ electronic medical records system, along with cleaning and preparing dental supplies. Hearing the words of gratitude from the parents and children was always humbling, and it was a consistent reminder of the mission of Primeros Pasos.
When I wasn’t presenting in schools or at a mobile clinic, I was in the Primeros Pasos clinic. I was a volunteer when the clinic transitioned to the REDCap EMR system, so I often worked on that with the other volunteers. Overall, my time at Primeros Pasos was unforgettable. It was a surreal experience to be surrounded by such a unique group of people who all shared a desire to help those who are all too often forgotten in the world of health. I can’t wait for my return trip to Xela to see the advances Primeros Pasos continues to make day in and day out.