In Turn: Ellyse’s OutLook
Editor’s Note: My passion for transplant donor outreach and education was stoked as the first college intern at the Asian American Donor Program (AADP). I am so proud that since 2004 AADP has continued to encourage the next generation of health educators and community advocates, regularly welcoming interns into their fold. We all know that donor recruitment is increasingly becoming a young person’s game. Or at least staying in it requires a strong understanding of youth demographics. For all the established work and experience that veterans may bring to the table, training young people is crucial to rejuvenating the mission of organizations like AADP. In a similar fashion, our contributors across the pond, the ACLT, have devised a brilliant job skills training program for young transplant advocates.
Ellyse Look shares her journey as an AADP intern with us in a series of thoughtful and detailed reflections. It’s a revealing window into the everyday ups and downs and the minutiae of donor recruitment. Her diary is also testament to a truly hands-on experience, and a great example of how AADP empowers their interns with real responsibility and a space to express their views. It’s the new generation’s turn to add their voice to the conversation.
This Sunday we did a drive during the Tzu Chi Medical Outreach Summer Health Fair. It was pretty neat how they divided rooms into different areas: a waiting room, a seminar room, a clinic room, and a dental room. The staff was extremely supportive by setting up our table and directing patients to us. The majority of patients were among the older generation and primarily spoke Chinese. I definitely felt a disadvantage not knowing the language. Thankfully we had several bilingual volunteers helping. I learned that it is very important to understand the language in order to do outreach in these communities. However, another thing I noticed was that the younger generation (our target population) tended to be bilingual and a good amount of them were volunteers who already had some knowledge or background in health. This was a great advantage since most of the people who registered were in this group. In the end, the drive lasted for 7 hours and we averaged 2 registered per hour. Definitely another experience to add to my repertoire working as an intern.
July 14 & 15
This weekend was the San Jose Obon Festival. It also was the first time I ran a drive without an outreach coordinator! I had a few volunteers, but really it was a test if I could handle a drive on my own. The festival made it a very fun event, especially since we had a few young volunteers. At first some of the volunteers were pretty shy when asking people to register, but with more exposure, the volunteers became a lot more confident. The event coordinators were also very supportive of our cause. They let me make a few announcements (something I was extremely nervous about), which caused many people to come to our table. I think the main issue was that people did not know where we were located and what we were doing. Out of curiosity and word from announcements people eventually found us. By the end of each day, the group had a confident outlook on our progress and thought the “volunteering” turned into hanging out with friends while casually talking about marrow donation. I wish we had stayed longer and made announcements more frequently, but the main thing I took away from these drives was to stay determined and encourage others.
Today I did a drive with James [AADP Outreach Coordinator] at the Hayward Kaiser’s Farmers Market. It was a pretty small market, but it had a steady flow of locals, as well as hospital staff. Actually many staff members came straight to our area wanting to register because they knew of someone who needed a marrow transplant. It was a breath of fresh air to hear that they knew about our program, but they also knew all the health requirements and the reasons why they are important in marrow donation. The most unfortunate part was that a good amount of interested individuals did not meet our age and health requirements. Thankfully, they were extremely understanding. Better yet, some of them were so passionate that they took fliers with them back to their department in the hospital. We ended up getting a fair amount of people registered and I was glad to work in a hospital setting. It was great knowing that donors knew exactly what I was doing and why it was important. It made my job much smoother.
Part 2 of In Turn: Ellyse’s OutLook comes out next week!