Often, when we think about a community in need, our minds immediately go to a location far away. We jump to thinking about faraway places, like underdeveloped nations, and fail to realize that communities in need are closer than we realize. Having lived in Cincinnati for my entire life, I was completely ignorant to the fact that there are people without resources to things as fundamental as healthcare in my own backyard.
When I first heard about Crossroad through a friend of mine who was a VIP at the time, I was intrigued. Healthcare is something that I was passionate and wanted a future career in, but I never even considered the lack there of for so many individuals, especially so close to home. After learning more about the program and the work that I would be doing as a volunteer intern, I was hooked in and knew that it was something that I wanted to be a part of.
Since joining the VIP program, I can say that I am tremendously grateful for the opportunities that I have had thus far. Being able to work as a VIP gives me the unique chance to serve as a bridge between the patients here at Crossroad and the healthcare that they need and deserve. What I value the most about this experience is that it reinforces the idea that serving a community is something that is done in solidarity with the community and not for the community.
For many volunteer opportunities, the work is centered around “helping” a group of people. In my mind, this idea is problematic because it implies that those who are helping are better than those being helped. Here at Crossroad, this idea of simply “helping” the community is not present. Instead, we are all working towards the same goal of adequate resources and healthcare for all, regardless of external factors that often get in the way. This mission is something that I strongly stand by and I’m thankful to work with an organization that promotes it.
I believe that because of my experience here at Crossroad, my future in healthcare will be shaped by a different perspective that I had the chance to acquire during my time here.
-- Azl Saeed