Thunder Only Happens When Its Raining
The first part of my job is to work as the Volunteer Coordinator for the Volunteer Care Clinic of Utah County.
The VCC was established to provide free quality health care to the low-income uninsured residence of Utah County.
The VCC's mission is supposed to be two fold, not only to provide general health care, but also to educate residents in matters of public health, and eventually in other matters as well.
Which brings me to the second part of my job. I am the Community Education Coordinator, and have been doing research on why people do/don't take educational courses, and the general aims and successes of different programs across the nation, and how that could be implemented here in Utah County Educational Programs.
Now, the second aspect of the Volunteer Care Clinic, to educate the patients there, has become really lax of late. Basically, when I started it wasn't happening. It sort of reminds me of that poem about the ambulance and the fence. Rather than spending money on a fence to keep people from falling off the cliff, we are simply sending an ambulance to pick them up at the bottom. This really seems to be an epidemic in our nation right now. I could write an entire blog post on that, but perhaps another day...
I understand that sometimes, you have to have the ambulance while you're building the fence because, it seems, that for the most part, people don't notice what problems we need to prevent until they have already become problems that need to be repaired. I feel, however, that most of the focus should be going towards building the fence, or, in this case, educating patients on how to live healthier lives, and empower them to get into a position where they don't need the clinic anymore. I think the true mark of success would be if the clinic were no longer necessary. That is why I am setting up an internship with the Public Health Program at BYU, to do what I can to enact positive change in that area.
As I continue to research this issue of education, I become increasingly frustrated. I love being in this position, where I have the capacity to make education more readily available, but it frustrates me how intricate the problem is. Most of what I do is targeted at improving the lives of immigrants in our country, and a great number of those immigrants are illegal.
This goes back to the whole ambulance/fence issue. Now there are tons of illegal immigrants here, and we don't really know what to do about it. Most people in the government have turned to that age old solution of throwing money at the problem, and typically at the wrong things. This makes our government larger, and makes our lives less good. The longer we go without a solution however, the worse the problem gets. In one study I read on immigration, it talked about the fact that most illegal immigrants now have children that are American citizens, it makes it harder to ship an entire family back to wherever one person came from when they have children born and raised here. However, a cycle of poor education is perpetuated, because typically children with parents who are illegal immigrants don't do as well in school, their parents aren't as involved in their education due to cultural barriers, mostly the fact that they don't speak English.
Part of the reason I get so frustrated is because I know there must be a solution out there, but it is very tricky to find it, there are so many implications. There are a few things about life that I have come to understand by living it however, that I think some people have forgotten.
- We are free to make our own choices, but we must learn that we have to live with the consequences.
- Typically, the things we get in life that will bring us the most happiness are not easy to come by.
I can do everything in my power to make people aware of educational opportunities out there. I can also do everything in my power to educate people myself, but in the end it all comes down to choice. Take health issues, it doesn't matter how many times a day you tell a person to eat a healthy balanced diet, perhaps even show them websites like mypyramid.gov, and tell them they need to make physical activity a regular part of their life. If people are not willing to take the steps necessary to enact change in their own life, then it will not happen.
Moreover, our hyper expanded government has fed the idea that people should get what they want when they want it, and that is usually right away. It has also bred the idea that it is our "right" to have the government, or basically other people in general, not only come up with solutions to our problems, but find a way to make other people pay for it. If we truly want to make our lives better, we have to work, and we usually won't see the results instantly. It takes time, that is part of accepting responsibility to enact change in our lives, recognizing that the major improvement we want, such as a better paying job that offers an entire family health insurance, sometimes takes extra work to get there.
At times, my job gets disheartening, but I just try to tell myself that there isn't going to be a massive flood to start all over, so the opportunity to strive to make things better is still possible.