Collegiate Students Assist Remote Area Medical Facility
Six Collegiate School rising seniors, accompanied by two faculty chaperones, participated in the Remote Area Medical (RAM) program in Wise County, Virginia, July 21-23.
RAM is a temporary medical facility that provides free services to individuals with no access to medical care. Over three days, doctors, dentists, optometrists, nurses and community volunteers dispensed care to thousands of attendees.
Thomas Rausch, a Collegiate 11th Grader, approached Suzanne Fleming, Collegiate’s Director of Service Learning and Civic Engagement, during the 2016-17 school year and asked if it might be possible to take a group from Collegiate to volunteer at RAM. His parents, both physicians, and his entire family have volunteered there the past two summers.
With support from Thomas, his parents and the School, Middle School math teacher Laurie Goode and Upper School science teacher Dave Privasky accompanied the group, which included Avery Freeman, Liza Miller, Kenya Minor, Duncan Owen, Thomas Rausch and Gabbie Spurlock. The students, working 11-hour days, welcomed patients, escorted them to the correct medical areas, prepared and served refreshments, observed doctors and specialists working with patients and helped with cleanup at the clinic’s conclusion.
“The volunteering experience was physically tiring, but it was a very humbling experience,” Gabbie Spurlock said. “It showed us the disadvantages of [not having]health care and how many people it affects."
Avery Freeman learned about the resilience of the patients she met. "Before I started at RAM, I knew this weekend was going to help people, but seeing the masses of people and hearing stories of how far they'd come to get there is what made the trip a success for me."