Senior Honored as the New Mexico Jr. Medical Reserve Corps Member of the Year

It all started in Helen's sophomore year when she decided to join Bosque's Medical Reserve Corps' (MRC) recruit program. Helen spent time learning about first aid and first response and became a licensed First Responder in the spring of 2018. She has since spent numerous hours volunteering her services as a Bosque School First Responder and also in the greater community. This month, she was named the New Mexico Jr. Medical Reserve Corps Member of the Year for the passion and compassion she has for patients and quality health care for all people.

Program Manager of MRC, Bobbie MacKenzie, said that the award is designed “to honor volunteers that go above and beyond the call of duty.” She said that Helen’s activity with the homeless shelters made her stand out to the selection committee and led to her being chosen as the sole recipient of the award this year.

“It was very nice to hear people in positions of power say very nice things about me and the work that I’ve been doing,” shared Helen. “It was very cool to be recognized.”

Helen began volunteering at the Westside Housing Center about 20 miles west of Albuquerque in August of 2019. Every Monday afternoon during her senior year, Helen traveled west to shadow the doctors, learn more about the needs of healthcare for the homeless, and provide basic care such as cleaning and wrapping wounds, giving nebulizer treatments, working at the front desk, and doing inventory on medical supplies. This experience, along with the City of Albuquerque's political battles to establish a homeless shelter in Albuquerque that would provide needed resources and housing for homeless in our community, energized Helen to take this subject on for her Senior Thesis project. 

The topic of Helen’s thesis is that “We Are Punishing Those Experiencing Homelessness with Under-Resourced Responses.”  It is an ethnographic analysis of the current response to homelessness in Albuquerque. She has been looking at homelessness and “nimbyism,” a term that stems from the phrase “nimby,” meaning "not in my backyard.”

Helen is planning on taking the Emergency Medical Technician’s course through CNM this summer to become a licensed EMT. She has not yet decided what college she’ll attend, but she is sure that she’ll continue her work wherever she ends up. “It’s something that I’m very, very passionate about,” said Helen. “No matter where I go, public health and vulnerable populations are very important to focus on. The way we treat the poorest members of our society speaks volumes about the values of our community.”