National Volunteer Week: Celebrating the Impact of Our Volunteers
Did you know that Howard Brown Health was founded by volunteers? It all started with a coffee pot and determination. In 1974, a group from the Chicago Gay Medical Students Association started what eventually became Howard Brown. Although we now provide care across Chicago, we still rely on the spirit and dedication of our volunteers.
Bruce has been a volunteer since the 1990s. Learn about his experiences volunteering at Howard Brown, and find out if volunteering is right for you!
I learned about Howard Brown Health and volunteering initially through my friend, who was living with AIDS. He was one of their clients, and I struck up a friendship with him. He was experiencing some difficulties and eventually needed someone to be the conservator for his money. In the late 90s/early 2000s, I would take him to appointments to Howard Brown. They always treated him with such dignity. Before he passed away, I was with him for maybe seven years taking him back and forth to appointments. That’s how I first learned about Howard Brown. I looked into volunteering again in 2015, and I thought, “What better place to do it than Howard Brown?”
I started out as a greeter at Howard Brown Health Clark in Rogers Park. Early on I worked with Michelle Evers, and she would find me clients in the hospital who needed support. I would visit different hospitals and talk to people, keeping them company. Providing human connection is the part I like the best. I struck up a friendship with one of her clients, and I’m still in touch with him today. He’s still doing well and thriving in another country.
I love the idea of being a part of something bigger. Howard Brown is a wonderful organization. It’s really grown since I started volunteering.
Now, with the pandemic, I’m working at the Patient Services station. I’m a disciplined person, even with volunteering. I think of it as a job. I love working with DaVon, the Practice Manager at Clark. When the clinic first opened, it was just DaVon, me, a provider, and a pharmacist. Today it’s thriving!
If it’s in your heart to help people, then I recommend volunteering at Howard Brown.
If you have any questions on how to volunteer, get involved and learn more about our volunteer program here!