Emily Crawford, a senior sociology major at Bates College, is the Hillview After School Program student volunteer coordinator. Kids range in age from 5 to 18. Improvising is a must, and so is an upbeat attitude. She credits her parents as volunteering role models.
“(They) do volunteer medical work around the world and have taken me on some pretty amazing trips to a ton of different developing countries,” she said, places like Kenya, Vietnam and Bhutan.
In May she’ll graduate, return to the doctor’s office she’s worked in since she was 13 and, soon after, enter a very similar profession.
Name: Emily Crawford
Lives: From West Newbury, Mass.
Married, relationship, single? In a serious relationship. We actually met in the class that we both started volunteering at Hillview for.
What’s the highlight for you, working with Hillview kids? Since most of them are immigrants, they are unable to get this assistance at home and often do not have the necessary resources that many other students take for granted, the high-tech things such as Internet access, but even the simple things like pencils, construction paper and calculators. What is also special about this program is that having Bates students work with them helps them aspire to greater goals. But at the end of the day, it is the feeling I have when I see the kids running for the building screaming my name and waiting for me to make them cards and help them with their math.
The biggest challenge? Many of these kids struggle with math word problems because they can’t understand the actual math problem through the words because they have not completely learned English yet. We run out of pencils and paper all the time, which can be frustrating for us and the kids. However, this often makes them stronger because they are more likely to appreciate what we do have and focus on how we CAN help them rather than what we can’t.
You’re so close to graduating and being done with school. Why pursue a nurse practitioner’s degree now? I know I don’t want the incredible hectic life of a doctor, long hours and another 8 years of school, but I definitely want to go into medicine because I have grown up with two doctors and have always loved helping people.
Where do you see yourself working? Hopefully a city hospital for the first few years to get some great experiences, but I would like to settle down eventually in a nice New England town with a great hospital where I can work flexible hours and be close to home and my family.
Nursing scrubs: Comfy and practical or could they stand a bit of a design update? One of the things I am looking forward to most! I hate dressing up and wearing stiff clothing so I think they are comfy and practical, and hope they don’t change their minds about scrubs before I get into the workforce.
Pitch you’d make to get everyone out and volunteering: This is your home and it is important to give what you can to your community. Even if it is something as simple as helping rake an elderly woman’s lawn once, to volunteering at the hospital a few times a month, or sharing your expertise with kids at an after-school program twice a week every week, anything that you do is a contribution that counts for someone.