Volunteer Spotlight: David Isaacs
Published on in CHOP News
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Published on in CHOP News
David Isaacs joined CHOP in 2019, when he was accepted into the CHOP Research Institute Summer Scholars Program (CRISSP), a competitive internship designed to provide undergraduate students with theoretical knowledge, practical training and critical exposure to pediatric-focused research. In May 2021, he received his Bachelor of Arts in Neuroscience from the University of Pennsylvania and is now a Clinical Research Coordinator in the Neurology department. His focus is Aicardi-Goutières syndrome (AGS) in children, a rare genetic disorder that affects the brain, spinal cord and immune system.
David has been an avid volunteer for many years, donating his time at a local senior assisted living center, tutoring West Philadelphia high school students through the Netter Center for Community Partnerships and is currently a volunteer EMT in Lower Merion Township. Early this year, David began to look for additional volunteer opportunities within CHOP. In March, he learned that CHOP's COVID-19 Vaccine Program was partnering with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH) and various Philadelphia school networks to immunize more than 19,000 personnel at schools and early childhood education/daycare centers across Philadelphia. Clinical and non-clinical CHOP employee volunteers were needed to help with this effort and David signed up as logistical support staff.
After the School Personal Vaccine program ended in the Spring, David began volunteering for community vaccine clinics hosted by CHOP's COVID-19 Vaccine Program in collaboration with local organizations and vaccination programs, providing the Pfizer vaccine at no cost for anyone age 12 or older. As logistical support staff, his role was to greet, direct and guide families through the registration process. Most importantly, he helped create a safe space of inclusion to reach and provide comfort to individuals who were sometimes nervous and hesitant. "It's rewarding making the community I live in safe. I am helping them protect themselves and their loved ones, and I enjoy the small conversations I have with people that come into the clinic. If I can make it easier, I am doing my job," he said.
There are many benefits to volunteering. For example, David enjoys meeting CHOP employees from different departments. "I like talking to other volunteers and learning about their motivations for helping others. We all come together for the same purpose: to help our community. Everyone wants to help in whatever way they can, which is very special," he said.
David encourages other employees to volunteer and to find what works for their schedule by signing up for the listserv, a weekly newsletter sent by the Employee Engagement & Volunteering program featuring a list of upcoming volunteer opportunities for CHOP employees. "I totally understand the hesitation at first. I didn't know how to start. I just knew I wanted to help. If you want to help, CHOP has a way for you to use whatever background and skills you have to do it. I reached out to Community Relations and joined their listserv," he said.
CHOP's COVID-19 Vaccine Program continues to host community vaccine clinics in Philadelphia and surrounding counties. CHOP employee volunteers, such as David, have made a direct impact in our community. To date, employee volunteers have donated their skills and time in over 40 community vaccine clinics. David plans to continue to volunteer. "A major take away from the pandemic is how much we have to help each other," he said.
Thank you, David, for all that you do to help meet the needs of the community.