In her final quarters at Western Washington University, Evelyn Sides continued to pursue an education in public health through a community internship. She found the perfect opportunity with the open and inviting team and residents at Sean Humphrey House.
Over the past four years, Evelyn has been an active member of the Bellingham community with future goals in the non-profit public health sector with a focus in sexually transmitted Infections and reproductive health. The time she spent with the caregivers and residents at Sean Humphrey House fostered her awareness and experience in a complimentary field with a hands-on approach. “It’s all right here, you see the effects of the work you do, the direct impact on the residents,” Evelyn said.
Evelyn recognizes that each resident is very diverse in their needs, health and personalities. “They are here for more than just HIV/AIDS treatment,” she said. The house not only provides medical care and counseling, they provide personal and emotional support in addition to access to community activities.
Throughout her summer internship Evelyn learned what it takes to keep a home like the Sean Humphrey House running. From grant writing, events and outreach, to meal preparation and family style dinners, Evelyn experienced how her work behind the scenes impacted each resident.
“It’s rewarding and exciting to interact and build relationships through volunteering,” Evelyn said. “It doesn’t just feel like a task.” Sean Humphrey House is always seeking volunteers to assist with dinner preparations, help plan events, fundraising, or even gardening. “We just need someone with a green thumb,” she added.
During her time shared with the residents, Evelyn experienced the importance of communication. “You can’t know what a resident needs unless you take the time to listen,” she said. “Just talking with them is important. The residents look forward to building relationships.”
“This house doesn’t define their experience, their diagnosis doesn’t define who they are, this is just the next chapter of their lives,’ Evelyn said. One goal of the Sean Humphrey House is to improve resident health so they can live more independently. “Let them be independent and don’t make assumptions about what they can or can’t do.” she added.
Sean Humphrey House welcomes students from Western Washington University to apply through the schools’ internship program. “This is a unique opportunity you can’t get anywhere else,” said Evelyn.
Please contact the Sean Humphrey House for intern opportunities or to become a volunteer.