By Lexi Palma
Ananda Brinkmann ’13 received the Volunteer Appreciation Award from the Capital City Rescue Mission for her work at its free clinic in Albany, N.Y. Medical professionals and volunteers like Brinkmann provide basic health care at the clinic to the poor, homeless and uninsured.
The Ulster Park, N.Y., native said she does a little bit of everything for her patients, including intake and vitals, education on chronic diseases, communication with other health care facilities and even clipping toe nails for diabetics who cannot reach their feet. “Most of all, it’s a service of presence, just being able to be there with the guests of the Mission and develop relationships with them,” Brinkmann said.
Brinkmann is the youngest person to receive this award from the Capital City Rescue Mission. “I was caught completely off guard but was extremely honored,” Brinkmann said. “When I was just starting at the clinic I know I had doubts that I would be a good fit for the place since I had never before worked with such a population and in such a setting.”
Brinkmann has volunteered at the clinic since the spring of 2011 and said the staff and patients were gracious and encouraged her to grow into her current role. Brinkmann, who carries a 3.6 grade point average, became involved with the clinic through her work with the Siena College Bonner Service Leaders Program, which is run through AmeriCorps and the Bonner Foundation. She has logged more than 1,500 hours of service at the Capital City Rescue Mission Free Clinic so far and will complete more than 1,800 hours by the time she graduates in May.