Twice a year, Shared Beat volunteers come to Safe Passage from all over the United States, from a wide variety of medical and non-medical backgrounds, and together they carry out a weeklong health clinic that provides necessary and otherwise unavailable medical services to the entire community around the garbage dump. The final week of July was one such Shared Beat week, and what a week it was!

The team of nearly 30 volunteers collaborated with Safe Passage clinic staff to complete physical exams and vision checks for all Safe Passage students, and to distribute anti-parasite medicine, which will protect the students for six months until Shared Beat’s next visit. For two days, Shared Beat opened the clinic doors to the entire community and treated hundreds of patients from Zones 7 and 3. One of Shared Beat’s strengths is their focus on preventive medicine, which ensures that each patient is educated about how best to avoid future health problems or complications while also receiving compassionate, comprehensive medical attention.

The week closed out with a health fair on Friday, where community members could

visit tables with information about first aid, nutrition, and dental health, as well as learn their heights and weights, speak to pediatricians about child health concerns, and consult with physicians about adult health issues. Staff members from La Luna and Social Work were present with information on mental and emotional health, as well as how families could become involved with Safe Passage. A physical therapy station offered useful information about body mechanics, and a children’s play area kept younger health fair visitors entertained with face paint, jump ropes, and other games.

Shared Beat volunteer David Pipes, a certified playground specialist, worked all week with fellow volunteer Chris Carter to carry out a safety update to the playground equipment at the Escuelita. After five years of daily use by nearly one hundred Escuelita students, the playground is back in tip-top shape and safe once again for the children who play there during breaks in the school day.

Shelley Botello, a Shared Beat volunteer who works in Texas as a Forensic Nurse Examiner, gave two presentations to La Luna and the Social Work department about child abuse and sexual abuse. Her thoughtfully prepared speeches were a special contribution to conversations about how best to address those issues in the Safe Passage community, and we are very grateful that she shared her expertise so that we may benefit from her knowledge.

Shared Beat’s visits are significant to Safe Passage not only because of the comprehensive medical services they offer to a community where such services are not generally accessible, but also because of the enthusiasm and energy they bring with them. Thanks to Shared Beat for a wonderful week!

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