Photo caption: The check-in area for community members receiving the COVID-19 vaccine from Mayo Health Clinic.
Covid-19 has affected nearly every facet of daily life. While this pandemic has lasted more than a year now, thanks to the development of vaccines, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. For Emma Ceaglske, a third year transfer student from the University of Wyoming majoring in Biology and minoring in pre-health sciences, this has also proven to be a chance for her to make a difference in her new community.
When Ceaglske first started settling into Eau Claire, she felt the need to immediately start looking for volunteer opportunities. One of the first options that she found was an opportunity with the Mayo Health Clinic helping distribute Covid vaccines.
“I love to volunteer, especially in places where I feel I can make a difference and help people. This project gave me that opportunity,” she said, “ I was especially interested in the part of volunteering at the COVID-19 vaccine clinic because there are many people including myself who are excited for our world to get back to some kind of normalcy, and this is that first step.”
To prepare for her project, Ceaglske had to learn the rules and protocols that are required for volunteers at Mayo Health Clinic as well as some additional more specialized training at the vaccine distribution center.
Ceaglske felt that the most impactful part of her project was being a part of the Covid-19 response and helping end the pandemic.
“The Covid-19 virus has pretty much taken over our world for this past year and has caused a lot of panic and anxiety due to all the unknowns that have come with it, and now having a vaccine has started to change that,” she said, “ While volunteering, I have worked with the older population and it has been very rewarding for me to be able to help and guide them through their vaccine process and well as getting to hear about their concerns and life stories.”
While working in the clinic, Ceaglske discussed seeing the impact getting the vaccine has on people knowing that there is hope after more than a year of despair.
“When people come into the clinic to receive their vaccine, there are many different feelings: stress and anxiety but also excitement. I hope I have been able to help ease the feelings of those with stress and anxiety, even with just a simple smile or nice conversation about their day.”
Moving to a new town is hard, between leaving loved ones and your community behind to having to make new connections and new friends, moving is already difficult, but with a pandemic going on, it makes this transition even more difficult. However, for Ceaglske, she found a way to make a fresh impact in her new community and make new connections. “Being new to Eau Claire, I have been able to learn a lot about this community.” Ceaglske said, “There are so many positive and happy people who all enjoy and value this community very much.” For Ceaglske, this immediate opportunity to fulfill her Service-Learning requirement as well as finding a way to feel a part of her new community has been very rewarding.