This month we talked with Rocio Lopez Pardo, our 2020 Health Education Volunteer of the Year! Rocio assists our Health Education department as a Diabetes Educator, in addition to volunteering as a Spanish interpreter! Over the past 2.5 years, Rocio has served over 333 hours with CommunityHealth. Read on to learn more about her and her time at CommunityHealth.
In a few sentences, tell us more about yourself and your background!
I was born in Mexico and immigrated to the US with my family when I was 5 yrs old and grew up in Palatine, IL. We then moved back to Mexico when I was 17, so I’ve lived exactly half of my life in each country. I graduated from medical school in Mexico in 2018. I moved back to Chicago that same year after marrying my high school sweetheart. I have been working as a Certified Healthcare Interpreter for the past 3 years.
Is there a specific area of healthcare you are interested in or healthcare experiences you are seeking?
Primary care is where my heart lies, more specifically prevention and health education.
Outside of volunteering with CommunityHealth, how do you like to spend your free time?
I love to practice yoga, baking and cooking. I cook dinner from scratch 5 out of 7 nights a week.
What’s your favorite book or movie?
Becoming by Michelle Obama has been a recent favorite of mine.
What is something that not a lot of people know about you?
I really enjoy dancing! I’m not very good at it, but if I get invited to a party, you’ll find me on the dance floor.
If you could be one animal, what would you be and why?
I would be a bird. I’d love to fly whenever and wherever I wanted and living in a tree must be the best!
What does your ideal vacation look like?
My ideal vacation is spending a really hot day at the beach, swimming in the ocean, eating cold watermelon, walking on the boardwalk or along the beach and getting back to a really freezing cold room.
Why and how did you begin volunteering at CommunityHealth?
I met a medical student at a Medical Organization for Latino Advancement meeting and she spoke great things about volunteering at CommunityHealth. I googled it right away and signed up for the next volunteer orientation.
Do you remember your first day? What surprised you?
I was surprised at how much such a small place offered its patients. Small but mighty.
What has kept you volunteering all this time?
Everybody is so nice and enthusiastic and genuinely happy to be there. I knew from the beginning it was a place I wanted to be at and a community I want to be a part of.
Why is volunteering important to you? What do you get out of it?
I am so thankful for everything that I have in life that I want to make sure that I play a part in ensuring and working towards every single person having the same opportunities for a healthy and happy life that I’ve had.
What advice would you give to a new volunteer at CommunityHealth?
Learn as much as you can from everybody you come into contact with here. There is such a wealth of compassion, teamwork, knowledge, diversity in all the staff, volunteers and patients that there is always a lesson to take home.
Thank you, Rocio, for your many hours of dedicated service to CommunityHealth and our patients! Our team is stronger because of you support.