Space Coast Volunteers In Medicine Seek Assistance
By Nealy Kehres // December 1, 2012
Four-Hour Monthly Commitment Required
BREVARD COUNTY • PALM BAY, FLORIDA – Some days it may seem difficult to find compassion in our money-hungry society, but the kindhearted volunteers at Space Coast Volunteers in Medicine remind us about humanity’s considerate nature.
The group is a free, volunteer-staffed clinic that provides primary medical care for people who do not have public or private insurance.
Brenda Craft, SCVIM’s Volunteer Director, has worked at the clinic since April 2011, shortly before it was opened to the public.
“Our mission is to provide free medical, dental and chiropractic care to the uninsured of Brevard County,” said Craft.
For patients to be eligible to receive free services at SCVIM, they must be a resident of Brevard County for at least six months, be between ages 19 and 65, have no health insurance and earn an annual household income at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level.
It focuses mainly, but not exclusively, on caring for patients who have diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
The clinic also treats a variety of other conditions such as asthma, arthritis and depression.
The nonemergency clinic is completely staffed by volunteers and recently, SCVIM has struggled to maintain enough volunteers to care for all its patients.
“We have had an abundance of volunteers to help out in various ways throughout the clinic since we’ve opened … However, many people are here temporarily,” Craft said.
Many people are willing to help, but often they have to leave due to occupational responsibilities or because they do not live in Florida year-round.
Economic conditions in the community contribute to the great number of patients looking to SVCIM for medical care.
With so many patients yet fleeting volunteers, the clinic is searching for medical professionals to serve its mission.
“With such a turnover, we are looking for volunteers, especially nurses. Retired or active nurses are welcome, and varying degrees/licensure can volunteer,” Craft said. “Other open positions are dental hygienists, receptionists and qualifiers.”
Qualifiers meet with potential patients to determine whether they meet the eligibility requirements.
There are many reasons to volunteer at SVCIM and Craft recommends that new graduates volunteer to develop their skills.
Volunteering can also benefit people who are between jobs or unemployed, because it keeps their skills current. Furthermore, it is a way for people to give back to the community.
“We ask that they be able to commit to a minimum of four hours per month,” Craft said, “although we are grateful if they can commit to more.”
For more information, call 321-914-0915 or to sign up to volunteer, visit http://www.spacecoastvolunteersinmedicine.org/ and click “Volunteer Form.”