I am a lifelong resident of NYC, the mother of four children (all living in NYC), the grandmother of some of NY’s littlest residents and a sometime blogger as Urban Granny(www.urbangranny.com). In my daily life I am a management consultant but decided several years ago to do hands on volunteering in this wonderful city. It gives me the opportunity to meet New Yorkers from all the boroughs with varied backgrounds. I always find it interesting, and stimulating. For years I have participated in several of New York Cares volunteer opportunities and recently subscribed to the NYC Service newsletter where I found and participated in several exciting programs including Flu Fighters.
I have worked several Flu Centers giving the seasonal flu shots to adults in upper Manhattan and then decided to volunteer at a POD center giving the vaccine for H1N1 virus at PS 290 on East 82nd street in Manhattan.
When I arrived at the center at around 9 o’clock. I was shocked by the numbers of people in line outside waiting to be processed for the vaccine. It was a horrible rainy day and I thought to myself how was this going to work and be successful?
To my amazement the most enthusiastic and well-organized group of workers met me. They came from a variety of city agencies. They were all professional, knowledgeable and the planning could not have been better.
There were 13 tables set up to give the actual vaccine once other teams accomplished the processing. We worked in groups of doctors, health professionals and people like me that were just regular New Yorkers helping out. My task was to do all the paperwork, help with the replenishment of supplies, empty filled refuse containers, dispensed follow up information and anything else that needed to be done to free up the professionals who were actually administering the vaccine. I ended up chatting up nervous children; even in some cases entertaining anxious kids with my Apple Iphone apps for kids (I keep them for my grandchildren).
My team of a doctor and nurse worked well together and efficiently. We were able to do over 200 vaccinations an hour, I think until shut down at 6pm.
The entire gymnasium worked like a well oiled machine and every New Yorker we serviced that day were uniform in their praise and gratitude to all the workers, the city and the health department.
This was an amazing experience and thoroughly rewarding. I would not hesitate to do it all again. It was wonderful to give back to our city but it gave to me so much more.