Leaving an abusive relationship is a harsh reality for many women across our region, state and country. Jessie Mcdole’s medical assisting class at Minnesota School of Business-Plymouth aimed to help that transition for a handful of local women.The students in the Patient Care Sciences I class held a successful supply drive for the Home Free shelter at Missions Inc., delivering hundreds of dollars worth of items and spending time with those wives, mothers and children in transition.
Mandi McManus, a medical assistant student in the class, had a difficult time explaining the feelings from the evening.
“Abuse is tough on a child; they don’t know how to feel or how to reach out for help when the situation arises,” McManus said. “Playing with the children, making them laugh and giving them a fun night was a wonderful experience.”
Home Free opened in 1980 and serves more than 500 women and children every year. Volunteers like the Plymouth medical assisting class are vital to the organization, said Missions Inc. Community Outreach Coordinator Kari Hitchcock.
“It’s immense,” Hitchcock said of the volunteer impact. “We couldn’t do the work we do without them. It helps the families and is very vital to the program.”
Home Free provides services ranging from housing, advocacy, childcare, and recreational and educational opportunities. Residents come from all walks of life, and the average stay is 18 to 19 days. Despite dealing with many dangerous situations, the residence is very optimistic, Hitchcock said.
“It’s a very hopeful place,” Hitchcock said. “To see how some of the women come in and how they leave is very inspiring and fulfilling.”
The experience was a new one outside the norm of the classroom lecture and learning, according to Mcdole.
“The medical assisting class really enjoyed visiting Home Free,” Mcdole said. “It’s important that our students experience unique situations and community service opportunities like this. I think they made an impact on the children, which will only help them grow as medical assistants when they finish their schooling.”