On a fall day in late October, Diana Oberg, Minnesota School of Business-Elk River’s massage therapy program chair, and Katherine Weyers, medical assistant program chair, accompanied six students to the Project Homeless Connect event at the Elk River YMCA. The event, which was sponsored by the Sherburne County Area United Way, was held for the first time in Elk River for local individuals experiencing homelessness.
The event offered services and resources in housing, health care, free cell phones, county staff, employment support, youth serving agencies, disability services, legal services, mental health services, transportation, veteran services, education and free haircuts.
The students and faculty members were able to provide massages, glucose testing, vital signs checks and blood pressure checks to attendees and other volunteers.
According to Katherine, they were able to help about 20 people who came to their booth.
Even though the event had a low turnout overall, the faculty and students felt that it was a worthwhile and rewarding opportunity.
Katherine shared, “I saw a lot of people taking time out to help people in need. There were a lot of resources available. It was also great to see the attendees getting as much help as they could get to make themselves and their families better. This was also a great networking event for the medical assistant students.”
Diana agreed, saying, “It was great to see a ton of volunteers and vendors. Even though the students didn’t get to work on a lot of people in need, they got to work on a lot of volunteers and vendors so they were able to really apply their learning and get a lot of practice.”
The students and faculty look forward to continuing to give back at future events. For more information about Project Homeless Connect and the various programs that Sherburne County Area United Way supports, click here.