The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship has allowed me to see how imaginative and passionate that students can be, when working with people in need. Their range of projects has included dental health in children with disabilities, community guides for discharged psychiatric patients, nutrition counseling for teen mothers...The list of projects is just remarkable. The Schweitzer fellows also develop leadership, management, and real community engagement skills.
This year, I became affiliated with the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of the Schweitzer Fellowship Program, thanks to the suggestion of a colleague who is a Schweitzer Fellow for Life (he did his Fellowship in Chicago while at Northwestern Univ. med school). I personally met with this year's Fellows (2011-'12) and was blown away by their dedication to purpose, professional excellence, and simple humanitarian drive. Each Fellow had organized a project to improve health outcomes in a specific locale in our community.
Most Fellows have already had life experiences that have propelled them towards sharing their talents and expertise with others. These are unusually sensitive, highly intelligent individuals, who make the time during their intensive professional training to design and implement programs -- for residents in homeless shelters, shut-ins, non-English speaking senior citizens, elementary school kids without access to basic health care, etc etc.
They become Fellows for Life and continue to manifest the humanitarian example set by Dr Albert Schweitzer.. not only at his hospital at Lambarene in Gabon, but throughout the course of his life.
I was a Albert Schweitzer Fellow in 2008-2009 volunteering as part of the Boston Fellows.
The key to the Schweitzer Fellowship's success is organization and a focus of reflection, enabling people to serve in more effective ways. They are a well-run non-profit from the top down and as such, provide a forum for service and learning about that service so that the delivery of programs improves iteratively. Their impact goes beyond the direct service provided—they work to educate a league of Fellows, investing in their future potential to make change.
I am thankful and was honored to have been a part of the Schweitzer Fellowship program.
I have been involved with the Urban Fellowship since the first year and have marveled at the growth of a cadre of caring professionals across a wide group of health related disciplines. The synergistic effect of their collective work and meetings has strengthened their commitment to service for under-served. Every dollar given has been more than well-spent and I fell privileged to share in this wonderful effort to renew and reward service for under-served populations.
As a fellow, my project blossomed due to the structure and goals the program sets out for fellows. I found the camaraderie and companionship of other fellows at my school and in my region to be very motivating – every time we gathered it was like sparks of inspiration, good will, and positive energy filled the air!!!
Being a part of the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship was one of the most meaningful parts of my graduate school career. It brought me the opportunity to not only practice what I was learning in grad school, but the opportunity to reach and out and give back to the community that I was living in. Service has always been an important part of my life, and the goals of the ASF matched not only what I value, but gives students the opportunity to integrate service into their every day life. This organization is not only beneficial to students, but to the entire community in which they work.
I believe in what ASF does. The opportunity was awesome and really unique. It allowed me the opportunity to work with community agencies in the Worcester area, while polishing up skills in public health. By providing agencies with fellows like us, these agencies are able to reach out more to the underserved.
The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship is a fantastic opportunity for graduate students in the health professions in many cities across the U.S. to get out of the class room and get into the communities that they and their patients live, work, and play in. The fellowship provides not only a monetary stipend but also countless hours of support and group meetings to meet other like-minded students in the area and get ideas for improving your project. I would absolutely recommend this program to anyone who is eligible to apply!
The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship is a wonderful organization that harnesses the capabilities of young health care professionals-in-training to exponentially increase the impact to the community. Each fellow conducts a 200-hour service project focusing on improving health in an under-served community over the course of a year. As a 09-10 Boston fellow, I can attest to the ASF's proficiency at developing and supporting future health care leaders. The monthly meetings include training by wonderful mentors on health disparities, cultural competency, health literacy and a host of other relevant topics. Overall, the ASF was a wonderful development experience that I will continue to recommend to young people year after year.
Participating in the fellowship for the 2009-10 year deeply enhanced my skills as a social worker, a participant in the healthcare community, and solidified my commitment to service. I met weekly with two groups of court-involved young men teaching meditation. In the end, I found my students teaching me what they believed meditation to be. Instead of a practice of stillness, they developed a practice of meditation that wasn't about the "ohm" and sitting in the lotus position--but one of valuing time for reflection. We explored different ways to build a space for reflection. Through monthly meetings with my Schweitzer fellows, we learned about health disparities and delivering culturally competent solutions that were built collaboratively with our clients. The monthly speakers were a catalyst for our discussions and growth. The other fellows come from very diverse backgrounds--working towards master's in music, veterinary/medical/psychiatric nursing degrees, dental students, occupational therapists, public health candidates, and so much more. Meeting in fellowship with my colleagues was inspiring when you saw the challenges they came against and the insightful and innovative ways they implemented their projects within communities--and how they figured out how to make them sustainable. I found my project to be so enriching and focusing in my development as a clinical and macro social worker. The guiding mission set forth by Albert Schweitzer for "Reverence for life" through a life of service becomes strong within the fellows in their project year, but for myself, and, as for many fellows, it becomes a way of life.