I have had many roles at the Clinic including patient, volunteer, and now I am on staff. The Clinic is a very important part of my life: the Clinic saved my life! I came to the US in 1999 with my husband. He was a telecommunications engineer, but in the poor economy his hours were decreased substantially. I was babysitting as well, making a low weekly salary, but we were still unable to afford health insurance for me. We kept insurance for my kids and my husband, but we decided to drop the insurance for me, because I had always been very healthy. Only 3 months later, while I was accompanying a friend who was an AFC patient to the Clinic, staff asked me if I had insurance. I was healthy, but they insisted I enroll because even though I was well, I needed an annual check-up. My first experience with the Clinic was taking a breast self-exam class. I discovered a lump and the Clinic responded immediately: it was cancer. I was 39 years old at the time.
My first thoughts were: no health insurance, no money in my bank account, and three little kids between 4- and 10-years-old. I was in shock. I just felt guilty for the entire situation, and I had no way of looking up. But from that first moment on, AFC coordinated all of my care: from my initial biopsy, to all of my appointments with oncologists & specialists, all of the medications I needed, surgery, chemo & radiation, and even for reconstruction. In addition to all of the professional services the Clinic provided, above all the Clinic gave me hope. Every time a test came back, the nurses managing my care gave me reasons for hope – I never felt that I was alone. The Clinic supported and encouraged my husband as well, because when you are sick it not only affects you, but those you love.
Today, I am cancer-free and grateful; the dictionary’s definition of “thank you” is far too small for what I feel. The Clinic gave me the opportunity to see my kids grow up into teenagers – one of my kids is in college today, and the younger ones will follow close behind! My kids saw everything that the Clinic did for their mom while she was sick, and watching this taught them about the way they should treat people: be open to helping others because you never know when you’ll need help during a period in your life, like I did.
As a way of giving back to the Clinic, I offered to volunteer. I volunteered for many years teaching the breast self-exam class in English and Spanish. I also counseled newly diagnosed breast cancer patients in an effort to help them through this difficult process. Now, I’m working and I have my own health insurance. Thank you Arlington Free Clinic: without you, I wouldn’t be able to tell this story.
My wife and I earmark a significant portion of our support each year for organizations that address needs in our local community and we are quite selective in identifying organizations that we can be sure devote a large portion of what they receive directly to program services. We are extremely impressed with the Clinic in this respect. Clinic directors are always more than happy to show us how our support is put to use. The commitment of the staff and volunteers to providing health services to those in need of those services is evident. For many of us, it is easy to take access to basic health care for granted and, thus, much of what the Clinic does can fall under the radar. It should not, because -- directly or indirectly -- all of us in the community benefit from the excellent services that the Clinic provides.
Both my mother, Aicha and I are patients at the Clinic. My mother had a heart problem that needed surgery, and the Clinic coordinated with the hospital to help her get the proceedure. I want to thank the doctors at the Clinic and the hospital for all of their help. I am thankful that the Clinic is here in my neighborhood for the people that need it.
I've been a volunteer nurse at the Arlington Free Clinic since 1995. It's been one of the best experiences I've ever had. It's almost counter-intuitive -- who would think that an organization that relies so heavily on volunteers would be able to meet the healthcare needs of so many individuals in such a high quality manner? Yet that's exactly what happens. The backbone paid staff provide the support needed to provide high-quality medical care, and the volunteers provide the bulk of services. It works exceptionally well. Everyone -- volunteers, paid staff, patients and their families -- treat one another with genuine respect. It's community-based collaboration, and it never ceases to inspire me. I'm so proud to have been able to be a part of the organization for so many years.
I am a physician and have been a volunteer at the Arlington Free Clinic for several years now. It has been a truly great pleasure and privilege to become a part of this incredible group of dedicated volunteers, dedicated to the delivery of comprehensive and compassionate medical care to our clients. It is simply a labor of love to join these many professional and non-professional volunteers in our shared commitment to our patients. The program is so highly regarded in our community that I see our local hospitals and social agencies and community physicians generously participating in the delivery of health care to our AFC patients. And it is striking to realize each day as I depart the clinic after my volunteer activities, that I feel richer and nurtured by sharing this experience with the other members of the AFC staff and community.
I volunteered to serve on the Arlington Free Clinic's (AFC) Finance Committee with the intend of working with the Clinic for a year or two. Now, ten years later, I am a member of its Board of Directors and remain on its Finance Committee. I have continued my association with AFC because it is a superbly managed nonprofit that provides top quality medical care to low-income, uninsured Arlington County adults. What makes the Clinic so special is that it multiples its contributions and grants by approximately a factor of five through a large cadre of over 500 medical professionals and business community volunteers who are effectively utilized and always appreciated. It has a small dedicated full-time staff that does an outstanding job of managing the Clinic's resources (people, finances, facilities and supplies). There exists an exceptional spirit of team work that I have not experienced at this level in private industry, government service or with other charitable organizations. Commitment, dedication and recognition of the importance of the services it provides motivates the team and greatly benefits the Clinic's approximately 1,700 patients. It is richly deserving of being a top-rated non-profit, and has received outstanding achievement awards and competitive grants yearly. AFC is awarded top marks by Charity Navigator.
The Arlington Free Clinic is a superb organization, providing excellent care to uninsured low income patients with lots of health problems. Without exception, everyone a patient encounters is caring and competent. I make return appointments and referrals for testing or for appointments with other doctors. The staff is always willing to try to make sure all patients get what they need--even when physicians' schedules are full or other assistance must be found to provide expensive tests. There is no waste in the budget. For example, instead of purchased note pads, staff and volunteers use cut-up scrap paper for writing internal notes. I am confident every dollar I donate is used well.
I have been a physician volunteer for the Arlington Free Clinic for 17 years. Working at the clinic, I have met the extraordinary people. First of all, the staff is first rate and the clinic runs better than many doctors' offices. It is a warm palce to work, where you get the support you need. The patient population is tremendously diversed, and in these times of need you meet people of all ethnic backgrounds and intellectual abilities. From musicians, cleaning crew, painters, a pilot, I have seen it all. It is wonderfully rewarding to be involved with this organization.
As a Board Member of the Arlington Free Clinic, I have been constantly impressed with the commitment of the staff in providing quality care to their patients. As a hospital employee that makes referrals to the Clinic, I can attest to their responsiveness and their follow-up with the many patients we send to them. Many of these patients have complex medical problems and they receive care comparable to the care they'd receive with the best medical practitioners in the area. Many community physicians volunteer at the Clinic. The nursing staff are superior and the many volunteers make the Clinic feel "homey" and comfortable for patients. I am very proud to be a part of this fine organization.
I am privileged to be both a volunteer and donor at The Arlington Free Clinic. Despite a busy schedule, I have volunteered for over ten years because the clinic is an exceptional service provider possessing the highest level of medical expertise, service orientation, business efficiency and staff and volunteers that are unsurpassed in their commitment to patients. The staff and volunteers are creative and dedicated to ongoing improvement of the clinic's services and that is reflected in its ability to win competitive grants from funding organizations and community partners. AFC is truly a dynamic organization with a strategic vision and short and long term plans to achieve lofty goals Volunteering at the clinic is one of the most rewarding things I am privileged to do and I know firsthand that other volunteers share that sentiment!
The Arlington Free Clinic is a stellar organization. I have volunteered there for almost 10 years. It is a place where everybody is treated with respect, first and foremost. Doctors love it because they can spend whatever time they need with their patients without any pressure to move on to the next one. Patients love it because they have no other place to go for topnotch medical care provided by both generalists and specialists. They can also get vaccinations, mental health care and referals to local hospitals, eye doctors, etc. And I love, as well as my wife, because it gives us a chance to interpret for doctors and patients and thus help people in need get better, Fernando van Reigersberg
I have been a volunteer at the clinic for over 12 years now and I just love my volunteer days at the clinic. The patients are universally grateful for the care they receive and I feel good about contributing my skills to do preventative care and diagnose worrisome conditions. I am never restricted in the time I spend with patients so I can take the time to know them as individuals and understand their concerns. I have never once had a volunteer day at the clinic that I was not thanked for coming at least once by a patient and also a staff member. It is an honor to volunteer with such a great organization.
I've been volunteering with Arlington Free Clinic for eight and a half year now and have loved it from the start. The patients are great to work with and are appreciative of the care they receive. The staff are dedicated to their work and work hard to make sure that patients get treated for their chronic disease As a volunteer I can attest that the Free Clinic has had a major role in my life. Seeing how much the nurses and volunteer physicians care for their patients has inspires me to pursue a career in healthcare.
Review from Guidestar
I joined the Free Clinic as a patient at the mid of 2000 and from a check up of my health they found that I had a bladder cancer. I had a surgery and received all services from Free Clinic. It saved my life and I am very grateful for ever with Arlington Free Clinic
Review from Guidestar
I volunteered at the AFC for 3 years while I was in college. It was the most rewarding experience of my life. My experience there helped me to decide to go into public health. The AFC is a special place that Arlington County is lucky to have. The staff and volunteers work together well to coordinate care for the AFC patients.
Review from Guidestar
I have known about the good work of the Arlington Free Clinic for many years and have been pleased to support the organization as a donor. My schedule changed this year and I having more time to volunteer, I did not hesitate to contact AFC to get more involved. I am an RN, and although I was not available during the clinic times, I have found meaningful work supporting the nurses and assisting them in clinic preparation. The staff is very welcoming and all take the time to make sure the volunteers are interested in and comfortable with the assignments. It is a honor to be affiliated with a non-profit that is making such a significant difference in the people that they serve.
Review from Guidestar
For the past 8 years I have been volunteering at Arlington Free Clinic (AFC) which offers state-of-the-art healthcare to Arlingtonians who do not qualify for Medicaid and cannot afford health insurance. The evening clinics are staffed with volunteers and run by clinic staff. Everyone has a different background but we all have a common thread. We are there to help others in need. This is the most gratifying position I have held as a nurse and nurse practitioner. The patients are SO grateful and appreciative of the care they get. The AFC staff are all angels and go beyond the call of duty to help their patients. The clinic runs very efficiently and our volunteer chief does an amazing job. I have seen this clinic evolve into the 21st century. In 2010, AFC initiated its electronic medical record (EMR). Compassion is what you see and feel when you walk in AFC. And the new offices are absolutely beautiful.
Review from Guidestar
Having volunteered at and contributed to the AFC for the past 10 years, I can say it is an extremely well-run, state of the art facility that serves low-income and uninsured Arlington residents who need medical care the most. Everyone there--the staff, the volunteers, and the patients--appreciate the good work of the Clinic. Volunteering there is so rewarding!
Review from Guidestar
As a volunteer and community advisor for many years, I have had the chance to observe the Arlington Free Clinic from the inside and out. The most outstanding characteristic of the Clinic is the absolute devotion of staff to the work they do. This devotion--at every level--maintains a strong and critical focus on the role of the clinic to provide high quality physical and mental health care to people who really need it. The volunteers take their lead from staff and are likewise generous in their work. Spending time in the Clinic for any reason leaves one with a sense of pride in our community and hope for our neighbors.
Review from Guidestar
I was a volunteer intern at AFC last summer. It was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. The staff at AFC really care about every patient that walks through the door. The new facilities are at such a high standard that is unmatched by other free clinics. I hope to someday become a Nurse Practitioner and work at AFC!
Review from Guidestar