Nursing students provide ‘hand up’ at ‘Stand Down’
By Samantha Savaglio
Several University of Wisconsin-Parkside nursing students recently joined more than 200 volunteers at the Milwaukee Stand Down outreach, utilizing skills they've acquired throughout their collegiate studies to aid homeless veterans and their families.
"Stand Down" is a military term for the removal of troops from the battlefield and placing them in a safe, secure area. Among the services offered were health screening and referral, job placement assistance, and the distribution of food, clothing, and toiletries.
Jennifer Blum, Amy Ganshert, Florine Ndaku, and Muzi Waight assisted the staff in administering risk assessment and vision screening for the veterans. They also spoke with vets on a personal level, listening to their stories and hearing their concerns.
According to Ganshert what makes this event uniquely necessary for veterans is its determination to provide every possible need.
Blum continues, "On this one day, veterans come in off the streets and are given an opportunity to make a fresh start?. [it] will continue until there are no homeless veterans because even one is one too many."
While this was the first time volunteering at the event for most of the students, it was Blum's second.
"I was so inspired by my first Stand Down experience, I have committed to supporting every one possible," she declared.
Several students said the most challenging aspect of this volunteer work was feeling as if they could not do enough for the veterans.
Ganshert acknowledged, "When the vet thanked me for volunteering I was humbled; knowing he went through a war for my freedom and he is now homeless."
The students strongly affirm that more awareness is needed for such events.
Volunteering for organizations solidifies the knowledge and skills students have acquired throughout their learning experiences, Ganshert explains.
"There are opportunities to volunteer all around us. There's no telling how much you will experience until you try," Blum states. "At the end of the day, we were the ones that benefited. We were the ones fortunate enough to be reminded to persevere no matter how difficult our path may seem."