Rob Ali, a recent graduate of Boston University, still remembers working with his first client on his first day volunteering with Health Leads in the Boston Medical Center Pediatrics program. “This nice lady sat down, and I immediately panicked because everything I had learned the week before at training just flew right out of my head,” he said. Yet he must have done something right: every week Rob found that same client waiting for him at the start of his shift and worked with her on accessing housing, employment, and food. In the fall, Rob moved into a student leadership position, serving as the Health Leads Program Coordinator for the Pediatrics program, working with clients, helping other volunteers work through tough cases, and leading weekly reflection sessions for his peers.

With a new and growing awareness of the needs that exist in Boston communities and with the experience of making a real difference, Rob became committed to working with low-income clients. After graduating this year from Boston University, he became a Community Health Worker at the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program (BHCHP), which provides comprehensive care to homeless men and women in Boston. Rob feels that he was able to hit the ground running at BHCHP because he was familiar with many of the issues that affect his clients. He credits Health Leads with his ability to communicate effectively with clients. Says Rob, “Working with these patients is so inspiring; they’ve been through so much, but they really want things to get better and just need some help.”

Read more about Rob’s experience with Health Leads in a Boston University brochure on community outreach.