HOSA undergoing major changes Adapting new rules, procedures to accommodate the new distance learning model

Junior President-Elect Mariel Batara sits at her desk with a pencil in hand, concentrating on finding the right words to convey her message. This year, writing a letter to a patient in need of hope is one of the ways she will receive volunteer credit for her CTSO. “I’m glad that I’m still able to help out the community as best as I can. Volunteering virtually won’t change the way I feel about helping people,” Batara said. Photo Credit: Mariel Batara

Helping pass out water at fundraising events, giving blood, attending charities: these were once the volunteer opportunities that were available as a member of HOSA (Future Health Professionals of America). However, due to the pandemic, the club’s board is switching to a safer, more secure option for a core part of their mission: virtual volunteering.

“We do have to tailor things in a virtual way, but that does not diminish or underestimate the potential that we can still do for HOSA,” new adviser Sara Hartwich, who is taking over for previous adviser Vicki Smith, said. 

Virtual volunteering is uncharted territory for the club, but the new board still intends to give members optimal ways to serve their community from the safety of their own home, such as writing letters for patients in hospitals and more.

“Besides writing letters, I think we are going to try to partner up with the big organizations such as the Alzheimer’s Association, St. Jude’s, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and see how we can work in a partnership so that we can get some hours and experiences in,” Hartwich said. “I also think we are going to try to reach out to members the best way we can and bring guest speakers in from all these different organizations out in our community to give them leadership opportunities.” 

To not overwhelm members, minor changes have been made to ensure that they can receive their CTSO credit. Namely, meeting times have been changed to every second and fourth Tuesday of each month instead of weekly, and the number of volunteer hours needed has been reduced.

“For the safety of our members we chose to find as many online volunteering opportunities,” junior Photographer Lizeth Ontiveros said. “However, since that could be a bit challenging and due to the circumstances we’ve recently changed our hours to only twenty for this school year rather than our forty typical hours.”

Aside from the changes to volunteering, HOSA members have also experienced many other changes. In addition to CNA and Pharmacist instructor Hartwich, Health Science instructor Cynthia Wong, is helping out this year as a co-adviser. 

We have an awesome group of officers with a lot of enthusiasm and great ideas,” Wong said. “I look forward to seeing where they take HOSA this year.”

The board intends to keep students updated through its Instagram and its newly revamped website.

“There have been a few big changes with the website, with the most obvious being the overall look of the website, making it easier to find information. Our resource page has grown, where members can access past slideshows and stuff pertaining to HOSA scholarships, state events, etc,” junior Web Reporter Marcus Emmanuel Buenaventura said. “I will be updating our volunteer page to make sure our members have the opportunity to participate in the events and complete their hour requirements. I think the HOSA website will be in much more use than it has been in previous years.

Current members feel that the board are making the right decisions and looking out for them.

I think that all the changes that HOSA is going through this year is definitely for the better,” sophomore Daphne Huang said. “By going online for club meetings and volunteer opportunities, we are limiting the amount of possible chances of spreading coronavirus. If we really want to help our communities and our health professionals we should follow the rules so we don’t contribute to their workload.” 

Students are still encouraged to join, especially freshmen, and even those who are not in a medical program as HOSA can be beneficial for all. Those who are interested can use the code “5pikpfd” to join HOSA’s Google Classroom.

“I think it is a huge impact that HOSA can have on students, it provides them with empowerment, confidence-building, leadership opportunities, competitiveness, and gives them a good skill set to enter into the real world upon graduation,” Hartwich said. “Even if they don’t go into healthcare, the skill set they get will provide them life experiences.”

Do you plan on joining HOSA?