LITTLE ROCK, AR – When Esperanza Health Clinic first opened its doors in southwest Little Rock in 2009, there were 123 volunteers willing to give of their time and talents.
That number has dwindled to only 18 who show up on a consistent basis.
One Arkansan has been there since the day the doors opened, never missing a clinic and never giving up hope.
Residents in the 72209 zip code are thankful for Community Service Award nominee Renia White.
It’s a welcome sign for the uninsured Arkansans who need its services. Esperanza is the Spanish word for hope. Hope for better health and hope for a better future.
“She comes here every two or three months depending on the appointment they give her,” say patients Vania and Bertha Reyes.
Bertha Reyes has been coming to the health clinic since the doors opened in 2009.
“If we didn’t have this clinic, they would go into the emergency room,” says White.
Like Reyes, Registered Nurse Renia White knows the importance of hope and faith.
“My son was premature. He weighed 1 pound and 13 ounces,” she says.
Thirty-six years later, she has a healthy son and grandchild, is a full-time nurse for Watson Elementary and is a committed volunteer at Esperanza.
“I was there from the very first meeting to this very moment,” she says.
Located inside Second Baptist Church, the clinic is an outreach project for five area churches. It’s open by appointment every Thursday night and is staffed with nurses, doctors and interpretors. All are volunteers.
“It is a huge impact providing medical care for those who do not have it in a primarily underinsured big part of our town,” says volunteer Dr. Brenda Covington. “I am actually a clinic coordinator, but my role in here is to get as many volunteers as we can to take care of patients that have a great need.”
“In addition to scheduling patients and planning for the future and meeting with the board, she also treats patients, takes their blood pressure, takes blood and things like that,” says fellow volunteer Jonathan Aram, of White.
On average, they see about 25 patients a week. Most volunteers come to the clinic once or twice a month.
White is there serving every Thursday and when the clinic closes, she doesn’t stop working.
“We need to work harder on recruitment and get the word out. There are people out there in this community that don’t know the clinic is here. There are doctors out there who want to do something that don’t know about it,” she says.
White is one of our oustanding volunteers who will be honored at an awards dinner next June at the Governor’s Mansion.
Click here if you would like to nominate someone for a Community Service Award.