Howard Is A Natural for Healthcare Service as Her Entire Family Is
Engaged in Medical and Health-Related Careers!

Gavina Howard is serving as an Arizona Serve AmeriCorps of Prescott College Public Health Member at PMHDC Southwest Medical Aid (PSMA) fulfilling medical equipment and supply orders to Tucsonans who may not otherwise be able to afford it. Howard is in her third term as an AmeriCorps Public Health member and has logged close to nine hundred hours of national service.

A typical day for her in the PSMA warehouse starts around 8:15 a.m. and consists of donations of medical supplies and equipment and meeting clients who come to the facility to pick up much-needed medical equipment and supplies or to donate the same. She is refining her professional skill set by calling clients, readying orders for pick-up, answering phones, logging items in and out of the inventory, working on shelving orders, meeting clients, and processing survey data. “We are busiest before and after lunch and I always need more time to complete orders,” she said.

PSMA Director, Iriz Yazno, said, “Gavina has been volunteering at PSMA since September 2022. Over the past 9 months, she has been a tremendous asset to our organization. She is compassionate and kind to our clients and is always willing to step up to offer assistance to anyone who needs it. She is a fast learner and has helped us train and guide other new volunteers. Gavina is an extraordinarily hard worker who takes pride in what she does and is always striving to do better. We are very fortunate to have her as a member of our team.”

Customer service is a big part of Howard’s service work on a daily basis, whether it be by phone or in person. When asked what her most gnarly experience was during this public health service term, she said this – “You know what bedside commodes are? Someone dropped off two of them and, they were full of poop!!” Howard looked shocked as she told the story! “I cleaned it all up!” she continued. Her dedication to health service work and to helping others is apparent!

“It really warms my heart when people who need medical supplies and equipment are grateful,” Howard continued. She talked about a mother whose 10-year-old son was paralyzed and that to care for him, the mother needed thousands of dollars’ worth of medical equipment. “I looked everywhere to find the medical items that she needed and when she came to pick up the equipment I located, she cried,” said Howard looking sincere and concerned.

She is preparing for her future and looking at her career options as she is working on her high school certification and then on to a college or university. She is interested in attending Pima Community College and wants to be a hospice nurse. When asked why she wants to be a hospice nurse, she responded – “I have a passion for it. I want to give peace and happiness to persons who know that they will not be here much longer and want them to know that they are not alone,” she said.

Goodwill of Southern Arizona Continuous Improvement/Youth Engagement Centers, Carlos Ramirez, said this, “Gavina first connected with us at our Goodwill Youth Reengagement Centers in July 2021 as Gavina was looking to gain first-time employment experience. Gavina came in from day one and when I first met her she was willing to learn and focused on succeeding. Gavina soon connected with Goodwill for our 96-hour Opportunity Youth Work Experience program. Gavina had the opportunity to gain coaching and receive hands-on work experience and feedback in a Production & Customer Service setting in which Gavina was ultimately successful in completing the program. Gavina also attended a local charter school and after her successful completion of the Work Experience Program, we soon discussed the Opportunity Skill-Up Program with AmeriCorps and Goodwill as she was interested in giving back. Gavina soon applied and has been connected with the Opportunity Skill-Up Program since September 2022 and has been successful in completing two terms of service and is currently in her third term with Pima Southwest Medical Aide (PSMA). During her terms of service, PSMA has given her the ability to witness and gain knowledge from the nurses and other volunteers on-site, learn about the various medical equipment that is provided for those in need, and contribute daily to the wonderful work and services that PSMA provides. Gavina has demonstrated a whole new level of growth and is learning opportunities to work together as a team, inventorying as well as community engagement. In addition, Gavina has been growing in other aspects as she has recently obtained her Driver’s License and also is currently in the process of working towards completing her GED through Goodwill’s Youth Reengagement Centers. Gavina is shining brightly through her participation in Opportunity Skill-Up and the Goodwill team is delighted with her accomplishments we look forward to continuing to see Gavina’s progression!”

Before signing with AmeriCorps, Howard worked at Goodwill Stores and worked with the homeless who needed changes of clothes and more. She has found many rewards in helping those in need and her next AmeriCorps Public Health contact will be for 450 hours, instead of three hundred hours!