Elijah Dulmaine, who is serving as an Arizona Serve AmeriCorps of Prescott College member at PMHDC Southwest Medical Aid (PSMA), smiles as he unloads five large hospital beds donated from Tucson Medical Center (TMC) delivered by Ray of 3000 Club because he knows that those hospital beds will be given to persons who need but cannot afford hospital beds in Tucson, Arizona.
Dulmaine sanitizes, refurbishes, and revamps hospital equipment (durable items – wheelchairs, walkers, bedside commodes, shower chairs, mechanical beds, etc.) and categorizes other medical supplies (everything from incontinence supplies to blood pressure monitors, etc.) to make sure that all items are ready for donation to needy Tucsonans. He is doing all of that while developing professional skills through guidance, training and interactions with PSMA staff – communications of all types, computer operations, warehouse inventory and tracking, enhanced literacy, Google Drive and all Google products, teamwork, efficiency, prioritizing work structure, and riding along to assist Jack – a volunteer driver who goes out into the community to pick-up medical equipment and supplies to bring back to PSMA – documenting and communicating which items they can and cannot accept.
Jack, a volunteer driver, is retired and is limited to what he can lift, so Dulmaine’s strength and “fix-it” expertise makes them the perfect work-team because they confer on which items need attention and which items are ready-to-donate. Dulmaine said their last community medical equipment excursion together was to a nursing home in Mount Lemmon.
A typical day of AmeriCorps service for Dulmaine includes medical equipment and supply donations and pick-ups all day. The Distribution Center Supervisor, Kiana Valenzuela, along with the Director, Iriz Yazno, have devised an inventory control management system where Dulmaine knows exactly what belongs where – both incoming and outgoing! Valenzuela said, “I am so happy that we have Arizona Serve AmeriCorps OYSU members working with us here! They are very smart and guiding them is easy!”
“We measure everything in ‘weight’ here, and in May (last month), we donated 9,067 pounds of medical equipment and supplies to people who needed it,” Dulmaine said proudly. “We have extra parts for items and can swap them out as we need to – things like fixing the brakes on wheelchairs,” he said. PSMA’s director spoke about Dulmaine’s great talent with tools, equipment, and his dedication to making sure that everything is in perfect condition while focusing on his work.
“Elijah has great ideas and problem-solving skills! He is detail-oriented and takes perfect instruction, never contradicting the procedures and methods we use here (at PSMA). He pays attention to all instructions, asks questions, and makes sure that he is explaining our non-profit medical equipment and supplies procedures to others,” said PSMA Director Iriz Yazno. “We also have a group of Intellectually Developmental Disability (IDD) members who volunteer at PSMA and Elijah is very good at communicating with members,” Yazno added. (IDD is a program provided through PPEP Integrated Care that gives intellectually challenged individuals’ experiences in real-world, community service settings.) In addition, there is also a cohort of nurses who volunteer at PSMA creating medical “kits” of different types for donation that Dulmaine gets to interact with!
“Once, I had a hard-to-manage medical equipment pick-up because my Spanish is limited. So, I called up Google Translate on my telephone and was able to communicate with a Spanish-speaking client,” he smiled. Problem solved!!
Dumaine is assigned to PSMA through an AmeriCorps program with Goodwill Metro Center for youth through a grant from Health Corps and each assignment period consists of three hundred hours of nonprofit service. He is currently in his seventh month of his third assignment term.
Continuous Improvement Manager at the Youth Reengagement Centers of Goodwill of Southern Arizona, Carlos Ramirez, said this, “I have had the opportunity to know Elijah for a year and a half now and Elijah first connected with us at our Goodwill Youth Reengagement Centers to gain experience and opportunities for employment and employment preparation. When Elijah first came into our centers he was a little reserved yet respectful to everyone he met. When I introduced him to our soft skills training, I could see that Elijah had a growth mindset by his willingness to learn, receive feedback as well as discuss his lessons with myself. We soon discussed interests of his about giving back to our community in a volunteer capacity but also being able to continue his growth in preparing for his future and he soon applied for the Opportunity Skill-Up Program which is a 300-hour term of service with AmeriCorps. Our relationship with Arizona Serve/AmeriCorps has provided this opportunity to allow youth participants such as Elijah to learn valuable skillsets, grow valuable soft and hard skills and give back. Elijah has been connected with the Opportunity Skill-Up Program since September 2022 has been successful in completing two terms of service and is currently in his third term with PSMA and PPEP Inc. His terms at PSMA have given him the ability to witness, acquire new knowledge and contribute to the services that PSMA provides to our community. Elijah has demonstrated a whole new level of self-confidence and professionalism. In addition, Elijah has picked up hands-on skills including teamwork, data entry, inventorying/organization, and engagement with members of community just to name a few! Elijah has done an amazing job during his time in Opportunity Skill-Up and we at Goodwill are truly proud of the growth that he has made, and we look forward to seeing his continued progress in the near future!”
“We have repeat clients with partnership agreements whom we work with – El Rio, Gospel Rescue Mission, St. Vincent DePaul, Salvation Army, TC 3, Veterans Administration, Northwest Hospital and more, so we are kept very busy here,” Dulmaine added.
Currently, he is researching his college and university options. He is thinking of taking core study courses like math, English, vocabulary, etc. at Pima Community College or Prescott College (online) and then, transferring those credits to University of Arizona, Arizona State University, or Northern Arizona University to complete a major in Computer Sciences/Digital Game Design. Ultimately, he will design video games and has already developed a “Duck Hunt” game!