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Welcome to the August Volunteer Newsletter from the Community Engagement team at Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region! Check out our latest updates on our volunteer activities around the St. Louis region and take a look at future opportunities to get involved.

Urban Expo

What an event! Hosted by the Urban League, the Urban Expo is one of St. Louis’s biggest back-to-school fairs. Planned Parenthood had volunteer teams from both the Community Engagement and Education departments. The education table played a trivia game about reproductive health and recruited volunteers interested in Teen Advocates for Sexual Health (TASH).

The community engagement table handed out resources about our health services, health insurance assistance, and gathered membership petition signatures. This was another event where we gathered signatures for the ballot initiative to expand Medicaid in Missouri. Planned Parenthood is proud to help families get ready to start the school year off right!

Black Pride

Planned Parenthood is committed to providing our patients and supporters with the best care possible--regardless of identity or background. That’s why we were thrilled to once again be at Black Pride, an annual event held downtown to celebrate the intersectionality of people’s many identities with pride! We handed out safer sex kits, informed supporters of our various health services available to people of all communities, and gathered petitions of support to send to legislators. It was a treat to be able to connect with all the different organizations that are working diligently to uplift LGBTQ+ people in Missouri--and we especially enjoyed exploring how we can continue to support the Black community within that space.

Ballot Initiative and Table Captain Training

In August we trained 26 enthusiastic supporters to become volunteer table captains. Table captains are advocates who proactively engage with community members, manage volunteers, and troubleshoot at Planned Parenthood’s table at outreach events. These supporters also learned to collect signatures for the Medicaid Expansion ballot initiative in Missouri. Together with other progressive organizations, we are aiming to gather 50,000 signatures from registered Missouri voters to put Medicaid Expansion on the ballot in November 2020. If it passes, the amendment is expected to bring health coverage to 215,000 Missourians, especially benefitting rural communities and people of color. It will also generate $2 billion per year in economic activity. Learn more about Missourians’ experiences with healthcare by reading their stories here. Interested in moving Missouri forward? Contact Brenda Cross at [email protected] or 314-531-7526 ext 358 to get involved as a volunteer leader.

Summer Intern Farewell

We usually highlight one outstanding Volunteer of the Month, but this month, we wanted to pay a special tribute to our outgoing summer Community Engagement Interns! We are so honored all these amazing students chose to spend their summers with Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region! We wish you all a wonderful school year ahead. Get to know a few of our interns below.

Q: Why is it important for you to intern at Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region?

Pardes Lyons-Warren: It was important for me to intern at PPSLR to give back to a place that gave so much to me. Being in TASH for 4 years set me on the path I’m on today and I am forever grateful. This internship also allowed me to advocate for my rights in my state and learn valuable work skills. 

Lucy Darr: It’s important to intern at Planned Parenthood because you are able to learn more about the day to day events that contribute to keeping the doors open! Through my internship, I was able to learn a lot about outreach, community engagement, and volunteering in the St. Louis region and how these aspects affect Planned Parenthood in a bigger sense. 

Q: What was your favorite experience with Planned Parenthood this summer?

Mary Kimball: Earlier this month, I was able to speak at a rally organized by NARAL in response to Secretary Ashcroft’s attempts to delay the ballot initiative that would allow Missourians to vote on the abortion bans. Some staff at Planned Parenthood helped me write my speech and gave me advice about giving a speech. It was a totally new experience for me and was equal parts exciting and terrifying. Having been an intern this and last summer, being able to talk about my experiences and the admiration I have for Planned Parenthood felt extremely cool. It was amazing that people were so invested in what I had to say and gave me the space to speak out like that, it was very affirming and I felt valued by the organization. Planned Parenthood is a really cool place to be an intern! 

Q. How does Planned Parenthood align with your career goals?

Emma Nwumeh: Because it is my goal to become a health care professional, my intention in coming to Planned Parenthood was to get exposure to things that affect patient care. And I have done just that and more! Interning at Planned Parenthood has given me the opportunity to see into the behind the scenes of health care, things that act as red tape in giving patients needed care, political issues that interfere with health care, and how systems that work to provide health care for under-represented backgrounds operate. I believe all health care professionals should get a sense of these things before they commit to their careers because it is shocking how things can indirectly affect how people have access to treatment.

Lisa Wu: I'm interested in a career in medicine, specifically becoming either an OB/GYN or a pediatrician. Last summer, I stayed at school and completed a summer-long research fellowship in immunology, and while that was incredibly worthwhile and illuminating, I knew I wanted more hands-on experience with the medical field and with patients. As a result, I started looking for internships at organizations that were involved in reproductive health care and prioritized engagement with patients and the community, and one of the first things that came to mind was Planned Parenthood. My goal was to reconnect with the communities I grew up with while also learning about how Planned Parenthood continues to provide high-quality services in a hostile environment, and I think I was able to achieve that during my time here. 


Q. What was the biggest take-away you learned this summer?

Hopie Melton: I have learned so much about the political and social landscape of reproductive rights in Missouri this summer working with Planned Parenthood. This summer reinforced the idea that the goal of health care providers should always be to serve all patients—no matter who they are—and to take special care of those who have been under-served previously. The work we do—in our health centers, in education, even as Community Engagement interns--directly improves the lives of those who have been forgotten by politicians and excluded from the protection and care they deserve. I hope to stay in that mindset of care and compassion for all people in all the work I do going forward.

Upcoming Events and Volunteer Opportunities

Check out below some of our upcoming events for September! Keep up-to-date and register for opportunities to volunteer with us out in the community If you have questions about our volunteer programs, please contact Brenda Cross at [email protected]ppslr.org or 314-531-7526 ext. 358. 

September 7

Trap Run - 4057 Evans Ave, St. Louis, MO 63113 

September 12

Slaughter Beach, Dog Concert

 

Off Broadway, St. Louis, MO 63118

September 14-15

Greentree Festival

 

Kirkwood Park, Kirkwood, MO 63122

September 20-22

Greater St. Louis Hispanic Festival

 

Soulard Park, St. Louis, MO 63104

September 20-22

Arnold Days Festival

 

2400 Bradley Beach Rd, Arnold, MO 63010

September 26

Community Meeting on Reproductive Health Rights

 

1640 S Lindbergh Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63131

Ongoing Opportunities 

Transformative Conversations Deep Canvassing

Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region is embarking on a deep canvassing program.  This program will take us into neighborhoods to talk to people about issues in their community and their views on race. 

10:00 AM to 6:30 PM Monday-Saturday

Meet at North County Health Center

2782 North Hwy 67 Surrey Plaza II, Florissant, MO 63033

RSVP

 

Accountability Phone Banking

Every Wednesday from 5:30 to 7:30 PM

Please contact Willie Peete for details at [email protected] 

 

Accountability Neighborhood Canvassing

Every Saturday from 10 AM to 2 PM

Please contact Willie Peete for details at [email protected] 

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