Out of the Mouths of Babes: A Student Perspective

September 27, 2013

Here at Health Partners, we pride ourselves on our ability to positively impact the lives of the patients we treat.  However, over the years, it has become quite clear that our volunteers whom generously donate their time to serve others receive just as much impact as those they serve.

Matt is a unique volunteer as he does not spend any time in the actual Clinic with patients.  Rather his role is an administrative one, working to strengthen our brand and increase the funding we need every year.  Regardless, he is still positively impacted by his work here and it even follows him home.  Here is his perspective:


My name is Matt Kolsky; I have been an intern with Health Partners Free Clinic for about three weeks now.  I am a senior, full time student at Wright State University studying marketing.  I would like to share with you some of my experiences from a marketer’s point of view.

I have worked with many different companies in a verity of different fields, but this is the first time I have worked for a non-profit.  Since we are a free clinic, the goal is no longer to create a product or produce a service that will bring in the most revenue, but rather determine how we can market ourselves to better help the community by providing healthcare to those who are unable to afford it themselves.  This concept was new to me and one that took some time to grasp.  I have been working in sales for a good portion of my past jobs, and in every one of them the objective was to sell as much as possible for as much as possible.  Here at Health Partners, it is a different story, people who work here don’t do it for a large profit or for fame, and they do it because they truly care for others and want to help the community in which they live.

My energy has been switched from developing plans to increase sales, to developing plans to reach out into the community and search for those individuals and companies that care about giving back as much as everyone here at Health Partners does.

I have noticed with my brief time at Health Partners, a subtle change in my way of thinking.  I tend to look out for what’s best for me and how I can advance my own status and income.  I thought these things were important to me in order to grow as a professional and reach my goals in life, but I have realized that this is not what someone should live their life for.  To quote an inspirational person “if you are not making someone else’s life better, then your wasting your time”.  I would like to tell you a quick story of one experience I have had outside of work.

I experienced a realization one night on my way back from the library.  I was riding my bike across a bridge on campus that is not very wide, because of this I hope that there is no one on the bridge so I can go as fast as possible across.  It always frustrates me when there are people on the bridge especially late at night because I have to slow down to get around them.  On this night I approached the bridge and noticed a disabled man in a wheel chair entering the bridge, he was heading the same direction as me and in the middle of the walk path.  I started thinking to myself how am I going to get around him and I’m going to get stuck behind him the whole length of the bridge.  I started to get frustrated with the situation and then I noticed he was having some difficulties with one of the bags he was carrying and begun to swerve all over the walk path.  The bag that he was fighting to hold onto fell onto the walk path right in front of me.  He attempted to reach the bag but was unable to grab it.   I got off of my bike and picked up the bag for him.  He was very grateful for this and told me that he’ll let me go ahead in front of him so to not slow me down any further.  As I rode home the rest of the way I started to think of how selfish I had been and how good it felt to help someone less fortunate as me.  What if I was not there to help, what would he have done?

I now rethink the decisions I make and how they will affect others around me.  I encourage everyone to think about what’s important to them and what they would do without it.  That’s what working at a free clinic does for you, makes you appreciate the things that we take for granted.