Sunday, October 23, 2011
Thursday, October 6, 2011
A brief write up was done for our school intranet on the organization I volunteer with. I thought I would post it on here to share. There was a picture of myself with the kids, but I did not want to post a picture of the kids on my blog as they only consented to being on our school website. Enjoy!
The Helping Heroes recognition is designed to spotlight faculty, staff and students who are passionate about community causes and who aspire to make a difference.
Featured Helping Hero
Name: Brittnea Adcock
Title: KCUMB/DO MBA Candidate, Undergraduate OMM Fellow
Volunteer/Service Organization: The Joshua Center
How did you first get started volunteering for this organization?
I found out about The Joshua Center in April 2011 from one of the physicians during my internal medicine rotation. I told the physician that I was considering a career in child psychiatry or developmental pediatrics. He then passed on the contact information for the director, Becky Ottinger. I emailed Becky that evening, met up with her a few days later, and volunteered the following weekend.
What activities do you help out with?
I help out with the Saturday morning social skills classes. At the beginning of the class the kids introduce themselves, tell us what grade they're in, and something exciting that has happened in the previous week. This may seem simple, but for these kids it can be a big deal to initiate a conversation.
The classes are typically one hour in length and follow a set curriculum each week, including anything from the importance of hygiene, expected vs. unexpected behavior, kind words, being last is a blast, etc. Becky has designed various board games to match the curriculum with situation cards for the kids to answer. This is a fun way for the kids to hear a situation that may occur in every day life and gives us an opportunity to discuss a solution. The classes really are a lot of fun.
I was also a camp counselor at the summer camp in June for a cabin of six third-grade boys. It was a blast!
Why do you enjoy volunteering for this particular organization?
This organization is making a difference in the lives of many children and families in the greater Kansas City area. The kids come to the center so excited to see their friends. They can come to class and know that no one will be looking at them funny because of their tics, obsessive behaviors or their current interests.
Not only am I helping the kids each week, but they are teaching me something. I learn so much from these kids that I could never learn sitting in a classroom or from a textbook. No matter how crazy stressed I am with school, helping out on Saturday morning reminds me of why I went to medical school in the first place. It helps keep me grounded.
Can you share one of your favorite experiences? What makes that situation stand out as memorable?
Because I help out on a regular basis, I get to see the kids every other week and observe their progress. It's exciting to see the children grow and improve from week to week. There is one child in particular that I have worked with since April. When I started volunteering, his answer to any question was "I don't know." Even during introductions, when asked what his name was his response was, "I don't know." But if you asked him if his name was Bob, Chris or Jack he would respond "No" until you said his name. Then he would respond with a smile, "Yah!"
He knew what his name was, but he just could not initiate the conversation. Just last month he has started to initiate conversation on his own. Out of the blue, he told us he likes to go out to dinner with his family to have Chinese Noodles. I get goosebumps just thinking about how much he has grown in just a few months.
What has volunteering taught you? What have you learned about yourself and/or others?
Volunteering my time on Saturdays has taught me patience. I never realized what may come natural for me is an ongoing struggle for some. I knew the medical components about the disorders, but I never grasped the full affects until helping out at the Joshua Center. I will never truly understand what the families are going through, but by spending Saturday mornings with these kids I feel that I have gotten a glimpse of what a typical day consists of.
I feel that this will help me be a better physician and to empathize with my future patients and families. I have also learned not to take life too seriously. I love being able to laugh with these kids and just have a good time. Helping out on Saturdays has reconfirmed that I have chosen the right specialty for me. I get so much joy out of working with these kids, that I know this is something I want to do everyday.
About The Joshua Center
The Joshua Center is a non-profit organization for neurological disorders. The center offers resources for both children and families who are affected by Asperger Syndrome, Tourette Syndrome, High-functioning Autism, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Bipolar, Pervasive Developmental Disorder and other associated neurological disorders.
Sunday, October 2, 2011
Sweet Potato Cake & Cream Cheese Frosting
- 3 small or 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and shredded
- ½ cups brown sugar (I use Splenda's Brown Sugar so it's only 1/4 cup)
- 4 eggs (1 cup egg substitute= 4 eggs)
- 1 ½ cups whole-wheat flour
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1½ cups granulated sugar (I use Splenda which is a 1:1 ratio)
- 1 1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
- 1/4 cup grape seed oil (or vegetable oil)
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- ½ tsp salt
- 8 ounces Fat Free cream cheese at room temperature
- 1½ cups powdered sugar (Wasn't sure what I could substitute for a healthier frosting)
- 1 stick butter, at room temperature (again, didn't know what to substitute here)
- 1 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 9×13 pan (or 2 8-inch cake pans). Combine the oil, butter, and sugars and mix for about 1 minute to help dissolve the sugar. Add in the eggs and mix til combined. Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and spices and stir into the wet ingredients until just combined. Fold in the shredded sweet potatoes. Pour into cake pans and bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean (if it starts to get too brown on top just cover with a piece of foil). Let cool completely before frosting.
Cream together the cream cheese and butter until soft and fluffy. Add the vanilla and powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Spread on cooled cake.
I made mine in the 9 x13 cake pan. I cut it into smaller squares, 8 x 4. They came out to be about 125 calories per square. Not too bad for a cake with cream-cheese frosting.