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Michael Alonso ’13: Advocating for Vulnerable Populations

Jared Scott Tesler
Michael Alonso ’13 always knew that he wanted to help people. His “vision of what that looked like,” however, “has changed various times.”
 
Alonso first became interested in health and medicine during his junior year at The Shipley School, when he began volunteering every Sunday as an Emergency Medical Technician with Whitemarsh Community Ambulance Association. The following year, he interned with MANNA, which provides medically tailored meals and nutrition education in order to empower people to improve their health and quality of life.
 
As a health science studies major and sociology minor at Baylor University, Alonso was actively involved throughout the Waco, Texas, community. “From volunteering at community clinics, to mentoring underserved kids, to visiting assisted living facilities,” he says, “it became clearer to me how health is affected by so much more than medical care.”
 
And so, Alonso shifted his focus away from medicine and onto community outreach. During his senior year of college, he joined Baylor Scott & White Health’s Faith Community Health program, helping to bridge the gap between health care and faith by pairing volunteers from area churches—or Faith Community Caregivers—with vulnerable patients in need of additional support. “Being able to meet with patients and train volunteers gave me a full perspective of community health,” he says.
 
The patient data, analyzed alongside the Program Manager, Innovations for Spiritual Care Delivery, were striking: A significant improvement in health and quality of life meant less medical care. The promising facts and figures sparked a newfound interest in Alonso—computer information systems—which he draws on in his current role as Homeless Management Information System Coordinator at One Roof: Uniting Central Alabama to End Homelessness. He is also working toward a master’s degree in computer information systems at Boston University Metropolitan College.
 
“While I may not be going out on the streets to make initial contact with those in need, I know I can contribute to the solution in areas that come more naturally to me,” Alonso says. “My experience volunteering in underserved communities has allowed me to become an advocate and help push the cause forward.”
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The Shipley School is a private, coeducational day school for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students, located in Bryn Mawr, PA. Through our commitment to educational excellence, we develop within each student a love of learning and a desire for compassionate participation in the world.