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Learning in Action, U.Va.

Learning in Action

Public Service at the University of Virginia

Volunteer of the Week: Jaime Lear

Jaime Lear is a second-year chemistry major with a sign language minor. Currently, Jaime volunteers through Madison House as a patient ambassador at the hospital where she fulfills deliveries and special requests from patients by visiting the different floors with a cart of entertaining things to offer, such as magazines or crossword puzzles. Jaime also volunteers with the Blue Ridge Mountain Rescue Group (BRMRG), which is a state-certified team on call 24/7 to search for missing people in the state of Virginia. 

How did you first get involved?

I was very involved with community service in high school and have always loved the feeling of knowing I’m making a difference in someone’s life, no matter how small. I want to go into the medical field, which is why I was interested in volunteering at the hospital. I heard about BRMRG through my twin sister, who forced me to come to their first training with her. After that, I was hooked!

What has been most rewarding?

By far the most rewarding aspect of BRMRG has been knowing that we returned a missing person to their family. Whether a dementia patient who wandered away from home, a hiker that got lost in the woods, or even a victim of kidnapping, being able to help someone who was lost and alone return to their desperately worried family is so fulfilling. While our searches don’t always have happy endings, when they do, it’s the best feeling in the world.

What is your #CommunityCommitment this year?

In the future, I hope to continue to serve my community by being an EMT, for which I got my certification last summer. I also plan on pursuing a career as a doctor and would love to work with Doctors Without Borders to further my outreach to our global community.

How would you encourage others to get involved? 

Go to the activities fair and talk to your friends about the clubs they are in! The activity fair is a great way to discover opportunities for getting involved and hearing about the clubs other people are in lets you hear about opportunities you may have missed.

What has been the greatest class you have taken at UVA?

The greatest class I’ve taken at UVA so far has been Introduction to Sociology, which I took during my first semester here. I didn’t expect to like it, but it forced me to think in a way I never would have considered before and opened my eyes to a whole new way of looking at the world.

If you could do one thing to make the world a better place, what would it be?

I would love to make healthcare free so that everyone has equal access to medication and treatment. I work in the UVA Emergency Department as a scribe, and the number of people I see that come in with severe issues because they are unable to afford the medication they need to survive is ridiculous. Ensuring access to healthcare would make the world a far better place in my opinion.