A Filipino non-profit organization in Jacksonville, Florida


A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.
Margaret Mead

I always enjoy going to nurse practitioner conference annually to quench my thirst for new knowledge, and of course, to see lovely places in America. This time, the venue was in Savannah, Georgia. Would you believe, this is the very first time I came with a buddy? She is a new Adult Nurse Practitioner, still very excited to be counted as a member and still jumping around in the NP arena like a horse newly released from its stable.                                         

It was only last week when I saw a familiar face at  GAPNA (Gerontological Advanced Practice Nurse Association)  conference in Savannah, Georgia. This must be the fourth time that we have brushed  each other’s elbows at different places of medical/nurse practitioner’s conferences. An eerie feeling in Savannah disappeared as soon as I remember her.

Her name is Lolita Massengill, ARNP, clinic Director/President of Legacy of Care Health clinic, Inc., based in Jacksonville, Florida. She is an outstanding, indefatigable profesional who has devoted her life to charity and not for profit clinics for the very poor, disadvantaged and uninsured in her local community. This clinic is run by volunteers, not compensated at all for their time and effort in serving the public. A calling deep seated in their hearts, to give and share  whatever they can to uplift the health care delivery sytem in their local society. It is like something taken out from a book of fantasy, so noble, the little hairs at the back of my neck stand up every time Lolita describes her practice.

Lolita is not just an expert in primary care but also a cheerleader in the development of her staff at Legacy Care. She has developed her staff into independent promoters and speakers, in fact, these volunteers started to be as benign and meek as can be. All of the volunteers, including Lolita are from the Philippines. I presume they have already acculturated in the western world as they have been in the USA forever. I could not remember the exact date Lolita came to the USA. I would think,  maybe in the early 1980’s, or later. I should have paid more attention as to the details of her “Coming to America.”   

                                                                                                                    The patients they serve are diversified and multi-cultural, pretty much like the volunteers themselves. Although, they are all Pinoys ( a street slang for Filipinos), they speak different dialects. They come from different parts of the Philippines, from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, the three regions of the Philippines.

It is interesting to note that, Pinoys speak different dialects but we can communicate and understand one dialect, which is Tagalog.  People from any part of the country could at least speak in Tagalog, making it our national language.They all have been united and had come together for a very simple and noble cause : to serve the uninsured. Nonetheless, the purpose of this group is very transparent. It was created to serve the public, the poor, the needy, the people who have nowhere to go medical-wise. For more information go to www.legacyofcare.org.

I would like to belong to a group like this, to create a change in my local society.  I would want to be counted as a change agent. Where do I start? Lolita is my model, somebody whom I look forward seeing each year, to gather more knowledge as to how to start a charity clinic. Will I be  successful like her? Time will tell. For now, I can only imagine and savor the experiences shared to me by Lolita.

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