Senior nursing major Derek Molina spent much of his senior year at Harding University volunteering with River City Ministry, a nonprofit organization located in Little Rock, Ark.
“River City Ministry seeks to feed the hungry by serving a hot lunch and operating a food pantry; clothe those in need with our clothing bus; shelter the homeless with a safe, welcoming environment and through HUD housing programs; care for the sick through our pharmacy, medical, vision and dental clinics; and love the unloved and underserved to show God’s love,” Molina said.
Patients seen by River City Ministry did not have insurance and did not have much money, so they were allowed to pay whatever they could, if they desired.
Molina’s work at River City Ministry consisted of taking medical and medication histories for those who came in to be seen by the physician. Molina also spent a great deal of time getting to know and talk with the patients. Molina had a background of working with similar organizations before he began working at River City Ministry.
“I have, during my freshman and sophomore years at Harding, participated in a group called Saturdays in Little Rock where we would meet up early on Saturday and drive to Little Rock to feed the homeless underneath a bridge,” Molina said.”It was a great opportunity to learn and serve these individuals. To be honest, I feel as if I was the one receiving blessing throughout my time with the homeless.”
Senior nursing major Rachel James had known Molina for two years through nursing school.
“He is so passionate about everything he does and always sticks with something until it is done; he never quits because something seems too hard,” James said. “He is also a natural with people. He is so easy to talk to, open up to, and he is non-judgmental.”
Senior nursing major Larissa Pinczuk also got to know Molina through their experiences together in nursing school. During the fall of 2013, Pinczuk and Molina were in all of the same classes and had clinicals together, giving her the opportunity to know him on a more personal level.
“I have had several conversations with Derek about personal experiences with poverty and about the cultural differences in serving poorer populations,” Pinczuk said. “These experiences will be valuable in allowing him to relate to people of different backgrounds, assess their unique needs, provide necessary referrals and therapeutically communicate in an effective manner.”
Molina learned through his experience at River City Ministry to look not at one’s circumstance but rather at the person and their individual needs.
“I had heard about this opportunity from others in the nursing program and felt as if it was an excellent opportunity to do Christ’s work by being with the poor and homeless,” Molina said. “I’ve always been convicted by Christ’s ability to relate to the poor and the love He showed them. He is my example and this ministry is one way that I can walk out the teachings of Christ.”