Interview with Amy Plessis

Tell us about yourself

I am currently a third year UBC medical student at the Kelowna site. I was working towards my undergrad in Microbiology at UBC Okanagan campus prior to medical school. I have always had a passion for working with children, I spent my summers throughout high school and undergrad working at a daycare in their summer programs. I have a special interest in working with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and spent a good portion of my undergrad doing volunteer swimming and soccer lessons with children in my community with ASD. Working with RBS is a great fit for me, because I am able to continue to work with children in my community!

How did you become involved

I was lucky enough to have Joanne as a FLEX supervisor in my first semester of medical school in Vancouver. She knew that I had an interest in children, and was keen to learn more about childhood development, education and how poverty affects children. She welcomed me on to the RBS team and encouraged me to pursue FLEX with RBS. I worked on my FLEX with RBS and have since continued to stay on as a volunteer for RBS because I love the work the organization does!

What is your current role in RBS

When I joined RBS, we did not have a chapter in Kelowna. I was able to get the ball rolling in Kelowna to establish a Kelowna RBS chapter, and with the help of several of my colleagues in Kelowna we were not only able to set up a good foundation for Kelowna RBS, but last year alone did over 25 school visits and reached out to over 472 children!

I have also been fortunate enough to be able to work alongside Joanne and my Southern Medical Program (SMP) colleagues and create a school visit that introduces children to a visit to the doctor’s office and easy lifestyle choices they can make to stay healthy (A visit to Dr. Bear). The goal of this visit is for children to feel comfortable going to the doctor and be familiar with some of the tools the doctor may use to complete a physical exam, as well as empower children to do simple lifestyle choices for their health. This module is being piloted in Kelowna and Vancouver. I also was part of writing a children’s book that highlights the main points of the module.

Currently I am continuing to be involved in RBS Kelowna; I will be helping with orientation of the new volunteers and will be supporting Bhavan and Darren as they take over the organization of the school visits this year.

What is your best memory of RBS

My favorite memory of RBS was when I was coming back to a school I had done a visit with the week before and I ran into one of the children who I had seen the week prior in the hall. We had been piloting the module “A visit to Dr. Bear” with her class, and the children had to play doctor and fix their teddy bears. She came running over to me to tell me that her teddy bear was feeling much better and that she was able to make him feel better after what she had learned. She then gave me a big hug and asked when we would do another visit with her class. I love this memory because in that moment it was very clear that this child had been paying attention and we were able to leave an impression with her. It was nice to realize how much the children enjoyed the visit and that they were also able to retain information from our session with them.

Why do you support the RBS

I love RBS because they are constantly giving back to the children in their community. Every one of the people involved with RBS puts so much time and effort into their role within RBS. It is clear that everyone is very dedicated and works with RBS because they have a passion for working with children.

I love getting to see the difference RBS makes in the school systems and how excited children are when we come and visit their classrooms.

It is a truly amazing organization, and I am always impressed by how small ideas seem to grow and take on a life of their own within RBS.