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A Year in Footprints

By: Malea Joyce

When I first joined Footprints I was excited to spend time with kids, but I never expected to be such a meaningful part of their care. I have always loved working with kids, I used to be a summer camp counselor and I always loved the energy and imagination of kids. My first day on the unit I was definitely nervous, even though I had been on-boarded and a member of the executive team showed up to my shift to help guide me and my shift partner through the first day. On my very first shift, I got to interact with patients and their families in a way that made me realize that even when you can’t give someone direct medical care, giving people a space to exist outside of medicine makes a world of difference.

My experience in Footprints has helped me grow so much as a person in college. As a pre-med, it has helped me learn to step back and look at every component of medical care beyond the simple assessment and medication. As a student, Footprints has taught me to learn how to take a break and prioritize connecting with people. Every weekly shift, even when they are harder to deal with emotionally, is a huge reminder that there is a much more important world outside of classes and tests. And I have learned so much from my fellow members of footprints. My shift partners for the past few semesters have been some of the people that I admire the most for their empathy, thoughtfulness, and ability to make a three-hour shift meaningful. Everyone that I have had the opportunity to work with in footprints has been incredibly passionate, and I am thankful to have had a fantastic year with the family, and I am excited for the years to come.


Malea Joyce (she/her) is a Junior majoring in Political Science and Microbiology. She joined Footprints in Summer 2021.

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