by Shelby Davis
On my first day of service, I was a little nervous to meet with my mentor. I had only met Julie once before and that was during my initial interview with Global Links. I was intimidated by her at first, and I was afraid that our personalities wouldn't mesh. Julie seemed to be on the extroverted side, and I am a shy person. But, I loved the mission of Global Links right from the beginning andI knew I wanted to be part of the organization. Unbeknownst to me, I would soon realize that first impressions aren’t everything. My mentor has become a great resource, colleague and friend. I am very excited for the journey that lies ahead. This year of service is going to be an amazing learning opportunity for me.
My role in National Health Corps is to serve at Global Links as the Community Partners Program Associate and Volunteer Supervisor. Global Links is a Pittsburgh-based medical relief and development organization dedicated to promoting environmental stewardship and improving health in resource-poor communities. My mentor, Julie Strickland-Gilliard, is the Community Partners Program Manager of Global Links. Julie is a community-focused change agent with over 10 years of cross-functional experience in organizational development within the social impact sector through planning, targeted communication, partnerships, and resource optimization.
Julie joined Global Links in January 2017. In her current role, she works to build collaboration among safety net and human service agencies to improve health outcomes, dignity and independence for vulnerable communities in Southwestern PA and the surrounding region. The Community Partners Program is a relatively new program at Global Links, and Julie's role in connecting community partners is integral to the program. It is so important to Global Links’ mission to continue to capture surplus supplies and return them to communities in need throughout Pittsburgh.
Getting supplies to our community members in need is our biggest accomplishment at Global Links. We provide supplies like walkers, wheelchairs, shower benches, and incontinence supplies. Julie believes that one of the major challenges the program faces is making sure we have enough product to continue to supply the community. But, Julie is proud of the work she has accomplished in such a short time. As a community champion, she will continue to fight for the community, no matter the obstacles. She does this in hope that maybe someday, she won't have to. She hopes for a world in which everyone has access to the medical equipment and products that they need.