Save a Life
Arlington Free Clinic
Seventy percent of the 1,500 low-income, uninsured patients who got help at the Arlington Free Clinic last year had serious chronic illnesses. The clinic is staffed by volunteer doctors and offers primary care as well as specialty medicine including surgery, oncology, and neurology. A small pharmacy dispenses free medicine.
How to help: Doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and other medical professionals can work once or twice a month for a few hours at a time.
Giving: $250 buys a patient’s blood-pressure medication for two months; $1,500 pays to coordinate the care of ten patients with serious conditions for a year.
3833 N. Fairfax Dr., Suite 400, Arlington; 703-979-1425; arlingtonfreeclinic.org.
Columbia Road Health Services
A 30-year-old clinic in DC’s Adams Morgan neighborhood, Columbia Road Health Services provides medical, dental, mental-health, and social services. Costs are based on a patient’s ability to pay; many are living in poverty, and some are homeless. The clinic enrolls people in public insurance when possible and refers them to specialists.
How to help: Read to kids in the waiting room.
Giving: $125 pays for a child’s checkup; $480 puts one patient through 12 sessions of mental-health counseling.
1660 Columbia Rd., NW; 202-328-3717; crhs.org.
This group’s motto is “when crisis calls, we answer.” CrisisLink runs a 24-hour hotline for people contemplating suicide or facing other desperate situations. It makes daily phone calls to check in on elderly and disabled people and operates 2-1-1 Virginia, a hotline to help callers navigate Northern Virginia’s social services. Last year, it answered nearly 30,000 calls for help.
How to help: Become a hotline volunteer.
Giving: $100 covers one week of checkup calls to a senior citizen; $1,000 pays for suicide intervention for 20 people.
2503-D N. Harrison St., Suite 114, Arlington; 703-527-6603; crisislink.org.
A 20-year-old organization, Mary’s Center for Maternal & Child Care was started to provide prenatal care to women from Central America. It grew with their children—first expanding to provide pediatrics, then a program for teens, then services for families. Today Mary’s Center offers medical, social, and vocational services to 10,000 families a year—many of whom are immigrants—and it has staff members from 33 countries. Many patients have no insurance, and they pay for care on a sliding scale.
How to help: Entertain children in the waiting room with stories or an activity.
Giving: $300 provides an initial prenatal-care visit; $500 pays for home visits for a new mom for a month.
2333 Ontario Rd., NW; 202-483-8196; maryscenter.org. Other locations in DC’s Brightwood Park and Silver Spring.
“Our goal is to end the HIV epidemic among youth in DC,” says Molly Singer, deputy director of Metro TeenAIDS. Last year the group taught all of DC’s public- and charter-school tenth-graders about prevention and treatment. It trains adults to talk with teens about HIV, provides counseling to teens with the disease, and does advocacy work.
How to help: Staff the group’s table at a health fair.
Giving: $150 provides counseling for a teen with an HIV-positive parent; $1,500 pays for counseling and care for an HIV-positive youth.
651 Pennsylvania Ave., SE; 202-543-8246; metroteenaids.org.
Mobile Medical Care
A network of 23 clinics in Montgomery County, Mobile Medical Care provided primary and specialty care to more than 7,000 uninsured adults this year, many of them homeless. The network charges by clients’ ability to pay and doesn’t turn away patients who can’t pay. It recently opened a heart clinic at Suburban Hospital.
How to help: Doctors and nurses are needed, as are interpreters and volunteers with professional skills.
Giving: $250 pays for one patient to participate in a yearlong fitness program; $1,000 pays for a patient’s care for a year.
9309 Old Georgetown Rd., Bethesda; 301-493-2400; mobilemedicalcare.org.
Share a Love of the Arts
Joe’s Movement Emporium
This Mount Rainier nonprofit hosts artists who perform Thai, Balinese, Middle Eastern, and African dance as well as aerialists, percussionists, and others. The pros do residencies in schools, and World Arts Focus hosts afterschool programs, summer camps, and youth ensembles. The organization is a force for revitalization in Prince George’s County and runs lots of community events.
How to help: Lend a hand at the afterschool program or chaperon a weekend field trip.
Giving: $110 pays for one low-income individual to take ten movement classes; $1,100 provides a semester’s scholarship for one child.
3309 Bunker Hill Rd., Mount Rainier; 301-699-1819; joesmovement.org.