How Helping Others Helped Me

Janey StarksPatient Stories

There are many reasons why people volunteer. The good deed brings people together and strengthens the community by helping those in need. Research shows that the more we give, the happier we are. Nevertheless, people tend to overlook the inner growth and feel-good effects volunteering offers. But Marviel Alvarez, a Medical Assistant at our Gateway Clinic, has experienced firsthand how helping others can change one’s frame of mind. A Community Ambassador since the program’s inception last September, Marivel shared her experience with us.

“I was going through a very difficult time in my life,” Marivel told us. “There were days where I just wanted to stay in my room, but thanks to Genoveva and the Community Ambassadors program, volunteering got my mind off of the bad and I was able to focus on helping others, which also helped me.”

Genoveva Ledezma, the Medical Assistant Lead at our Atkinson, Christown and Sunrise clinics, introduced Marivel to the Community Ambassadors program.

“I suggested to Marivel that she should get involved in volunteering or join a committee within Mountain Park to help her clear her mind and focus on other things,” Genoveva told us. “It turned out that she loved volunteering and continues to make a positive impact in the community.”

Getting her Family Involved
Marivel volunteers every chance she gets and always brings her three daughters to weekend events. Marivel and her daughter’s do a variety of activities—many involving children—like helping them with arts and crafts during an annual Tempe Tardeada event.

“She is an exceptional team player and employee,” Genoveva said. “She is very much like myself, making sure she sets a good example for her children by involving them with volunteer events.”


(Top) From left to right: Jennifer Kennedy, Laporsha Armstrong, Marivel Alvarez and Gregorio Montes de Oca volunteered at the Crockett Elementary Field Day.


At this year’s World Refugee Day, Marivel was the lead volunteer and organized several Mountain Park staff and their families at the event.

A mom of three girls, Zuheiley, 19; Illianya, 12; and Ailene, 11, Marivel’s volunteering teaches her kids about different cultures, how to be grateful for what the family has and why it’s important to give back to the community. She told us that her children are her inspiration because they constantly push her to be better.

“We love spending time together, that’s why I take them to these events. It also helps them grow as a person and learn things they wouldn’t be able to learn if they were home,” she explained to us. “Where we come from, you don’t see a lot of different cultures, everything is kept separate.”

Experiencing different cultures is the main reason Marivel loves volunteering at Mountain Park. Our patients and employees represent a vast range of cultures. Our Diversity & Community Affairs department ensures that every staff member, patient and community member is valued, respected and appreciated.

“I love the variety of patients and co-workers I see on a daily basis,” she said. “I meet people from different parts of the world like Wales, Mexico and Somalia. It’s so awesome having access to such a diverse group of people.”

Come Join the Fun
An avid participant of the Community Ambassadors Program, Marivel believes that everyone should take part in volunteering in order to learn more about people outside of our clinic doors.

“You see patients, especially the little kids, and they always remember you. When you see them in the clinic they are sick or maybe crying from a shot I had to give them, but outside the clinic doors, they are always smiling and happy, and they always remember you,” she mentioned. “They remember you in a positive light, even though before, you had to give them that shot.”

In addition to her weekend volunteer work, Marivel has had the opportunity to take time during her work day and participate in the volunteer time off, or VTO, benefit that we launched organization-wide this past July. During her workday volunteer shift in May, Marivel volunteered at Crockett Elementary School for three hours. She was in charge of organizing and giving children instruction on the obstacle course during a race and assisting children with special needs with the same activity.

“VTO is such a great opportunity for employees because not only is the employee getting paid, but if they know nothing about volunteering or they just want to test it out, this is the first step for them to learn about the program,” she explained. “They can learn and realize how good and rewarding it is. If it makes them feel good they will volunteer out of their own time on a Friday or Saturday, like I do.”

Mountain Park strongly believes in community involvement which is why we're about to launch our volunteer program, bringing community partners to volunteer in our clinics. Please stay tuned for more details over the next few months!


Almost a year ago, Marivel took part in the UMOM Walk for the Homeless. This was the inaugural event of the Community Ambassadors Program.