Jesuit Volunteer Corps profile: Bianca Fernandez

Bianca Fernandez

Photo by Julie Raefield-Gobbo.
Bianca Fernandez

Age: 23

Hometown: Miami, Fla.

Graduated: University of Notre Dame, 2011; B.A. in anthropology

Assigned in Hood River as a service associate, Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital, Faith in Action program

Bianca Fernandez speaks three languages: English, Spanish and Italian. She also speaks a universal language recognized by people of every age — compassion.

Fernandez, with a kindness that shines from her gentle smile, is well suited for her new work in Hood River. She is helping the Faith in Action program through PRHMH in its efforts to connect willing volunteers with elderly adults in need of extra help to stay in their homes.

“This work is about lightening a burden through sharing; through establishing relationships,” said Fernandez, who has already met with more than 35 elderly adults in the program. “I am blessed to hear so many of their stories.”

There are 50 volunteers already serving the more than 75 elderly seeking assistance. Fernandez is offering to build those relationships and reach out to other potential volunteers in the community.

“Some people just need short-term help after a surgery. Others need ongoing relationships,” said Fernandez. “We are also hoping to extend some of the care giver-care receiver relationships through end of life companionship as well.”

Beginning her college career with a focus on becoming a doctor, Fernandez was influenced by several cross-cultural service experiences through her school that changed her direction. She later turned to anthropology — with a particular interest in gathering stories from individuals of different cultural backgrounds.

“I got involved with our Center for Social Concerns through my college. I worked in a program for children working near a reservation and in an orphanage with children who were developmentally delayed or HIV-positive. Both of those experiences were really formative,” said Fernandez.

“I learned I wanted to have relationships be at the core of my work,” said Fernandez. “I really love working with Providence. I am blessed to share the lives of so many fascinating people many of whom have lived in Hood River their whole life.”

While still considering her road ahead, Fernandez is sure that she will keep a holistic view of the people she serves at the forefront and credits JVC in helping her strengthen that commitment.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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