Penny Goldin is a retired teacher with 35 years of classroom experience who wanted to give back to her community. Five years ago this November was the first of what would become hundreds of Thursday evenings at Ithaca Free Clinic for Penny. She recollects that we were in our original (smaller) facility, that our clinic coordinator was off for the night, our nurse had to cancel her shift for an emergency, and that Bethany Schroeder was filling in as clinic coordinator, nurse, and Penny’s trainer to the ins and outs of the reception desk. She says, “I arrived at 3:00. I thought I was early, but the line of people waiting to be seen was already down the long flight of narrow stairs and trailing out the front door.”
Cut to November, 2012. Penny still volunteers at reception at IFC (she has a real desk now) and keeps Thursday nights running smoothly. She knows the rhythms of the shift, “the potential for a crazy rush at the start or the slow starts that end in a crazy rush.” Penny knows many patients by name, and makes sure everyone is welcomed and that the business end of reception goes smoothly. “I love being part of the Free Clinic and all it stands for. I love seeing our patients come in anxious and ill, then leave with a smile and a heartfelt thank you."