Encouraged to volunteer at WFC by his mother, Roberto was unaware of the lasting impact his high school internship would have on his life. In his last year at Stanford Medical School, Roberto Valladares, the teen that walked into WFC unsure of the career goals he wanted to pursue, is doing his residency in orthopedic surgery. “My experience at the Westminster Free Clinic is the single, biggest factor that motivated me to pursue medical school,” shares Valladares. For Valladares, it is the hands-on exposure students are provided at WFC that “frequently builds and strengthens teen’s dreams of becoming doctors, surgeons, nurses and other medical professionals.”
Like many current high school volunteers at WFC, Roberto is a first-generation Guatemalan-American and the first in his family to attend college in the United States. “Volunteering at the clinic truly changed my life,” shares Roberto, who prior to his experience at WFC “was taking general education classes at Moorpark College with no idea of what to major in or what career path to follow.” Serving his community inspired Valladares to pursue the goal of becoming a doctor. “There were countless times when this dream was strengthened by patients encouraging me to become a doctor,” recalls Roberto. “The dream grew even stronger with encouragement from the doctors,” he adds.