Volunteer Spotlight – Sophia Dellisanti

Volunteer Spotlight – Sophia Dellisanti

Our mission to reduce burn injuries and support burn survivors is bolstered by the dedication and hard work of our volunteers. These volunteers are the backbone of our organization, offering their time, skills, and compassion to help us carry out our life-changing work. Their roles range from educating the community on burn prevention to directly supporting burn survivors through rehabilitation and recovery programs.

Recognizing the vital contributions of our volunteers, we are excited to introduce a new monthly installment in our newsletter dedicated to showcasing these selfless individuals. We are honored to introduce you to one of our Fire Safe Kids interns, Sophia Dellisanti.

What inspired you to volunteer at the Burn Institute?

What inspired me to volunteer with the Burn Institute was actually coming across the organization on Instagram. After realizing I wanted to partake in a Public Health internship during my senior year at San Diego State, I researched different organizations in San Diego county. After finding the Burn Institute’s Instagram page, I was immediately interested. I have always loved working with kids and I felt like the Burn Institute would be a very fulfilling experience for me. My internship at the Burn Institute aligns with my career aspirations in public health because it has given me very good communicating and oral speaking skills, especially when talking about public health topics. I plan to get a full time job after graduation in medical device sales, so the specific skills I have acquired in regards to communicating have definitely made an impact.

Tell us about a challenge you faced as a volunteer?

A challenge I have faced during my volunteer work at the Burn Institute would ultimately have to be trying to get a room full of elementary students to be attentive to the fire safety presentation. Although most groups of students do give us their full attention, there have been instances where we get a more rowdy group and it is up to us to calm them down so they can learn about what we have to say as our information is very important to learn at their age. When this is happening I will usually attempt to grasp their attention by letting them know that there is only one of me and a lot of them, so they need to quiet down. I also like to emphasize that what we are trying to teach them can ultimately save their life or someone else’s. This experience taught me that the field of public health has many topics that need to be taught at a young age and should be taken very seriously.

How do you feel your volunteer work is making a difference at the Burn Institute?

I feel like my volunteer experience along with my other coworkers have made a large difference at the Burn Institute. Getting to go to all these schools and see the smiles on the kids’ faces has made me realize a little goes a long way. Seeing the students excited to learn and excited to participate is a very surreal and fulfilling experience. Not only does what we teach and promote at the Burn Institute create a difference, us just being there with an outgoing attitude and a high level of enthusiasm makes for a very rewarding process. As a Public Health major, being able to make an impact in my community is very important to me, and I am very thankful the Burn Institute helps me do so.

Based on your experiences so far, how do you envision your future career in public health evolving?

Based on my experiences so far, I envision my future career in Public Health evolving by hopefully being able to volunteer with more non-profit Public Health Organizations. Although I plan to go into the medical device sales field, I do plan to still participate with other organizations in my free time. I would say that I am particularly interested in and passionate about mental health. It would be awesome to volunteer with a mental health organization of any sort as I believe mental health is a Public Health topic of high importance. It would mean a lot to help in any aspect, as I plan on doing so post graduation.

What brings you joy?

Many different things bring me joy, but I would say what brings me joy the most is strong and meaningful relationships with others, and I can easily say that the Burn Institute has brought me many of those. Being able to volunteer aside these people has been a great feeling and I thoroughly enjoy getting to do presentations, events, etc. with them. If it was not for the Burn Institute I would have not made these great connections, and for that I am forever grateful.