High school senior rounds up community talent
March 15, 2006
On top of trying to choose a college and battling a benign case of senioritis, Park City High School senior class president Elisa Patterson is organizing a community-wide talent show at the Eccles Center.
The event will be held March 30 and will showcase the talent of her peers and neighbors for a cause: to raise money for Park City’s People’s Health Clinic, a nonprofit organization that treats the underinsured and uninsured members of the community through the donated services of local physicians.
Though it has been a big undertaking to organize an event on top of regular work, her drive is emblematic of this year’s graduating class, according to Patterson. It is typical for many 12th graders to become "senior slackers," she says, but she believes many in her senior class are still driven.
Patterson knew it would be a large task to get the whole community involved for one event, but she wanted to do something before she left home for school.
"As far as timing goes, I’m in my senior year this year and I love Park City and I wanted to do one thing to give back to the city before going to college," she explained. "I kind of felt like the clock was ticking and if I wanted to do something, I should do it soon."
According to the People’s Health Clinic co-chair Michael Andrews, who heads the organization with Charlie Wintzer, the nonprofit saw approximately 2,300 patient visits last year — a total that amounts to a 20-percent increase from 2004.
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"This organization of ours helps to fill a tremendous void that exists in our community for the care of those without health insurance," Andrews said of the People’s Health Clinic. "There’s an absolute need for this service."
As a former Park City High School principal from 1991 through 1996, Andrews praised Patterson’s endeavor.
"I’ve seen high school students do many, many things, but I am overwhelmed by what this lady has done for the People’s Health Clinic," he said.
The hour-and-a-half-long Community Talent Show will feature the talent throughout the community of all ages, according to Patterson. Roger Hallingsted, a local violinist, will perform, and so will 11-year-old singer Ruby Zielinski, and Park City Dance Tech’s breakdance company. Patterson’s 16-year-old brother John, a composer, will play the piano.
In the forum, a chamber group will play next to a display of paintings and drawings.
Volunteers from Parley’s Park Elementary, Treasure Mountain International Middle School and Ecker Hill Middle School, along with service clubs at the high school, agreed to volunteer to promote and run the event, she said.
Patterson recalls becoming interested in the clinic last year, when she joined other city officials for the National Civic League’s All-American Cities competition. On the trip, she met a representative from the People’s Health Clinic.
She was moved to help, in part, by a personal experience. In eighth grade, Patterson suffered from a rare bone infection in her back that left her in the hospital for a month and unable to walk for a year. "It made me really empathetic for people with medical problems," Patterson says, "so I think that was a part of it."
She was particularly impressed by the way the facility was run, and the way it catered to the Spanish-speaking portion of Park City with bilingual services.
According to clinic board member Frances Umlauf, the clinic has expanded its hours from 2005 to include three days a week. Monday evenings from 6 to 9 p.m., the clinic offers a general clinic. Wednesday evenings from 6 to 9 p.m., the clinic offers prenatal care. Thursday evenings from 5 to 7 p.m., the clinic offers diabetic and hypertension care. All clinics are by appointment.
The organization stays relatively quiet when it comes to fundraising, but, like most nonprofits, is continually seeking contributions from the employers of their uninsured patients, Umlauf explained.
Umlauf was approached by Patterson to help organize the event, and has been working to get the word out about the event, but she hesitates to take much credit this is all Patterson’s doing, she says.
"I’m just amazed that this young girl, while she’s in the middle of applying to colleges, has taken this path which is going to involve so much of her time," she said of Patterson. "She’s just an amazing, selfless person."
The Park City Community Talent show will be held Thursday, March 30 at the Eccles Center for the Performing Arts. The show will start at 7:30 p.m. Tickets a minimum donation of $5 for students, $10 for adults — are on sale now at the Eccles Center, located at 1750 Kearns Blvd, and can be reserved by calling (435) 655-3114. To participate in the show (there are only a few slots left) e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.