“Being involved in my community matters to me because it allows me to have a say in what kind of world I want to live in and hope my small actions may inspire others to do the same,” says Sean Michael Cursain, a senior at Brother Martin High School.
Cursain began volunteering at University Medical Center during the COVID-19 pandemic to help alleviate the workloads of the healthcare workers. While volunteering, Cursain assembled 1,000 COVID-19 kits, hundreds of COVID-19 information packets, answered patient calls on the Neuro/Stroke unit and provided assistance at the information desk.
“The most stressful of these tasks were the Neuro/Stroke unit and the information desk, as I never knew what would be asked by the person on the other side of the phone or desk, and if I would be able to handle that request,” says Cursain.
Other times, Cursain escorted patients to the COVID-19 testing areas, where patients would be tested for the virus before having a procedure performed. During this time, Cursain saw the same kits that he assembled being used to help ease the minds of patients and medical professionals.
“This feeling of knowing I was able to play a role in improving the wellbeing of people in my community while also alleviating the workload on the exhausted healthcare workforce kept me going back to University Medical Center, happy to serve.”
Cursain’s cousin, Dr. Jennifer Avegno, inspired him to become an activist. Dr. Avegno has always put others first, he says, whether they were her family, patients or her residents.
When Dr. Avegno became the Health Director for the City of New Orleans, her positive impact on the community helped address systemic problems such as homelessness, mental disorders and COVID-19.
“This example of someone who manages to do something she loves, take care of her family and serve her community simultaneously has left me with a strong role model to follow,” says Cursain.
When Cursain isn’t volunteering, he loves training dogs with his father. At this time, Cursain is unsure where he wants to go to college, but he does want to go into the medical field and carry out his activism.
At Brother Martin, he competes in varsity track and wrestling, serves as President of National Honor Society, Vice-President of Student Ambassadors and as a member of Student Ministry, Mu Alpha Theta and Excalibur National Science Honor Society.